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DeviantArt RSS for fossilfeather's gallery
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  • 12/05/09--21:54: Kit Fox - Anatomy Study
  • This is the body of a Kit Fox after it was skinned. I had put the body outside under a large flowerpot to return the flesh to the earth before going after the bones this coming spring, but I had a commission with a difficult pose and I needed some help.

    My mind instantly jumped to the body of the little fox as potential reference and, since canines are all fairly similar in anatomy with just minor alterations, it seemed like a really great idea. After all, the great artists like Da Vinci learned their extensive anatomy knowledge from studying real cadavers, why couldn't I use that method too?

    He had only been out there for a couple days and it's been pretty cold here so he was still very well preserved though during his time he'd been out there, he did pick up a fair amount of dirt and some leaves. ^^;

    His help proved invaluable and now I wish I had a little canine anatomy figure that is as amazingly detailed, poseable, and perfect as this guy was, only you know... minus the decomposing thing.



    Kit Fox from a trapper (this is not one of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Foxes from California)


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 12/07/09--13:42: Makeshift Fleshing Beam
  • I meant to get better pictures of the actual fleshing process but my brothers were busy last night and I couldn't flesh and take pictures at the same time. x.x

    So I've grabbed a picture of my little indoor setup after I finished but here is a detailed explanation of how I do this step.

    I layed the plastic out to catch the bits of flesh that came loose and fell during the fleshing process but mostly for the dripping water from the wet pelt. I had squeezed out most of the water before placing him on the "beam" but there will always be more water that drips out.

    The beam itself is actually just an oversized shipping tube that has had a plastic trash bag placed over the end of it and wrapped with mailing tape to hold it securely in place.

    Normally I use the beam by placing it over one of the shafts of the metal hammock frame that's out on our front porch but it is freezing cold outside right now and I didn't want to work out there. Besides, a kit fox pelt is not very big at all and would be easy to do inside the house.

    To flesh the pelt, I positioned it so that the end of it was held over the end of the tube nearest me and, with a piece of the plastic inbetween me and the pelt/tube, I pressed into it with my knee to keep it in place while I went at it with my knife. Once you've worked the excess flesh off in one area, reposition the pelt so that the part you're scraping at is kept taut right at the end of the tube.

    I was at a crouch with the tube in between me and the corner of the wall for this entire process and today I have some tight, sore muscles in my back because of it. No one ever said taxidermy was painless or easy. :XD:

    Once I had the pelt positioned correctly and everything held in place, I took my knife and, holding one side of it with each hand (the tip of the cutting edge was wrapped and taped to serve as padding), I slowly and carefully started scraping away at the excess flesh and membrane. Always work from the tail end towards the head. For the legs, work from the paws up towards the body. I've seen most tutorials teach the opposite but I've heard from two sources to do it the opposite way because it allows you to work with the hair follicles instead of scraping against them. There is much less chance of tearing the skin this way and the work is much easier and goes quicker. After trying both ways, I will never flesh the other way now.

    Fleshing is best done on pelts that have had a few days to soak in a pickle because the soaking allows the excess flesh to plump up and scrape away easier.

    Once the fleshing is done, the pelt should be returned to the pickle for another 24 hours so that it can soak into all the newly exposed areas of skin.

    The disposable gloves were worn for the whole process and the scissors were used to carefully snip away the excess flesh around the eyes and muzzle area.

    More of this process is depicted here: [link]


    Any questions, just ask. :)

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  • 12/07/09--13:49: Mallard Duckling - Jefferey
  • This is my new Mallard duckling, Jefferey. :heart:

    He died of natural causes back in 2006 and has been freeze dried for preservation.

    Duckling from *Zhon


    Disclaimer: If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 12/07/09--13:52: Mallard Duckling - Close Up
  • A close up of my new baby Mallard, Jefferey. He's so soft and cute, I expect him to start peeping at any moment. :love:

    I will be buying a glass dome and base for him to protect him from dust and bugs.


    He died of natural causes back in 2006 and has been freeze dried for preservation.

