Taxidermists prepare skins of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish to create life-like 3-D representations for display in museums, or as trophies and memorials. The skin (including fur, feathers or scales) is removed from the specimen, preserved using various methods, and mounted on an artificial frame. Taxidermists in museums also prepare specimens for study, research and collection purposes. They may employ the technique of skeletal assembly to demonstrate the structural and anatomical features of a specimen.
Duties & Tasks
Taxidermists may perform the following tasks:take measurements and note features of specimens before mounting
reproduce specimens by moulding and casting with a variety of materials including plaster, polymers, plastic, fibreglass and polyurethane foam
remove and clean skin and treat with preservatives
place skin on a model to reproduce the exact size and shape of the specimen
preserve and prepare skeletons through the use of chemical and non-chemical treatment
pose small animals and preserve them by freeze-drying
prepare native and non-native animals for special exhibits
prepare and preserve biological material for museum displays
collect and preserve foreground material (plant, soil and leaf litter) for creating natural environments for diorama displays
maintain exhibits and specimens.
Taxidermists may be employed by museums as preparators or exhibition project officers, who also create museum exhibits, including models and habitat displays.
enjoy natural history and animal anatomy
artistic interests such as sculpture, painting and drawing
good observation skills
good dexterity with tools and equipment
woodworking or carpentry skills
patient and careful
attention to detail
good hand-eye coordination.