It is the job of taxidermists to preserve deceased animals so they can be put on display in museums or in private collections. By using specific techniques taxidermists are able to maintain the skin of animals. They stuff and mount the skins so they appear to look very similar to what the animals looked like when they were alive. In order to preserve and prepare animal skins for taxidermy the bodies of the animals must first be measured and modeled. They must dry and tan the skin before they can use it to create life-like animal models. Taxidermists usually take photographs of the animals so they can use them as references for creating the stuffed versions. After skinning the animals taxidermists create models of the animals using various types of materials which they use as the artificial insides for the stuffed animal. After the models are ready taxidermists reapply the animals’ skin to make the animal look life-like. According to the website taxidermists sometimes freeze-dry animals after they position them into life-like poses. This method however can only be used on certain types of animals. Taxidermists usually work in workshops where they have access to all the necessary tools and they usually either work for museums or they are self-employed. Besides spending time in their workshop taxidermists often spend time outdoors looking for animals that can be used for taxidermy purposes. Many taxidermists have an educational background in either animal biology or natural history but there is no formal educational requirement for this profession. Most however learn their skills from attending classes or seminars. The website reports that the salary range for taxidermists is $15000 to $40000.

Education Required: High School Diploma & Specialized Training
Avg Salary: $27500
High Salary: $40000
Low Salary: $15000
Tasks: Preserves and prepares deceased animals for display.
Mounts the skin of animals on display boards.
Dries and tans animal skins.
Makes lifelike pieces of art.
Also Called: Museum Taxidermist
Animal Artist
Animal Skin Preservationist
Additional Resources: