So you have decided to take the plunge and become a taxidermist. Wonderful, I hope you get as much satisfaction and enjoyment as I do.
Taxidermy has a way allowing humans to observe death in safe environment. Our modern society shuns the dying and hides death from us. For some people taxidermy would be the first time they had to quietly ponder on a dead creature.
There may come a time when you wan to go beyond being a fan of taxidermy, to training as a taxidermist. A few truths need to be exposed for the romantics out there. Taxidermists are pretty much detailed butchers. We make big incisions into dead bodies, then pull out the flesh from the skin. If you don’t think you can do this to a rat, taxidermy is not for you.
A good test, before you buy all of your equipment, is to go to a large pet shop. A good pet store will stock frozen food for reptiles. Take home a pack of one x large rat. Only get one, as you don’t want to store frozen rats in your home freezer. Put your gloves on and have your room ready ☆
Place the frozen rat in the room to defrost.
Be honest with yourself.
Are you grossed out by touching the dead rat?
Do you avoid looking in the room do you don’t have to see the rat?
As the rat slowly defrosts, does the softness of the tail gross you out?
If you answered yes to any of the above, taxidermy might not be for you.
If you wondering if you can handle the dead rat, here is another good test. When the rat is about 3/4 defrosted the belly will soften and become rounded. Softly touch the belly and feel how soft the insides are. If you find this disgusting, taxidermy is not for you. If you find yourself curious, you might be able to do it. Of course the true telling will be when you start your incisions and skinning. I don’t think I can help anyone over that hurdle.
It is a good idea to do the rat test to see if your suited. Do this before you buy any equipment. If you find that the rat test made you intrigued and curious, then a good place to go is my page which discusses a first basic taxidermy.