    Duckling from *Zhon


    Disclaimer: If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 03/30/10--12:11: Arctic Fox Pelt - Nikko
  • My arctic fox pelt, Nikko. On both his forepaws, the middle claw is white rather than the usual dark brown. :aww:

    Purchased from a taxidermist


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 03/30/10--12:25: Fleshing And Tanning
  • More shots of in-progress tanning. The first picture is a better depiction of how to hold the knife during the fleshing process. Lengthy description of that can be read here: [link]

    The lower picture is the same hide (black coyote) after it's been completely fleshed, degreased, and soaked in the pickle bath (noticeable at the left hand side of the picture) for an additional 24 hours.

    I use McKenzie tan and oil for the final steps. The tan is applied to a towel squeeze-dried hide and after that has all soaked in (about 12-24 hours), I apply the oil that I mix in with some hot water. I apply both the tan and the oil with the paintbrush seen in the photo.

    As the oil soaks in and the hide begins drying out, I begin working the hide to soften it and continue to do this on and off until the hide is completely dry and I am pleased with the softness and flexibility of the leather.

    Any questions, just ask. :)

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    My fox squirrel, Corey, with his repaired tail all stretched out and showing off his glorious, squirrelly colors on one of my sheep pelts.

    A big thank you goes out to !lirimakat whose patience with my bizarre interests and continued antics made Corey's "second life" possible. :)


    For paw size comparison, see here: [link]


    Fox squirrel found as roadkill and preserved by me
    Sheep pelt from a colonial convention


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/10/10--10:54: Coyote Girls
  • My two newest coyote pelts. Sparrow, the standard colored coyote was found as roadkill last fall and tanned by myself. My black coyote was obtained through a seller on taxidermy.net and was shipped to me frozen with her paws and head left in so I could skin them out myself since I'm picky.

    Once that was done, I was able to take her through the tanning process and now I have two beautiful, home tanned coyote girls. :heart:


    Black coyote from taxidermy.net
    Standard coyote found as roadkill and skinned and tanned by me


    Disclaimer: I did not kill these animals! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/10/10--10:58: Black Coyote Pelt
  • My beautiful new black coyote girl. She's from West Virginia and is a rare melanistic color mutation of a normal coyote.


    Coyote pelt from taxidermy.net
    Alpaca pelt from a seller on eBay who bought it in Lima, Peru


    Disclaimer: I did not kill these animals! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/10/10--11:01: Paws And Pads - Black Coyote
  • The paws of my black coyote. All four of her paws are sprinkled with white on the tips. :aww:


    Coyote pelt from taxidermy.net
    Alpaca pelt from a seller on eBay who bought it in Lima, Peru


    Disclaimer: I did not kill these animals! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/10/10--11:07: Sheep Pelts
  • My two sheep pelts. The larger one lives at the end of my bed and has been claimed more or less by my dog.

    Both sheep from a colonial convention


    Disclaimer: I did not kill these animals. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/10/10--11:09: Fur - Sheep
  • A close up on the fur of my two sheep pelts side by side.

    Both sheep from a colonial convention


    Disclaimer: I did not kill these animals. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/10/10--11:11: Fur - Kit Fox
  • A close up of the fur on my Kit fox pelt. This little guy might very well be the softest of my pelts.


    Kit Fox from taxidermy.net (this is not one of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Foxes from California)


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/10/10--11:13: Paws And Tail - Kit Fox
  • The tail and paws of my Kit fox, Ari. The underside of his tail has a stripe of soft tan running the length of it. :heart:


    Kit Fox from taxidermy.net (this is not one of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Foxes from California)


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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    Ari again, my handsome little Kit fox. In some places, his fur is softer than a rabbit's. :love:


    Kit Fox from taxidermy.net (this is not one of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Foxes from California)


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/10/10--11:22: Arctic Fox Pelt
  • An outdoor shot of my arctic fox pelt, Nikko, curled into a realistic pose. I luff him. It's positively heavenly falling asleep with your nose nestled into the cloud of fluff that is his fur. He smells good too. :aww:

    Purchased from a taxidermist


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/11/10--09:11: Skull Preservation Tutorial
  • I was asked to upload this as an actual deviation so that it was more easily accessible. Like I state at the beginning of this how-to, there are many ways to reach your objective in taxidermy, this is just my way of doing things and I thought I'd share them with you since I've had many requests for this type of knowledge. :)

