Introduction: Duck Mouse

Picture of Duck Mouse
Captured on video: a duck-footed mouse, created through the wonders of taxidermy. This is an advanced project; see mouse taxidermy for the basics and Conjoined Twin Mice and LED Throwie Rat for other advanced projects.

Warning: this Instructable contains taxidermy, chimeras, and humor. View at your own risk.

We've come up with two edits of the Duck Mouse video: first, a short guts-free trailer to pique your interest, then a more complete view of all the taxidermy action.

Duck Mouse Trailer
The shorter guts-free version:

Duck Mouse Full Release
The longer version, including a bit of dissection:

Step 1: Obtain and Dry Duck Feet

Picture of Obtain and Dry Duck Feet

Find yourself some fresh duck feet.

If you or your friends hunt or raise ducks, you're all set. Otherwise you could visit your local asian grocery, butcher shop, or live poultry source and ask for the leftovers. These feet came from a green-winged teal I shot myself. I ate the rest of the bird (VERY good) and saved the wings in my chest freezer for a future project.

Cut the feet off just at the bottom of the feathers, and wash them in nice soapy water. The webbed feet will fold up if you let them, so spread out the webbing and pin them on a piece of cardboard to dry. You'll need two pins to keep the toes spread, and a couple of pins to prop the leg in an upright position. Try to make as few holes in the feet as possible.

I left mine on the mantel to dry, and just forgot about them for a couple of days. If you're in an excessively humid area, it may be necessary to put them in an oven set to "keep warm" to dry them out. They'll be stiff and a bit crispy when dry, so handle gently.

Step 2: Prepare Mouse Skin

Picture of Prepare Mouse Skin

Clean and prepare a mouse skin as described in the basic mouse taxidermy Instructable.

We'll be processing the forelegs as normal, but don't bother cleaning off the hind legs- they'll eventually be cut out and replaced with duck feet. Leave them in as place holders for now.

Step 3: Trim Duck Feet

Picture of Trim Duck Feet

Grab your wire cutters or a pair of snips, and trim off the upper part of the duck leg just below the knee.

My mouse's legs were too skinny to possibly pass the knee through, so I trimmed the leg to the thin point. If you use a rat the longer leg and knee joint might work just fine; choose accordingly.

Either way, this is like cutting through a dry chicken bone of equal size. A knife or normal scissors probably won't make a good cut, so you'll actually need the snips to cut through the leg bone without shattering it.

Step 4: Insert Duck Feet

Picture of Insert Duck Feet

Pull the mouse leg out through the body cavity, peeling back the skin down to the ankle, then pop it back right-side out. Cut the mouse's hind legs off just above the ankle, liberating the loose skin from the bone. You should now be able to remove the bone from the inside and the paw from the outside. Save and dry the paws; they'd make a nice pair of dangly earrings ala the cursed Monkey's Paw, or could be incorporated into another project.

Push the duck leg up the leg "sleeve" and into the mouse body. Hopefully this will be a rather tight fit, and the skin will stretch a bit to accommodate the leg. If there's not enough room you may need to trim farther up to reach a wider part of the leg. Repeat with the other leg.

Now you should have two duck feet attached to your pelt, the legs sticking up into the back side of the skin with the leg fur pooled around the ankles as shown below.

Step 5: Superglue Legs

Picture of Superglue Legs

Apply a ring of superglue around the top of the legs just below the cut. Think of this as a superglue garter belt.

Next pull the skin up like a sock, taking care not to accidentally bring the rest of the pelt into contact with the superglue. Tug the "sock" up the leg to get it into proper position, then pinch it in tight against the superglue at the top. Repeat with the other leg. The superglue will bond almost instantly, but give it another squeeze around and a short time to set just in case. This really is easier than it sounds; check out the video if you're not sure.

You'll have to move quickly and carefully to avoid superglue problems. Superglue loves to stick skin and hair together, so be extra careful with your fingers, the mouse skin, and mouse fur.

I lost a bit of fur that got stuck in a superglue drip, but it wasn't enough to show up as a missing patch on the pelt, and was easily scraped off the leg with an X-acto knife.

Step 6: Wire and Insert Form

Picture of Wire and Insert Form

Wire up the mouse forelimbs and insert the voodoo-doll form as described in basic mouse taxidermy.

Wire on the tail as normal, but wait on the hind feet. Duck feet require a bit different preparation.

