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Disease Precautions In Taxidermy

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by Vulpes Vulpes, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. I'd like to know what precautions taxidermists take to protect themselves from disease, bacteria, fleas when working.

    I am well aware that people are far more likely to pick up germs from other people than from a dead animal BUT....you do have to watch out for things.

    I got vaccinated for rabies several years ago after I cut myself through a glove while skinning a raccoon. (My Washington DC doctor did great job keeping a straight face when I told her I was skinning a raccoon.) The raccoon appeared healthy, but mammals can incubate rabies before showing symptoms. Do taxidermists all get rabies vaccines like vets and nuisance animal technicians?

    I've read that a vulture's stomach is full of virulent flesh-eating bacteria that would kill a person. Sure I don't envision ever working on birds of prey as a hobbiest but still.

    I flash freeze small animals and usually spray 70% isopropyl on the fur before starting work. I plug leaky butts with cotton balls and a spray of Lysol. I keep my mouth closed when skinning. (You only make that mistake once.)

    Please share your thoughts and stories.
    drob likes this.
  2. joeym

    joeym Jeannette & Joey @ Dunn's Falls

    You just need to be careful. I've been skinning animals all my life, and have cut myself so many times I can't even count. Generally, if the specimen appears to be a healthy animal, you're OK. I was recently bit by a feral cat that we were attempting to domesticate. I kept it for 2 weeks, then released. It was very healthy, and should have been dispatched, but my wife didn't want me to kill it. I understand your concern on rabies. There is zero tolerance on it since it is always fatal, if contracted. I think you are taking all the correct precautions.
    Johnnyclyde and Vulpes Vulpes like this.

  3. drob

    drob Active Member

    I always try to freeze things before I start working on them,and wear a mask when cutting skull caps,etc.I have cut myself many times while skinning and have a couple of wierd moles on my hand that my wife swears is a result of those cuts!
  4. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    TICKS were most of my issues. More worried about my dogs then my self. I would put the TICK infested animal in the freezer for a few hours to kill them. If you cut your self, bite your nails or open wound on your hands you should use gloves. Handling paint and chemicals you should glove up. Dust mask when cutting any thing like bone and even sanding forms. Respirator for paints and working with Chemicals. I all ways kept up on my TETNUSE shot and GOOD PPE. Don't go cheep with your health or safety.
    rogerswildlife and drob like this.
  5. This reminds me of the one time I found a roadkill coyote. It was fresh so I chucked it into my trunk. It sat in the trunk for a few hours while I was at work before I left early to "take care of some things." I was pulling lone star ticks off myself for days after that. They were crawling all over my car too. It made a nice hide.
  6. drob

    drob Active Member

    Crazy story: When I first started doing taxidermy I picked up every decent looking animal I came across.Well one day when I pulled in the parking lot at work there lay a beautiful baby skunk.I checked it for odor,nothing so I put it in the back of my station wagon ( big mistake) whe I came out of work that day I could smell tha thing as soon as I walked out of the door (at least 150 yards away )tried my best to get the smell out but couldn't,had to get a new vehicle!! Pretty dumb then,pretty funny now.
    Megan :) and Vulpes Vulpes like this.
  7. jake7719

    jake7719 Well-Known Member

    When in High School I trapped, the steel mills shut down in PA and everyone was out in the woods taking fur just to keep a roof over your head. In 1980 I was getting $10.00 - 15.00 for a Muskrat and focused on water trapping. On opening day of Muskrat in went into an area that was over looked in an area, FILLLED with RATS and no MINK, old HUGE RATS. I made a bunch of sets and on the way out, had all ready taken 2 from a run in a conibear under water set. reset and put the Muskrats in my pack, got on my bike and headed home. One rat didn't want to become a hat for the "RED ARMY" and jumped on my shoulder going down that HILL truckers don't drive because how steep. The guy that witnessed it and stopped to see if I lived after I came to rest at the bottom of the hill ended up in the hospital trying to explain to his wife what he saw, he had a small heart attack from laughing so hard.

    Trashed my bike, bent frame, but not as bad as when I got a POSSUM hung up in my front forks. (SAME HILL) missed the HS football play offs because of road rash (tar and chip made from crushed mill slag, like 00000 sand paper or cheese grater). I ended up taking 98 rats from a area the size of a city block and left a good breeding stock but the lot got sold and drained by the next year, muskrats hit all over that area by cars "THE HUMANITY of it ALL"
    Allie and Vulpes Vulpes like this.
  8. Those are some great stories! Made me laugh out loud.
  9. That story sounds like an old Pat McManus story. He rode his bike up the hill out of town on a Deer hunt. Shot a buck and to take it home he tied the back legs to the foot pedals and the front feet to the handle bars. Climbed in between and started off. At the top of the hill the Deer came to life and started pedaling. Poor young Pat made it home in record time but the Buck came loose during the crash and got away.
  10. byrdman

    byrdman Well-Known Member

    most dangerous are rattler teeth....