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    I've been asked multiple times how I go about cleaning and preserving the skulls that I find so I've decided to put together a sort of FAQ/how-to regarding this subject.  Please keep in mind that there is more than one "right" way to achieve things in the realm of taxidermy.  This is just the way I do my skulls/bones.  :)

    You will need:

    Plastic bag for picking up your treasure
    A good sized flower pot
    An ant hill (if possible)
    Disposable plastic gloves
    Nice sized metal pot kept solely for boiling skulls/bones
    Plastic container for soaking the skull/bones in
    Hydrogen peroxide 3%-7%
    Small pokey thing for helping remove brain bits and other yuc

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  • 04/18/10--07:36: Juvenile Raccoon - Squeakers
  • This is Squeakers, the young raccoon that I found as roadkill last summer. He was the second animal that I skinned (first was a baby mouse :D).

    He was the first and the last raccoon I'm going to pick up. I've since learned that most raccoons carry a certain type of roundworm in their intestines and feces that can infect humans and there is no cure. The chances of getting it aren't that great (you have to actually ingest it), but I'd rather not mess with the risks and just play it safe. My next raccoon pelt will be purchased from a taxidermist. :)


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! It was found already dead. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/18/10--07:41: Little Coon Tail
  • Squeakers's little tail. He's only a juvenile raccoon so it never reached a large, fluffy size. He's also a summer pelt so, while his fur is still fairly soft, it's not thick at all.

    He was the first and the last raccoon I'm going to pick up. I've since learned that most raccoons carry a certain type of roundworm in their intestines and feces that can infect humans and there is no cure. The chances of getting it aren't that great (you have to actually ingest it), but I'd rather not mess with the risks and just play it safe. My next raccoon pelt will be purchased from a taxidermist. :)


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! It was found already dead. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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    Squeakers, my juvenile raccoon pelt and my new groundhog (or woodchuck) pelt side by side for comparison. Squeakers is a summer pelt from last July and Murphy, the groundhog, is freshly tanned and was found a few weeks ago. Both are roadkill victims that were picked up, skinned, and tanned by myself.


    Disclaimer: I did not kill either of these animals! They were found already dead. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/18/10--08:07: Groundhog Pelt - Murphy
  • My new groundhog (or woodchuck) pelt, Murphy. He was picked up a few weeks ago and skinned and tanned by me. This species of pelts seems to be pretty rare and I'm guessing it might be that the fur, though handsome, isn't particularly luxurious. Another guess at why this might be is that, while I was softening the leather at the end of the tanning process, the ridiculously thick skin around his head and face make it super hard to get it properly softened like the rest of his pelt. Though I really don't think this should really stand in the way of anybody with a commercial tanning drum. :hmm: Just us novices who have to do it all by hand. :XD:

    Anyway, this guy probably has the coarsest fur out of all the pelts that I have but he's still a unique little pelt and I'm happy to have him.


    Groundhog found as roadkill and skinned and tanned by me
    Alpaca found on eBay from a seller who bought it in Lima, Peru


    Disclaimer: I did not kill either of these animals! It was found already dead. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 09/02/10--15:53: Glow Worm
  • A large, fat and adorable caterpillar I found while outside this afternoon. It was about 3 inches (or four inches stretched out) and was a beautiful color of spring green. :love:

    After some research, I'm pretty sure this is a caterpillar of the Polyphemous moth (Antheraea polyphemus).

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  • 09/02/10--15:59: Caterpillar Nun
  • A large, fat and adorable caterpillar I found while outside this afternoon. It was about 3 inches (or four inches stretched out) and was a beautiful color of spring green. :love:

    It had quite the aversion to my camera flash when it would go off and would tuck its little round head into its neck. I was able to get it to climb onto a twig so I could better photograph it and once it reached the end, it assumed this pose where it looked to me as if it was either praying or crossing its "arms" in refusal to put up with my antics any further. Caterpillar temper tantrum! :D

    After some research, I'm pretty sure this is a caterpillar of the Polyphemous moth (Antheraea polyphemus).

