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Beaty Biodiversity Museum

The Beaty Biodiversity Museum at the University of British Columbia is a newly open research centre and museum focusing on all thing natural and all things naturally diverse.
Read more about the museum here +

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Do you like this website?  Perhaps you'd like to donate a few pennies to help keep it going.  But no pressure.



Stacy Haiduk's Cat Purse ... crazy ... 

At the Daytime Emmy Awards this year soap opera star Stacy Haiduk appeared with a cat purse.  Apparently, Haiduk's character on the Young and the Restless is a crazy lady who thinks that her dead cat is still alive, and apparently this cat purse is made from her stuffed co-star.  But I don't really know the details for sure, and, to be honest, I can't really be bothered to track down the straight facts. Let's just leave it at crazy.  

If you must, read all about it here +


Schieferstein's Hoof Shoes 


Berlin artist Iris Schierferstein's new shoes.  Above is Hoofs (2005) with horse hooves and zippers. Below is her more recent Vegas Girl (2009) with cow hooves and toy pistols and Temptation (2009) with pigeons.

See more of Schieferstein's animal shoes at

Check out more hoof styles at 


Strange Sightings : Cat Hat 

Check out the interview with Rebeccan Beachy about her rather unusual cat art including her cat hat. Yes, she made a hat out of a found dead kitten.  Apparently the legs dangle down the back. But if you think that's a tad unnerving, take a peak at the cat marionette endowed with baby teeth a little further down the page.

Huh ... different. Very different.

If you're needing some help thinking your way through such feline crafts, make sure to read the comments below the interview. As ever, when it comes to dead animals, everybody has an opinion.  Or maybe I should say, nobody is without a reaction.  From deep disgust to aesthetic pleasure, nobody can look on a cat hat without feeling something.

And perhaps this is the point. Most of us don't see a dead cow when we look at a leather jacket. But we certainly see a dead cat when we look at Beachy's fluffy bonnet. Typically, we don't invite cows into our homes, onto our beds, or into our hearts.  Unless you're a dairy famer, cows are an anonymous bunch.  However, cats (at least for cat lovers) are something special.  A lot of contemporary artists are using the bodies of dead cuddly loved ones precisely to highlight such inconsistencies in the ways we use and thinking about animals - the ways we put some into the "inedible friend" category and some into the "yummy yummy!" category and some into the "nice Barcelona chair" category. Making a cat into a hat most certainly crosses boundaries and so necessarily provokes strong reactions.    

But still, I'm not sure I'd want to wear my cat (her name is Mary) on my head to make this argument more concrete.  You?

Find the interview at


Not exactly taxidermy, but ...


Animal Masks

Check out this animal mask from Kepa Rasmussen.  Pretty wild stuff.  The animal is a ferret, by the way. See more of Rasmussen's masks here: 


Taxidermy Jewellery

British vegetarian and artist Reid Peppard has created a rather distinctive series of animal jewellery. The works use animals that were either killed on the roads, by Peppard's cat or bought frozen from pet stores where they are sold as snake food. 

Peppard creates mice necklaces, winged headbands, and mouse-head cufflinks as sort of "found" object jewllery.


Not sure what to think?  Here are Peppard's own words to describe the pieces:

RP/ENCORE challenges our attitudes towards fur, leather and waste. In a world where leather is worn with out question by most, and replaced by un-biodegradable plastics by the rest, it is ironic that the image of an animal preserved using taxidermy is still enough to cause widespread outrage and fist banging. It is for this reason I taxidermy the prolific, consequential vermin result of London’s excess. A member of the UK's Guild of Taxidermists, I use both traditional and alternative methods of taxidermy to preserve and embellish creatures that are widely thought disgusting and unnecessary. When they become sculptural headpieces, necklaces and cuff-links, the specimens cease to be waste and become objects to behold. RP/ENCORE makes use of the city’s leftovers.

