General Information On Animal Mounts
This is a short introduction to taxidermy for all
curious and interested readers.
Traditional "animal stuffing" has changed during the last decades
to taxidermy. Our colleagues in the early years simply skinned the
animals, sewed up the skin and stuffed it with all sorts of material.
In old mounts we restored, we found old socks, newspapers, wool,
plaster, undershirts and a lot more. Unfortunately, taxidermy
methods in mounts coming from of East European countries or
Asia are often rather old-fashioned and therefore the mounts don't
last as long as expected. Ranging from lavender sachets, moth balls
to chemicals, which cannot be identified, various "wonder remedies"
are used to keep off detrimental insects from the mounts - sadly
without success and maybe even harmful to the
owner (formaldehyde, arsenic, etc.)
Modern animal mounting sets new standards. The aim is a lifelike
presentation of the animals. In the past, there were only low
demands on a mount as it was "just a stuffed animal", therefore
you could not expect very much. Today there are contests, up to
world championships, in which taxidermists compete
for the most lifelike presentation.
Mounting can be roughly described as follows:
The animal, be it mammal, fish or bird, is skinned, the hide or
skin is tanned or prepared for mounting, bathed totally in a poison
solution, which is unharmful to humans and warm-blooded
animals, but prevents the settling of bugs on the mounts.
According to the looks of the real animal, an artificial body is
created, using wood wool and wire - for larger animals foam
bodies (mannikins) - showing the muscle outlines and having the
size of the original animal. The skin is fitted over the body and
closed, glass eyes according to the animal's original shape, size
and coloration are set. The animal's skin is shaped to keep a
lasting vivid appearance, and is then fixed with needles to avoid
distortion during the process of drying. Finally the skin or
plumage is dried and the animals is mounted to
its designed position.
This all may sound a bit revolting to some, but as long as the dead
animal is fresh, our profession is a wonderful one. But many of
our customers think that taxidermists know no revulsion and
therefore don't keep in mind that decay starts immediately after
the death of the animal. The taxidermist's job is to put
an end to this process as quickly as possible.
We do have a revulsion threshold. A hunter bringing a dead fox
he's been driving around in his car boot for some days, at a
summer day temperature of 35 °C, is surprised that mounting
is no longer possible. A swollen greenish carcass, with maggots
coming out, with loss of hair and a strong smell of decay
cannot be mounted. A dog that died four days ago and lay in the
living room in front of the radiator, can only be buried or
handed over to the local services.
Therefore it is a basic requirement:
The dead animal must be frozen immediately or brought to us, in
case of shipment carefully wrapped and sent by express delivery
after announcing shipment to us. Only by meeting these
requirements the best results possible can be obtained.