Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

Exquisite Taxidermy Art and Design

© 2013 Diamond Tooth Taxidermy
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About Beth Beverly


I am a State and Federally licensed taxidermist who graduated from the Pocono Institute of Taxidermy in 2010 with high marks. I have a deep respect for this craft and those who strive to preserve it.

It is my pleasure to work on any trophy mount, be it a shoulder, life-size, rug, or fish.

I accept custom orders for fantasy mounts, wearables, and bridal hair pieces.

Sculptural mounts and hats are available for rental provided they are in stock at time of inquiry.

Contact me describing your wish and I will be delighted to make it so.


Diamond Tooth Taxidermy Blog:



Bunny Cheese

I recently received a fresh baby bunny from a friend.  Apparently her pet rabbit's litter was naturally thinning itself out,  or her cat snuck into the nursery.  Either one.  Regardless, look how cute!







Needless  to say, my friend was crest fallen.  She just wanted me to take the specimen off her hands.  I couldn't stop marveling at how adorable this little guy was.  I've only seen creatures this sweet in Disney movies.







I hope I can do him justice in the final mounting stage.  Such petite faces are still a challenge for me, especially when I'm trying to capture just how precious it is.  I'm still not entirely sure what type of mount this will become but it has to be very very special.



Skinning him was delicate, as expected, and I accidentally punctured the dermis several time due to man handling. It's nothing I can't sew up but what really threw a wrench in the gears was this little guy's stomach and its contents.  I always try not to cut through the skin and into the guts because it's never a non-mesy affair, but sometimes the skin is so thin I can't help it.  Plus, the bunny's belly was bloated and kind of in the way.  As I worked the skin off the side, the pressure forced some of the contents of the stomach out and I almost dry heaved.



It looked like ricotta cheese:



* not actual contents because I was too grossed out to think of getting a shot.  But it looked JUST LIKE THIS.



The stomach puncture was like an exploding zit and there seemed to be no way of avoiding all the white puss splooging out onto my work table.  The amount of it was shocking to me and I squealed as I wiped it up with towel after towel.  Shortly though, I noticed that there was no odor.  If this were some sort of massive infection; the equivalent of a zit or cyst (full of dead white blood cells), then it would've stunk like halitosis.  Or like death, at the very least.  However, there was no such scent.  I calmed down a bit and allowed my nose to take in some of it.



Ricotta.  It actually smelled like ricotta cheese. How bizarre  But then I thought about it- it was a baby, the stomach likely full of mother's milk (quite full, I might add, that this little piggy was a piggy) and had maybe somehow curdled during digestion.  Out of curiousity I looked up ricotta cheese and how to make it online.  Sure enough, many cheeses are made with a complex of enzymes known as Rennet which is found in the stomachs of calves.  According to Wikipedia:



Rennet (pronounced /ˈrɛnɪt/) is usually a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The active enzyme in rennet is called chymosin or rennin (EC 3.4.23.4) but there are also other important enzymes in it, e.g., pepsin or lipase. There are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for vegetarian consumption.



Fear not, vegetarians!  Mass produced cheese is made from alternate methods these days  and the only folks still using sheep and cow stomach are for the most part artisan cheese makers in Europe.  Also, I don't think cheese was ever made inside of the animal's stomach as the method described in the Wiki article states that stomaches were cut up and soaked in a brine of sorts, with the raw milk.



Hmmm.  If I'd had my wits about me I would've saved it and tasted the first ever sample of in-stomach-curdled-rabbit-ricotta!



Or at least fed some to my cats.

"You're gettin' all NCIS forensics on me now."

I finished mounting my squirrel today, here is the skin stretched over the form, sewn shut, but not tucked and pinned in the face:







BOO!







I think the blow-drying is one of my favorite parts.  I imagine clipping barrettes and bows on furry heads and tails.  Unfortunately my skin had some oily spots...possibly the grease had transferred from the inside to the outside via the many beebee holes in the pelt.  This will be remedied later after the mount has dried.







Finished mount, hanging in dead pose.  I took particular care when pinning the eyes to give it that "deathly downward gaze" appearance.







A guest taxidermist was in the shop today, skinning a porcupine.  Amazingly, he didn't prick himself once.  I had the bright idea of using a porcupine pelt as a bike helmet cover, and as usual was greeted with blank stares when I voiced this thought.







When Porcupine Guy learned about my penchant for wasting no part of the animal, he gave me a tooth from his specimen.  I was amazed to see how much marrow is stored inside those fangs.







I began skinning my fox, which had been shot by my classmate's husband and generously gifted to me. I spent about twenty minutes combing briars out of the fur with a metal comb before I could begin.







Briar pile:







For lunch, Mr. B treated us to lunch at the local diner.  He said we absolutely had to try the burger; it was an experience. When our meals arrived, I damn near crapped my pants.  The pattie was the diameter of the plate, with a regular sized bun sitting atop it, looking like some kind of joke.  Unfortunately I didn't have my camera at the diner, but I took a picture of my leftovers.   This is the half of the burger I didn't eat.







After lunch we got a brief tour of the area, and Mr. B showed us around his property.  There was a duck pond, a skating pond, barns, tractors, a horse corral, a chicken coup, and acres of woods and fields.  I was a little overwhelmed.  Country life is so different.  It seems just as busy and crowded as city life but in a more autonomous way.



Back at the shop, I finished skinning my fox. The stench of a fox is mind-blowing.  Their diet consists mostly of skunk,  and the odor they emit can best be described as a combination of halitosis and burnt rubber.  I think I lost a little of my tough chick street cred with everyone when I started gagging.



I've always marveled over the colors found inside a skin and assumed it was bruising.  Apparently this greenish hue is actually oxidization on the pelt, which is one of the reasons taxidermists must work quickly.  Taking too much time to skin a specimen allows bacteria to set in, and then once you get the rot, you've got a spook.







We tossed the carcasses outside because they were so stinky.  Because the cold, they will remain undetected by other creatures until they can be properly disposed of.  I took it upon myself to saw the heads off, which had Mr. B in fits.







I guess I gained my street cred back.  It may seem disturbing, but I have a plan for these heads:











On the way back to the cabin, I dropped off "Little Ashes" at the rental joint and picked up Michael Jackson's "This is it".  It was too cold to play on my hoop so I watched a bit of the movie and went to bed at 7:30pm.
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