Taxidermist - Stephan Bezuidenhout

Taxidermist - Stephan Bezuidenhout

Taxidermy is an art form where the practitioner preserves dead animals by crafting models from their preserved skin. People who work in that area are known as taxidermists. Many taxidermists work to create models that are similar to the animals in nature, while others create hybrid or fantasy creatures made from different animals’ parts. Stephan Bezuidenhout, a taxidermist at Nyati wildlife art, said that taxidermy is a meticulous craft that requires attention to detail as well as an artistic vision.

Taxidermists must also be familiar with animal anatomy and have skills in carpentry, woodworking, tanning, moulding, drawing, sculpting, and casting. In addition, this field allows individuals to take their artistic skills and vision to preserve animals for art and educational purposes.

“You will need to be familiar with fur and feather texture and colouring and must have strong hand-eye coordination. However, taxidermy is not for the cowardly.

Taxidermists must be okay with getting a little messy, as this career involves dealing with dead animals and preserving the skin,” he said.

Taxidermists are not required to have a formal degree. However, like most artistic career paths, taxidermy requires training and hours of practice to become skilled. Bezuidenhout attended his training in Finland for three years.

Many taxidermists complete an apprenticeship to learn the craft from someone who specializes in the various types of taxidermy. Those who want to become taxidermists may also benefit from earning a college degree in biology, business, or fine arts before working on their craft-specific training with a professional taxidermist.