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  • 10/30/10--13:46: Muskrat Pelt
  • Muskrat pelt with tail. Their fur is much like a beaver pelt, with smooth, glossy guard hairs and thick, downy underfur.


    Pelt purchased at the Feast of the Hunter's Moon in Lafayette, IN


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--13:55: Muskrat Skull
  • Muskrat skull on a muskrat pelt (not from the same individual).


    Pelt and skull purchased at the Feast of the Hunter's Moon in Lafayette, IN


    Disclaimer: I did not kill either of these animals! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--14:01: Virginia Opossum Pelt
  • Female possum pelt with tail and all four paws. The Virginia Opossum is North America's only marsupial.


    Oppossum found as roadkill and skinned and tanned by me



    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--14:06: Virginia Opossum Skull
  • Possum skull with its 50 splendid teeth which makes it the animal with the most teeth out of all North American mammals. The Virginia Opossum is North America's only marsupial.


    Skull from *Zhon



    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--14:27: Jackrabbit Skull
  • Skull of a jackrabbit. You can see the four incisors in the upper jaw in this photo. The smaller pair is positioned directly behind the larger pair. For a more detailed picture of these teeth, please see here: [link]


    Skull from *Zhon



    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--14:28: Jackrabbit Incisors - Detail
  • A close-up view of the second pair of incisors in the upper mandible of a jackrabbit's mouth. This second pair of incisors that all rabbits, hares, and pikas have in their top mandible are one of the things that set Lagomorphs apart from Rodents. To see the whole jackrabbit skull, please see here: [link]


    Skull from *Zhon



    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--14:37: Cross Fox Pelt Face
  • My new female cross fox pelt. She has all four paws and claws and silky, beautiful fur. I will get more pictures of her at some point but the light just wasn't cooperating with me today.

    Purchased at the Yankee Peddler's Festival in Medina, OH


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--14:44: Kit Fox Skull
  • Skull of a Kit Fox on the pelt of the same individual. To see the full pelt of this fox, please see here: [link]


    Kit Fox from taxidermy.net (this is not one of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Foxes from California)


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--14:52: Snaggletooth - Bear Skull
  • A close-up of the well worn incisors of an aged Black Bear skull that I purchased recently. The interesting thing with this guy is that he is missing one of the small incisors in his lower jaw. While there are supposed to be six spanning the distance between the two fangs, there are only five. In the area where the one tooth is missing, there is instead one stunted, deformed tooth and one that is extra long that juts out and gives him his snaggletoothed appearance.


    Skull purchased at the Feast of the Hunter's Moon in Lafayette, IN



    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/30/10--14:59: Elderly Black Bear - Skull
  • An aged American Black Bear skull that I purchased recently. His skull has become thick and textured with age. I need to get some pictures of him side-by-side with my juvenile American Black Bear skull for comparison. For a photo of my younger bear skull on his own, please see here: [link]

    Skull purchased at the Feast of the Hunter's Moon in Lafayette, IN



    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/31/10--21:22: Autumn Fox Line Up
  • A picture of the four fox pelts I own. Top to bottom:

    Ari the Kit Fox
    Tarot the Cross Fox
    Miette the Red Fox
    Nikko the Arctic Fox


    Kit Fox from a seller in Arizona on taxidermy.net (this is not one of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Foxes from California)

    Cross Fox purchased at the Yankee Peddler's Festival in Medina, OH

    Red Fox and Arctic Fox pelts acquired from a taxidermist in Ridgeville, IN



    Disclaimer: I did not kill any of these animals and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/31/10--21:31: White-Tailed Deer Leg
  • Right hind leg of a white-tailed deer displayed on a kit fox pelt. Yes, it's weird, I know. At the same time, it is an excellent reference for drawing hoofed animals and... it only cost me $1.50. Doesn't get much better than that.

    I'm not really sure how this was preserved (it has the original bone in it still and everything) but it's pretty danged cool and the hoof looks to have been glossed with something to give it that nice shiny look. Also, that white area near the top of the leg that can be seen in the first picture is a metatarsal gland. I've read about them, seen them in pictures, but it's something else entirely when I'm able to see it up close and personal like this.

