I have done some strange things in my day, but nothing has quite contorted the faces of my friends as telling them that I was going to spend my Saturday night learning how to Taxidermy a mouse. I got a lot of “Ewwww’s” and “Don’t invite me to that” or “You have such an….interesting life.” In my defense, I am not the only weirdo out there intrigued by skinning and stuffing a dead animal. Taxidermy is hitting scenes (and more than just hipstery scenes, I think) and growing in popularity. I figured I would try it out and see if I could do it. Because I wasn’t sure I could.
For starters, the mice were dead when I procured them. They are feeder mice for snakes and I bought them in the freezer section of Petco. Not that I’m against the killing of mice (or rats), but that’s only when they are invading my apartment. I also read a lot of internet instructions and watched some helpful (and some unhelpful) youtube videos. According to the interweb, taxidermying a mouse is as simple as skinning it and then stuffing it. So I gave it a whirl. And you know what? I didn’t even get barfy!
Step 1: procure mice.
Step 2: Assemble supplies, most of which I already had in my nail care or sewing box, which was convenient. Supplies include small scissors, tweezers, cotton balls, wire, pins, and borax (which Target sells). I also covered my table with paper and used paper plates as a “work station”.
Step 3: Clean mice with borax. Because no one wants a bloody stuffed mouse, unless you are recreating the cast of Fight Club in mouse form, in which case, do not clean mice.
Step 4: Make mouse out of cotton balls, wire and pins (for the eyes).
Step 5: Cut open mouse. I used the scissors to cut along the back from neck to butt. The thing I found out about Taxidermy is that I thought it would be all blood and guts and my barf all over my kitchen table, but it’s just skinning and keeping all of the blood and guts intact. Sort of like cartoons where the animal unzips its skin, except you are unzipping it for them with the scissors you use to trim your cuticles. Then take awkward selfie with the skinned mouse because you aren’t sure you friends think you’re weird enough already. Also, proof!
Step 6: (optional) Decide that a mouse skin would make a great finger puppet…FOR NIGHTMARES!
Step 7: Stuff mouse with cotton ball mouse and sew up. Celebrate with less terrifying selfies with your mouse.
I might have left out a few details and descriptors, but you can find all of that with an easy google search should you decide to gather some of your best and weirdest friends and stuff some mice. I’m not sure I’ll make a habit of taxidermy, but I loved trying it out and discovering another skill I am capable of.
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