Here at Dead Pretty Taxidermy we know how important your taxidermy is and we understand how important it is to you to keep it looking its best, so we have provided a few basic tips for keeping it in top condition. If you have any questions not asnwered here please feel free to contact us and we will do our best to help you!
Finding the right place to put your taxidermy is vital, and theres a few different aspects to take into consideration. First of all, is your piece going to be safe? Out the way of small hands, flying balls, curious pets? Youd be amazed how many people contact us because their cat or dog has had a chew on their beloved mount (you cant blame them, it must be a cats dream to be presented with a huge crow that doesnt even try to escape!), or little tommy has pulled the head off their prize duckling taxidermy!
Secondly, consider keeping your piece out of direct sunlight, it will eventually bleach the colour from fur and feathers. If you really want to have it somewhere brightly lit do look into having a custom case made. There is many websites that will build a case to your specifications and can put a UV filter into the plastic to protect your mounts from the damaging sun. If youre having trouble finding one get in touch with us via our contact page and we will do our best to help!
Another factor to take into consideration is dampness, avoid keeping your taxidermy next to a damp window. The damp will cause damage to your mount and it can cause damage that is unrepairable.
The final thing to worry about is insect infestation. Insects can, and have, completly destroyed a piece in a matter of months, and are much like a cancer for taxidermy - they can spread from piece to piece and when they get really settled in can be nearly impossible to get rid of. Some insect damage can be repaired, and the insects can be gotten rid of by various methods, such as freezing your mounts, or having your home fumigated, but early detection is key. Check your mounts regularly for signs of damage such as small holes and insect droppings. Dont be afraid to gently move feather and fur to have a look at the skin below, be do make sure your hands are veyr clean and very dry - oils and grease from human hands are not good for taxidermy, this is also a good reason not to stroke or pet your pieces, touch them as little as possible.
Keeping your mounts clean and free of debris is vital to keep them looking beautiful for years to come - dust will dull and fade feathers. to keep them free of dust we like to use a feather duster! Feathers are light and gentle and attract dust. Always dust lightly in the direction of the fur or feathers. If you find thats not getting the dust off you can try a soft dry yellow duster. You may find this moves and shifts fur and feathers slightly out of place. The most effective way to get them laying flat again is a hair dryer on its coldest and gentlest setting at some distance away from the piece, and allow the air flow to gently move the fur or feathers into their natural position. This is also a great technique to use to get your taxidermy looking its best after being shipped to you - being posted is enough to get any ones feathers in a ruffle! Please make sure to keep a couple of fingers in the air flow to ensure that its not warming up at all, its vital that the hair dryer is only blowing cool, gentle air.
If you find dry dusting is not adequate - perhaps for a piece thats been in storage and is heavily coated in dust, or has a stain of some sort, a very small amount of lacquer thinner on a clean yellow duster so its just very slightly damp, and wiped down gently in the direction of fur or feather growth should be ample to remove marks, and the thinner will evaporate off leaving your piece clean.
Eyes, feet, claws and other areas that have no fur or feathers can be gently cleaned with a slightly damp cotton bud. very gently wipe away any dust gathered in these areas. Again if you find water is not enough to remove dust or marks you can dampen your cotton bud with a very small amount of thinners, but be very careful on any areas that are painted as some kinds of paint will be removed by thinners.
Should the worst happen....
If the worst should happen - your piece gets dropped, damaged, stained, torn, infested, etc. dont fret, a lot of damage is repairable, contact us and we will try to put you in touch with a reputable taxidermist in your area that may be able to repair your mount!