Step 7: Wire Duck Feet

Picture of Wire Duck Feet

Bird bones are hollow, a fact we're about to use to our advantage. Wiggle the legs around so the cut ends of the duck legs are sticking up and accessible.

Cut a couple pieces of thin wire, aloop the bottom 1cm into a J shape, and pinch it tight. Check that this doubled piece of wire will slip through one of the holes the duck's leg bone all the way down to the foot. It should slip in relatively easily, but touch the sides of the hole.

Now, the sneaky part: we fill the rest of that hole with glue. I ran superglue along the wire down into the hole, trying not to spill it onto the neighboring skin and fur. Wait for the glue ot settle, then add more. And more.

Superglue may not be the best choice for this part, as it's best joining flat surfaces, but it's what I had on hand and it worked. One of those other shiny new glues the hardware store wants to sell you may work even better; just check the packaging to make sure it's suitable and doesn't take too long to dry.

Step 8: Position Hind Legs

Picture of Position Hind Legs

After the glue is dry, carefully hold the legs in the desired position and twist the wires together behind the mouse's back. If you used superglue be careful not to put too much stress on the wire/leg junction, as superglue isn't great at withstanding shear forces.

You'll want your mouse to stand up nicely on a tripod: the two duck legs and his tail. Manipulate the tail wire as needed, and get your duck legs into proper position, then readjust the wires as necessary. Tuck the twisted wire ends under the foreleg wires, and make sure the pointy ends are stuck into the cotton voodoo doll to avoid accidental skewering or damage to the pelt.

Double-check that you're happy with your mouse's stance, then move along.

Step 9: Sew It Up

Picture of Sew It Up

Stitch the mouse pelt closed as described in basic mouse taxidermy.

Step 10: Primp & Dry

Picture of Primp & Dry

Go back and do some touch-up work. Are the duck feet, tail, and forelegs where you want them? If not, wiggle and position as appropriate.

Are the eyes properly positioned within the sockets? Wiggle things around until they work for you.

Bend the head forward into an entertaining posture, and double-check the forelegs.

I found the duck feet wanted to splay a bit wide, making my mouse a bit too... well, duck-footed. I put a piece of wire around his hips as he dried, removing it when the skin was strong/stiff enough to support the feet in their preferred position.

After he's done give your mouse a good combing, as all this manipulation will leave his fur in a state. A toothbrush and a bit of water will do the trick nicely even after he's dry.

Pin the mouth as described in mouse taxidermy, and leave him alone for a couple of days in a warm dry place. Fluff the ears periodically to prevent them from folding down during drying; you may find it helpful to moisten them for repositioning.

Step 11: Display

Picture of Display

Once your duck mouse is dry, he's ready for permanent display. Find him a nice safe spot to sit out of the reach of pets or orally-fixated young children, and wait for the fun. Even those who aren't excited about taxidermy will probably find your duck mouse unbearably cute.

The duck mouse can also be hung from the ceiling, or used as a Christmas tree ornament. Simply add an additional loop to his back while sewing him up, leave his head pointing (mostly) straight up, and maybe make him a snorkel or SCUBA gear to complete the image of a diving mouse. See photos below for hints.

The feet should be slightly large for comic effect; it's a mouse in duck boots!
We found ourselves singing theme songs for the duck mouse, to the tune of the old Batman song (Na na na na na na na na, na na na na na na na na DUCK MOUSE!), the DuckTales cartoon (Duck mouse- whoo-hoo!), and other truly embarrassing things. It's just such a cute little cartoon character, you won't be able to help yourself.

I've still got more fun things in my freezer, so keep your eyes peeled for more neat chimeras!


TallulahL (author)2015-12-15

Do you sell these? I would like to buy one. :)

came6920 (author)2015-05-04

Scary, but i can appreciate the time and effort you put into this

runmy (author)2015-04-08


BeastandEpicProductions (author)2014-10-04


jackjackboom (author)2012-05-30

It's quite interesting that the mouse appears to be smiling.
Disturbing but very funny. Great ible!

