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.
You can work as a taxidermist without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job in taxidermy studios. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications in animal science, art or design. It generally takes about five years to become competent.
Taxidermists may perform the following tasks:
Taxidermists may be employed by museums as preparators or exhibition project officers, who also create museum exhibits, including models and habitat displays.
Taxidermists are employed in government departments, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), museums, universities and smaller private commercial studios. Employment opportunities are very limited within Australia, as most museums only have one position for taxidermists. Greater opportunities may exist overseas in countries that have game animals.