This species isn’t endangered, but bushmen are still superstitious about them. Examine the spots—if they look too dark compared to the light brown fur, he has been airbrushed. Bad hyena!
Because these animals are so imposing in the wild, inferior taxidermists tend to overstuff them. Another tip: If he doesn’t look like he’s sizing you up for a meal, the eyes were set poorly.
The tanning process that turns skins into pliable hides gets dialed back to “delicate” for an animal this woolly; every tuft is hand-dressed for softness. If only your barber were this good.
Coastal Brown Bear
Before you invest in a large item, use your hands (he won’t bite) to feel around the elbows, wrists, and knees. The thick fur in these areas makes it easy to hide flaws like bunched-up skin.
In marine taxidermy, detailed fiberglass castings can often be rendered from a mere photo of your prize. That means you get all the credit but no “I killed one of God’s creatures” guilt.
Early taxidermists used arsenic as a cure-all preservative be-cause it kills insects on contact. Of course, it kills people too (see Napoleon), so you’re lucky this bird is too new to contain any.
Unlike elephants, walruses, and narwhals, warthogs aren’t on the CITES Appendices of pro-tected species, so their ivory is legal to own. Be sure his mouth is tight around those chompers.
These animals get picked off by everything from crocs to cheetahs. Want one, too? Make sure to ask your taxidermist if the eyes are German crystal, the most realistic glass around.
Symmetry is key for wall mounts, so stand right in front of your trophy and make sure the lips, nose, and chest line up. Lest that nose get smashed, hang him from a sturdy stud.
These little poo-flingers are just above sewer rats in Africa. If you feel seams in the fur, it’s been fitted improperly. If it jumps up and steals your wal-let, it’s been killed improperly.