 Contact Peppard at


Victorian Jewllery

In the second edition of his Practical Taxidermy: A Manual of Instruction to the Amateur in Collecting, Preserving, and Setting up Natural History Specimens of All Kinds published in 1884, Montagu Browne thoughtfully adds a short section on jewellery and household items.  He notes that "society demands that objects of natural history should not all be relegated to the forgotten shelves of dusty museums, but live as 'things of beauty and joys for ever'" as broaches, earrings, paperweights, and tabacco boxes. Hence the new alliance between the goldsmith and the taxidermist, resulting in "a thousand ingenious combinations of nature and art." 

hunting_broach.jpgFor earrings, Browne suggests two leopard claws mounted as "miniature Robin Hood bugles." Beetles also make dramatic adorment for the ladies ears. For broaches, the heads of hummingbirds with "their throats wrapped with a fillet of gold" are very handsome as are the feet of various species of grouse of owls capped with silver or gold such as the one above.  Pins for "the sterner sex" could be made from the teeth of foxes or dogs.

For ornamental household items, horses hooves served as snuff boxes, inkstands, and paper weights, deers' heads as gas chandeliers, and monkeys, bears, ibises, owls, and eagles could be set up as either dumb-waiters or lamp bearers. The shells of tortoises - if lined with silk or metal - were wonderful tobacco pouches, and the long wing bones of albatrosses made strong pip-stems.  Browne's strangest (and now most gruesome) ornamental taxidermy suggestion involved newborn kittens and puppies.  "Kittens or puppies of a few days old, if nicely marked, can be stuffed and mounted on a piece of marble for paper weights, or on a red cloth for penwipers." 


Cover "it" with fur


For a $2000US, you can purchase an item listed as Mountain Lion. Closed Mouth. Boone & Crockett Scale Mounted on your sports helmet. With cape or Tail as options from Attila the Hun Custom Ski Apparel's online gallery of helmet covers.  Using the finest pelts, the Chieftan Hun Taxidermist creates truly original custom pieces.  In fact, the Hun requires clients to send in their helmets to ensure an exact fit.  Besides the rather spectacular cougar displayed here, available animal options include Alaskan Timber wolf, wolverine, cross, silver, blue, or artic fox, and coyote.

Attila the Hun also sells fur trapper hats with tails attached, mitts, headbands, archery quivers, belts, key rings, and yes, the fur bikini, available in either beaver or otter fur. swim2.jpg Although not properly taxidermy - no beaver head appears anywhere it shouldn't - a fur bikini is just too noteworthy not to take note of.  According the website: "the beaver bikini is a Hun exclusive and sure to be an attention getter."  No doubt. The bikini is one-size-fits-all ("if it doesn't fit you, you probably shouldn't be wearing it anyway"), costs about $150, and weighs 2 pounds.

Check out the Hun:


Animal Mask Sporrans

dunnbadger.jpgIf you are going to wear a kilt, you'll be needing a sporran to hold all those bits and bobs that fill up your trouser pockets.  And if you're going to wear a sporran, it better be one of Craigie Originals' animal mask sporrans.  Although located in Florida, Craigie Originals produce a variety of sporrans and leathergoods for the noble hearted Scotsman, but few items of their items can compare to their animal mask sporrans.  

Perhaps you'd like this badger sporran complete with two well-clawed paws and six brass bells?  It'll cost you $490.  Or maybe a crocodile or beaver sporran?  Craigie Originals has even endured the aroma of making sporrans from skunks.  The company also makes less elaborate (headless) pieces from plain fur.CROCK1.jpg

The animal mask sporrans cost between $400 and $500, but considering the splash you'll make at your party, they're well worth the cost. In addition, any of the sporrans can be made into a purse or bag for the ladies with the addition of a leather shoulder strap.

If a sporran is quite your style, how about a Davie Crockett style raccoon headpiece or a raccoon rug?  Check out all of Craigie Originals' one-of-a-kind items at: