Heads, hides and rugs

On a wander recently I came across American Wild Life Taxidermy. The sign on the door said ‘Open’ so I decided it was an opportunity not to be missed.  The owner seemed busy but kindly let me see what they were working on. He led me back into the shop where a younger man was removing the flesh from a large (and clearly fresh) pelt with a circular electric blade.

“It’s a mountain lion” he explained. “It was found dead on the road in a local reservation. We’ll clean it up for them so that they can use it for ceremonial purposes”. He then pointed to a crumpled, almost deflated ‘pile’ of bear on the concrete floor “The bear is next”.  Whilst I was busy frantically photographing, he silently wandered off.

I moved in to photograph the work being done on the lion. This was harder than I anticipated because bits of pink viscera kept flying off at unpredictable angles.  Thankfully the worker saw my difficulties and threw down the mountain lion skin so I could get a better shot.

I was left unfettered to browse the building which included a room entirely of antlers hanging from the ceiling and a huge glass corridor of many stuffed birds and beasts (although often they only had their heads) unnaturally packed in together and staring right at me.