kuehjo (author)2012-04-28

Personally I found the video EXTREMELEY well done, entertaining (for what it is), and the final product adorable and respectful in a way that that mouse NEVER would have gotten when it was alive. If you're against this kind of stuff, why are you watching? I would be willing to bet dollars to donuts that 99% of the naysayers would have scooped the dead mouse out of the pool (with the net, you know - too squeamish to TOUCH a dead, drowned mouse) and promptly dumped said dead mouse into the trash can. Seriously. Who among you would ACTUALLY have fed a drowned mouse to your cat? REALLY?????? Where's the people crying "cat cruelty!!" How long do you think that thing was dead anyways? Or dug a grave?? "Oh - lets have a funeral service for the drowned mouse!" Do you stop and bury roadkill too? Good grief people... If you don't like it, don't do it. Do we need to sermonize? (and now I'm probably just as bad...)

sweetkits (author)2008-08-26

this is not funny at all,nothing to laugh about

ilpug (author)sweetkits2012-03-29


freeza36 (author)sweetkits2011-12-24

well im laughing

zombiefire (author)sweetkits2010-04-06

ur right its not funny

its hillarious

ARE you kiwi it seems sicuh a kiwi thing to do

zeldafan (author)zombiefire2011-06-08


jasontimmer (author)sweetkits2008-08-26

I could only hope and pray that someone does something as funny as this with my body after I'm dead.

red-king (author)jasontimmer2008-10-25

man... i hope they give my body to the guy that said he would give people kangaroo legs... lmao

zigzagchris (author)red-king2010-06-26

for real? I remember jackass went to one and asked if their grandma could be stuffed

red-king (author)zigzagchris2010-06-26

I dunno. I think it would be pretty cool, actually... i said it as a joke first, though.

zombiefire (author)red-king2010-04-06


Lei_Kei (author)2011-12-11

I really like this idea, but will the hands and tail rot, or is Borax enough to perserve it?

slithien (author)2010-10-12

lol borax... i always laugh when i hear that word. this is sort of mean to the mouse... how would you like to walk around heaven with emu legs???

compaqxp123 (author)slithien2010-11-28

This rat is dead and thus, is no longer concerned with walking.

slithien (author)compaqxp1232010-11-29

Yes i no , BUT what if there realy is a afterlife? The rat would be laughed at and wouldnt rest in peace.

rat_man (author)slithien2011-02-22

Do mice go to Heaven I mean you dont see them in churches or anything. The animal is dead if you bought it from the reptile shop it was killed to feed a pet snake that isnt a great lifetime ambition I would rather be turned into a piece of art than have had my entire life's purpose as a snake food.

finton (author)rat_man2011-07-22

You've never heard the expression "Quiet as a church-mouse"? : ]

If there's food (perhaps the communion wafers?), warmth and a dry hideout, mice would live there as well as any other home, I'd guess. As for them going to Heaven: far as I know there's never been a mouse Jesus, and I assume that like humans, mice can't get to Heaven just by being good.

Personally I'd rather be cremated (I'm a bit concerned about that coming-to-in-the-coffin-underground thing) and scattered over my vege garden; that way the guests at my first deathday anniversary party catered for by my wife could all say "there's a little of him in each of us"...

mhall8 (author)rat_man2011-06-20

Obviously you've never been to a Christian university around Homecoming. Every year someone would release mice in the chapel, so yes, you do see mice in church. :)

rat_man (author)mhall82011-06-20

this then begs the question do they listen and accept god into their life? Oh I could go on about the philosophical ins and outs of the religion of mice but I would much rather preform taxidermy :)

MrF_DT_teacher (author)2011-07-13

Grim but cool

triumphman (author)2011-07-10

see the mouse crispies "jalapeno chili popper" instructable, its where the mouses are. Or were...

Dr Qui (author)2011-06-23


I love the gimpy expression the mouse has, intentional or just luck?

I bet the mouse's last though as it fell in you pool was "I wish i had duck feet"

Needs a shield, helmet and sword.

tictaclad (author)2011-06-08

I have a couple of questions for all the people who are leaving comments talking about how wrong this is. 1. what do you want me to do with the mouse i found dead, drowned in my pool and the duck i hunted and ATE this season? and 2, which i'm more curious about, why are you even looking at this instructable if you are so against this??

al.ex (author)2011-01-10

this is sick...