    Purchased at the Feast of the Hunter's Moon in Lafayette, IN


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/31/10--21:49: Glamour Shot - Kit Fox Pelt
  • A picture of my Kit Fox pelt, Ari, out in the autumn sunlight today. I love this little guy.


    Kit Fox from taxidermy.net (this is not one of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Foxes from California)


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 11/04/10--17:50: FossilFeather's FAQ

  • I've been getting certain questions over and over and decided to finally compile a FAQ section to refer people to.  I've covered many of the basic questions I get as well as the ones concerning how to preserve animals but if I've forgotten something or if you have a specific question that hasn't been answered here, feel free to leave me a comment.

    :star: GENERAL QUESTIONS :star:

    Q. Where do you get all the things in your collection?

    A. I get them from a number of places including taxidermists, second-hand stores, colonial history events, but many of them are animals that were found as roadkill which I take home and preserve myself.

    Q. Why

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  • 11/07/10--14:25: Short-Tailed Shrew Pelt
  • The cute little pelt of my Northern short-tailed shrew which I believe to be female. I never realized how soft and luxurious shrew fur was before I had her. She's gorgeous and has the sweetest bitty little eyes.

    Her skull on the other hand isn't nearly as soft and adorable and was actually the star of my Halloween post this year: [link]:XD:


    Shrew killed by my dog and cleaned and preserved by me


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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    My new African Black-backed jackal pelt which is also known as the Silver-backed jackal. He is a full pelt with his paws and claws.

    Pelt from a taxidermist on eBay


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 11/14/10--19:05: Short-Tailed Shrew Skull
  • The skull of my Short-tailed shrew, all cleaned up and nice looking. The reddish, chestnut coloring on the teeth is natural. This is the picture before it was cleaned: [link] It is a little under 1 inch long making it one of the smallest skulls in my collection and my only Insectivore skull. :)


    Shrew killed by my dog and cleaned and preserved by me


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 11/14/10--19:23: Taxidea Taxus - Badger Pelt
  • My new American badger pelt. I am in love with him. :love: He's one of those pelts that are just so easy to fall in love with. He's 34 inches of thick, soft fur with heavily clawed paws and that ridiculously adorable stripey face. On his underside, he has two dark brown dots on his chin (kind of like the chin dots on Free Willy) and he has a pale colored streak running along his belly too.

    I'll get some better pictures of him at some point since this one's not that great and it doesn't show any of his paws or sweet little, brushy tail.


    Purchased on eBay from a seller in South Dakota


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 12/24/10--07:47: SUE - Merry Christmas 2010
  • I'd really like to say that this gorgeous creature is a part of my natural history collection, but... that would be a lie. ;)

    I recently had a unique opportunity to photograph Sue, the Field Museum's Tyrannosaurus Rex after normal museum hours and with beautiful dramatic lighting. I have seen her many times before and have long wanted to get awesome pictures of her. Alas, normally when I am there, the place is teeming with children and other visitors and they always end up getting in the way when I try to take pictures. This time though, I had no other people to contend with and as an added bonus, the lights! :D

    I had to compile a little collage because I couldn't pick just one photo. So, I hope you enjoy this and I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas this year. :holly:


    SUE is the largest, most complete, and best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex ever discovered and was unveiled in May 2000. Her skeleton (the real one not the cast) is currently residing at The Chicago Field Museum.

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  • 01/26/11--18:06: Sharp-Tailed Grouse Pelt
  • Pelt of a female Sharp-Tailed Grouse, also known as the "fire bird" or "fire grouse" by the Native American Indians because of this species' reliance on brush fires to keep their prairie habitat open.


    Purchased on eBay from a seller in South Dakota


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 12/01/09--19:57: Stowaway - Deer And Chipmunk
  • My Eastern chipmunk skull perched on the entrance to my white-tailed doe skull's nasal cavity.

    Both skulls found and cleaned by me


    Disclaimer: I did not kill either of these animals! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 04/18/10--07:57: Fur - Groundhog
  • A close up shot of the grizzled fur around Murphy's shoulder area where it is at its longest. Compared to my other pelts, his fur is rather course and, while he does have an undercoat, it is neither as thick nor as downy as it is in my other pelts.

