Noun the art of preparing, filling and assembling animal skins with a realistic effect. Taxidermy is the art of preserving an animal's body by mounting (on armor) or filling, for the purpose of exhibiting or studying it. Animals are often, but not always, depicted in a realistic state. The word taxidermy describes the process of preserving the animal, but the word is also used to describe the final product, which is called taxidermy supports or is simply known as taxidermy.
The word taxidermy is derived from the Greek words taxis and derma. Taxis means disposition, and derma means skin (the dermis). The word taxidermy translates to disposition of the skin. Some natural history museums are filled with well-made taxidermy, real animals that have been assembled after death, treated to preserve them, and posed to look realistic.
The word taxidermy was first used in 1820, from the Greek words taxis, arrangement and derma, skin. In other words, the slightly appalling meaning of taxidermy is a skin disposition. Taxidermy is the art of preparing, filling and assembling animal skins for display or for other study sources. Taxidermy can be performed on all species of vertebrate animals, including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians.
A person who practices taxidermy is called a taxidermist. Taxidermists can practice professionally for museums or as businesses that cater to hunters and fishermen, or as amateurs, as amateurs, hunters and fishermen. To practice taxidermy, one must be very familiar with anatomy, sculpture and painting, as well as tanning. Taxidermy is the art of preserving, organizing and displaying the bodies of animals so that they can be hung on the walls of hunters or installed in natural history museums.
Some taxidermists are trained professionals and others do it as a hobby, preserving the animal's skin, shaping it out of wood or wire and adding specially made glass eyes. The methods practiced by taxidermists have been improved over the past century, increasing taxidermic quality and decreasing toxicity. The best-known practitioner of this genre was the English taxidermist Walter Potter, whose most famous work was The Death and Burial of Cock Robin. Instead, detailed photos and measurements of the animal are taken so that a taxidermist can create an exact replica in resin or fiberglass that can be shown instead of the real animal.
Those creepy stuffed raccoons mounted in your grandparents' house were created by a taxidermist, a person who is an expert in making realistic displays with the bodies of dead animals. This can be achieved without opening the body cavity, so the taxidermist usually does not see the internal organs or blood.