One of the greatest things to come out of the age of exploration and discovery was the marvel of natural history collections. Museums rose worldwide, and people rushed to collect as many specimens as possible to show off who had the most complete and impressive collections that showcased the true range of animal variety.
However, amongst all the great examples of taxidermy creatures is an abundance of terrible taxidermy. Today we will celebrate the tradition of hunting and collecting trophies of your kills and perhaps show what not to do when stuffing your favourite animal! It might tell you to look the other way and find another taxidermist if their example stock looks like any on this list.
The Stoat that Wished to Become a Table.
Sometimes you have just to ask why. But for some, their greatest joy is getting their prized stoat transformed into a mini coffee table with a hairy tail and balls. Then, of course, you must put it to the maker as the table looks well made and fitted to mirror the creature's body. Still, the wood and natural fur make it not something most people would classify as ‘good taxidermy’ if you wanted to present it as the best likeness, even in death. Hence why, he is number one on this list.
Via: Bear on Facebook by Roos van Amesbury
If you thought Yogi Bear might look great in real life, think again, as this example of a taxidermy bear proves that cartoons and real-life animals should never mix. This certainly isn’t the worst example on this list, but the exceptionally round eyes and stiff, unnatural hold of the cane just don’t sit right.
Boy, you are you so big-eyed? This might not be the worst on this list showcasing taxidermy, but you have to agree that these eyes aren't right. It makes the monkey look like a cartoon character despite the rest of it being a very google example of how to make a specimen faithful to the creature in life.
An Eight-Legged Cat
Something was either lost in translation here when the taxidermist was given the job to bring a family cat back to life, or some terrible science experience. Either way, it is a terrible and terrifying example of why some people should never become a taxidermist.
Big Fluffy Shifty Cat
We’ve learned that some of the most challenging elements to get right on a taxidermized animal is the posing of their body to make them as ‘alive looking’ as possible. Whether it be the posing of limbs, eyes, ears, or mouth, in this case above, this animal looks pretty decent... except its stare. It's hard to pin-point, but it is something truly unnerving and I won't want this in my house!
The goat specimen was almost perfect–it's a shame the neck looks so stiff that when its head turns, it looks like we are about to be participants in a horror movie. Sure, I might like horror, but certainly not that much! Of course, it could be that the head wouldn’t have gone that far around if the neck was facing squarely on; once again, it comes down to understanding how to preserve a body and represent it naturally in death by knowing how it held itself in life.
Lion Welcomes you to the End of Your Life.
I find this squashed face of a lion rather charming, even if there is something not quite right about the piece that I can’t put a nail on exactly. Could it be that he just requires a regular brush? Or maybe his forehead needs a little more volume to not make him look like a squashed pumpkin. No, if you look longer, you realise he is smiling, a cheeky grin that makes me want to throw my arms around his furry neck and hug him. This whole image could be an angle thing, but face-on, I question many things about our grim reaper lion.
Final Remarks: Terrible Taxidermy
From this list of terrible taxidermy, you can see that many things can go wrong in transforming an animal specimen into a permanent trophy. It is essential to pick the right taxidermist to choose the right person to make your hunting trophy or create a museum display piece. You don't want something that looks nothing like the animal in life, and you most certainly don’t want to scare or make it a laughingstock. Hence, if you try to look for warning signs like these, you can avoid such heartaches.
Check out the Essential Hunting Tools guide to getting started on acquiring your own taxidermy trophy.