    Regardless, the fur does have a good gloss to it as well as some nice, rich colors which makes Murphy a very handsome boy. :)


    Groundhog found as roadkill and skinned and tanned by me



    Disclaimer: I did not kill either of this animal! It was found already dead. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/31/10--21:12: Marmalade Tabby Cat Pelt
  • Okay, now before you say anything, this was a feral cat that was found dead in the middle of the road. I could have just left him there and he would have been a cat pancake by the next morning, carelessly ground into the asphalt and forgotten. Instead, I took him home and turned him into something that could be respected and treasured for years to come.

    Also, I believe that he was a feral stray animal and not someone's pet because he was not neutered, his ears were packed with filthy earwax and dirt, his pawpads were well worn, his claws were cracked and abused, and he was utterly flea-ridden.

    Another thing worth mentioning is that any feral cats or house cats that are allowed to roam outdoors are a menace and a threat to native songbirds and other small, native animals. I know there are other factors that play into songbird populations but free-roaming cats are a large problem when it comes to preserving the numbers of our diminishing songbird numbers.

    Okay, all that aside, I admit I've been waiting to come across a stray roadkilled cat for quite some time now and was very pleased to find this fellow in the middle of the road while out for a joyride with my sister. She, being the willing and allowing sister that she is, let me pick up this cat as well as a young gosling that I found later on on our walk and stash them in our trunk until we got home.

    It was a little odd skinning such a large domesticated animal but I soon realized that under the fur and skin, all animals are pretty much the same and it became no different than if I had been skinning a squirrel or fox.

    He doesn't have the thickest fur but he is a unique and appreciated member of my pelts. He does have very beautiful patterning and the most adorable little paws though. I've been trying to come up with an appropriate street cat name for him that will honor the tough life he led during his living days but haven't been able to come up with anything yet. And the fact that one of my brothers frequently refers to him as "Pumpkin" doesn't exactly help matters either. :XD:



    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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  • 10/31/10--21:38: Cross Fox Pelt - Tarot
  • A somewhat better picture of my Cross Fox pelt, Tarot. It's still not as nice as I'd like but it seems to be immensely hard to capture her in a photo with as much beauty that she possesses and exudes in person. Eh, I'll just have to try again during a future photo session, I guess.

    She is currently my largest fox pelt. To see her in a size comparison photo with my other foxes, please see here: [link]


    Purchased at the Yankee Peddler's Festival in Medina, OH


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal and disagree with the killing of animals for sport or fashion. If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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    A better picture of my jackal's face. I love the bold black 'V' on his back and how fine and soft his fur is. It's kind of like a cross between fox and coyote fur. Another thing I find interesting is just how much his face resembles that of a common American coyote.

    Pelt from a taxidermist on eBay


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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    This has been posted as a Deviation.  If you'd like to favorite it, please click here: http://fossilfeather.deviantart.com/art/Skull-Preservation-Tutorial-160367844

    I've been asked multiple times how I go about cleaning and preserving the skulls that I find so I've decided to put together a sort of FAQ/how-to regarding this subject.  Please keep in mind that there is more than one "right" way to achieve things in the realm of taxidermy.  This is just the way I do my skulls/bones.  :)

    You will need:

    Plastic bag for picking up your treasure
    A good sized flower pot
    An ant hill (if possible)
    Disposable plastic gloves
    Nice sized metal pot k

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    Happy Halloween from your friendly neighborhood zombie shrew! =P

    This was one of my dog's victims a couple weeks ago. My dog was out playing in the yard and got the better of the shrew before we could do anything about it.

    I skinned it to preserve the fur then tucked the body away under a flowerpot so I could retrieve the bones later. Upon returning for it, I was only able to find it after much searching. I hadn't realized how much smaller it would be without the flesh on it and it wasn't even that big to begin with. Though it appears much larger on the screen, the skull is a little short of an inch long.

    When I picked it up, I was surprised and delighted to see that he was still partially being held together and in such a delightful horror film pose. Pictures commenced and he's now here to wish you a Happy Halloween!! :pumpkin:


    Disclaimer: I did not kill this animal! If you do not like what you see, don't look at it! Also, don't bother wasting your time leaving rude or pointless comments here, they will be ignored.

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