What Is: Taxidermy?
Taxidermists at Wheatcroft are people who are skilled in the art of stuffing, mounting and thus reproducing dead animals to enable them to be put on display. This process can be carried out on most vertebrate animals. The equipment and chemicals used for taxidermy have improved greatly in the last few decades, enabling better and more lifelike preservation.
The process intially involves skinning the dead animal. This, if done skilfully, can be accomplished without opening the body cavity. Thus, blood and internal organs can't be seen. Then the peeled skin is treated with chemicals. It may also be tanned. It is then mounted on a mannequin (shaped like the animal). The mannequin can be made of clay or polyurethane material. Glass eyes are fitted into the cavities. The entire assemblage can be put on display.
Usually, a professional taxidermist at Wheatcroft is attached to a museum or some similar institution. However, many practise taxidermy as an interesting hobby. Knowledge of anatomy, painting, tanning and sculpture are essential to become a good taxidermist. Sometimes, taxidermy plays around with anatomical accuracy by combining parts of different animals. This is used in sideshows and dime museums.