redzone-recon (author)2008-06-17

This is the second how to I've seen that involves degrading a dead animal. I'm no hipy but don't do that(#_#) (;

lupinesoul (author)redzone-recon2008-08-03

Oh, then I guess I'll just toss out this skin and let it go to waste. The Native Americans are a wise people. They used every part of a buffalo. Couldn't they just as easily made a fake mustache or some other comical prop out of the skin of a buffalo? Plus, on a more related not, even if the mouse somehow felt shame or embarrassment in life, it feels nothing in death. Once I die, I could have someone stuff my body and replace the lower half with goat legs and put little horns on the forehead, and I wouldn't care because I wouldn't be there to see/feel anything about it. Just like I wouldn't care if a hobo covered in his own feces violated my dead body. People could tape it and post it on the internet and I wouldn't be embarrassed in the least, so get over it! Left in the wild, it would have been consumed by another animal. Like this, it has become a godly creature normally seen only in dreams and Saturday morning cartoons!

bleh5573 (author)lupinesoul2010-12-27

I forgot to say otherwise it is kinda morbidly cute.....I just hope you use the insides of that mouse for bait or give it to your cat or something. If nothing else put it back in the wild so other animals could benefit from it. That all I'm saying.

bleh5573 (author)lupinesoul2010-12-27

Do you keep all of your little creatures? Did you use the innards of this mouse? I get what you are saying but it isn't really valid unless you use all of the animal that you can. I can't say I am necessarily a fan of the practice but I think the real issue for me anyhow is the whether or not you are doing it in an effort to use otherwise discarded waste or if it is just for the sake of making funny little creatures.

AG3 OF RAG3 (author)lupinesoul2009-01-05


lupinesoul (author)AG3 OF RAG32010-01-11

Dude, your Capslock is on.

Kryptonite (author)AG3 OF RAG32009-01-08

That's a very good point, this looks funny but it sorta demoralizes the animal.

deekman (author)Kryptonite2009-01-18

so... it's going to hurt their feelings?

Kryptonite (author)deekman2009-01-28

I said demoralizes, I didn't say anything about their feelings. Hey, I don't wan get into an argument because it will go nowhere, so let's just leave it at that.

Screamo (author)2010-09-24

Poor mouse, give it its real legs back!

robotman3 (author)2010-04-11

that is beast!

mihai2mn (author)2010-03-28

 sooooo cool and the music makes it so much better. taxidermy FTW

guerrilla (author)2010-03-14

 How does this only have 3 stars?  Greatest instructable ever!

BatchBoyProductions (author)2010-01-25

I wonder if you could put it on anesthetic, cut of it's legs, and then attach fresh duck legs. You wold have a whole new, live animal! Of course, youd need to be a surgeon.

Creepy but cool!

Dealmann (author)2009-11-24

Meat is murder!!!
Tasty, tasty murder xD

Sir Crapton (author)Dealmann2010-01-20

If we weren't meant to eat animals, why are they made out of meat? Why not rocks, or poison? That would be a much more effective way of defense. In any case, living creatures eat other living things. That's how its been, and its worked pretty dang well for... I dunno... millions of years? And humans are on the top of the foodchain. Why not enjoy our dominion over the animals?

Alisons (author)2009-07-02

Aww, look at it! It's smiling :D It's happy! This is so cute. xD

doughnutguy1 (author)Alisons2010-01-07


0jack (author)2010-01-03

This is surreal and morbidly amusing.  Have you considered making any stop-motion movies starring your little creations?  I can see this bold chap with a felt hat with a little feather, a tiny belt & a sword.  You could do Shakespeare!   I would love to see a feathered frog as well, maybe with a little top hat.  Out of curiosity, could one 'dress' a puppet (on strings) in an animal skin and have it still move, or is it not possible to preserve the skin so that it remains flexible?  

Of course, I'm assuming that the killings of the animals were relatively humane, etc, etc, &c (which is better than Mother Nature offers) (and, yes, hunting counts if you're not a dolt about it).  It's not too hard to humanely euthanize a mouse with a bit of skill, either.  While I find this to be quirky and amusing, and with some value, I've broken off friendships with people who use those horrific adhesive traps for mice.  So, I am one of those fussy, squicky people, too.  :p  Taxidermy: a neutral and subjective concept.  Knowingly allowing a living creature to die slowly of thirst while terrified and in terrible pain while you sit a few feet away: not so much.  Ew.

humrattle (author)0jack2010-01-04

I cannot agree more with you about the glue traps. Such a horrible way to die, trapped like that for days. I still use them where the spring loaded ones aren't feasible, but I made it a point to get a pump action air pistol to hurry them along once I hear the frantic squeaking. 

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Bio: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!
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