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Mouse Taxidermy

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Step 1: Procure mice

Picture of Procure mice
You'll need some dead mice.

These came frozen from the East Bay Vivarium. Most pet stores will happily sell you pet or feeder mice, but they may not exhibit such nice color variation. They may also be alive; if so, you'll need to be able to fix that yourself or find another supplier. Choose wisely.

Mice can be stored in ziplock baggies in your freezer until you need them. Don't repeatedly freeze/thaw your mouse or leave it in the fridge for an extended period as this decreases the skin/hair quality. An hour or so at room temperature is usually sufficient to thaw your mouse.

Step 2: Assemble tools

Picture of Assemble tools
You will need:

plastic to cover your work surface (a trash bag does nicely)
dead mice
cotton balls
beads (for eyeball replacement)
wire cutters
needle-nose pliers
fine scissors (nail scissors are OK)
tweezers
scalpel (X-Acto knife is OK)
fine-gauge wire (I've got 26 gauge)
thicker wire (mine's not marked, but is probably 12-15 gauge.)
sewing pins
sewing needle
thread (close to fur color is preferable)
Borax/cornmeal mix

Step 3: Cut wires

Cut the following:

4 x 9" thin (26 gauge) wire
1 x 12" thin (26 gauge) wire
1 x 16" thicker (~15 gauge) wire

Note that the lengths may vary a bit due to the size of your mouse.
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Hazelrat6 months ago
Is there a way that I can sterilize dead house rats to preserve them? There aren't many carnivorous pets around me, so I probably won't find feeder mice in pet stores, and I don't want to catch the Bubonic plague or something else horrible.
I'm going to be doing this for the first time this week. I've been learning from a local taxidermist working on birds and deer, but I really have a soft spot for cute little fuzzies and lots of friends have been giving me their dead mice and rats. Thanks for a great step by step. I may incorporate some things I've learned working on slightly larger animal...I'll photograph my process as well. Thanks again!
canida (author)  SincerelyPariah7 months ago
Yes, please photograph and post your process! I'd love to learn more about birds, especially.
btaubensee2 years ago
thanks so much for the great tutorial!!! did my first one last night - a success minus loss of tail. :( but i have 24 more to practice on! :D i am going to use them for an art project. thank you!
here's what i did with mine! thanks again :)
DSC08953.JPGmicweq.jpgmicqfq.jpg
That looks great!
zombiefire4 years ago
when i cut mine some of its insides were green

help
That wasn't a mouse, it was a piece of broccoli...

well first of all get the hell out of there ZOMBIE!!!! mouse then dispose of it


cheers
What do you think of using house mice (or rats.. but very small rats.) for this project?
My say on this is after my cousin, Paul Gaylord, got bubonic plague from his cat after his cat at a mouse I'm pretty cautious about that kind of stuff, but if you think it's safe, go for it!
Great!
Luziviech1 year ago
"They may also be alive; if so, you'll need to be able to fix that" - yea, broken alive mouses, fix em with sumthin deadly - lmao!
dpedaci1 year ago
Thank you so much for this detailed tutorial! My daughter has expressed interest in learning taxidermy, but I haven't had luck finding anyone to teach her--this is perfect for getting her started.
does anyone sell their mice they have already done? if yes, IM INTERESTED!
sandaili4 years ago
Wow. I can understand that everyone likes taxidermy. But the point of mice being used/killed solely to become toys or hobbies....wow. I'm not a hippie but I can't help but wonder what people think when they are pinning insects to boards after killing them with ether or stuffing dead mice. Sorry I'm just not into killing things LOL. And no I'm not a vegetarian. I suppose if we were going to eat the mouse I'd be much happier with stuffing it. 
The mice are already dead. Some pet supply stores sell them as food for other animals.
sooooo cute! i really like the bigger eyes, makes them look all the more precious. I'm hoping i can muster up the balls to try this myself in the near future! awesome instructable
aw what a cutie face! I kinda like taxidermy because it's like bringing them back to life :)
disgusting..........creepy...........................odd...............gross.......................weird........................AWSEOME
why did u read this if u think it was disgusting?
blackderby3 years ago
I was confused by this step at first. But then reading on you understand what happened here.
Can I do this with a baby hamster??
JusticeRose4 years ago
I wasn't too grossed out by this until I saw that she was pregnant :(
that's sad
sad that a pest that would have died or killed was going to have offspring and just make the population of disease spreading mice go up are you sad now
Yes. Mice are rather clean animals. Any disease spread by mice/rats is from having to live in human waste products, or from getting ticks/fleas like any other animal (cats, dogs, etc) living outside could get.
pwestra3 years ago
Is there a way of doing this without breaking any of the skull?
darthbindy3 years ago
nice taxidermy guide 2 years ago i made a chipmunk pelt from road-kill but this is a way better idea!
rat_man3 years ago
I am sooooo upset I had a rat and two mice skinned, and according to my Taxidermy Hand book I was to soak my hides in saturated borax and detergent water overnight. All the hair fell out :'C
Tarantulady5 years ago
Ok, Canida... I read the whole thing twice and I've got all my supplies... Wish me luck on my little ratty! And, of course, thanks for this BRILLIANT tutorial! Maybe you can tell us how to taxidermy a tarantula sometime? I tried to preserve a really wonderfully giant specimen of g. rosea a few years ago, and my hands got badly burned and the tarantula disintegrated. I still don't know if it was her venom, digestive juices, or urticating hairs that ruined the project! (of course, the fact that I didn't wear gloves probably helped )
theres an easie way to preserve insects, get a srynge and some formulahyde, put some in the srynge and insert t in the body, then pin it to a cork board or you could preserve it in pouring resin.

hope this helps
It's pretty much the same as the mouse. If the tarantula has a large abdomen, remove the contents as much as possible and fill with cotton. Then put it in a dry environment to dry out in the position you want. 
canida (author)  Tarantulady5 years ago
Excellent, best of luck! I'd love to see the result. I previously kept pet mice and hamsters, so it's nice to have some of the little guys around keeping an eye on me in stuffed form. I hope yours works out. Unfortunately I don't know much about preserving tarantulas - if I find a resource I'll definitely pass it along.
i'd like to see one with a squirrel. i think it would be cool cuz of thir big bushy tails
Well, it took all of last night, but I finally got it done! It's my first one, so there are obvious mistakes in the eyelids (I accidentally nicked one and split it!) and the tail got a rip, but considering my lack of experience I'm pretty happy with the results. I also simmered his skull clean and have it sitting in salt n_n I'll post pics when I find my damned camera! Thanks again for the tutorial!!!
zombiefire3 years ago
do u think u could send me a pdf of ur instructable
Can I use this same process to stuff a hamster?
dogisdead5 years ago
I'm really confused by this step, could you possibly explain in more detail?
i believe he has left the foot inisde of the pelt, cut off at the ankle. it seems to me that the wire/cotton stuffs are wrapped/tied around the remaining ankle bone.
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