Four Mistakes People Make When Storing A Taxidermy Collection

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Stuffed animals are not necessarily ornaments that appeal to everyone, but many Australians appreciate the art of taxidermy. In fact, it was an Australian collector that won the World Taxidermy Championships in 1999. Even if you haven't won any awards, you may need to think about how you can safely put your taxidermy collection in storage. Make sure your collection stays in prime condition, and avoid the following storage mistakes other people sometimes make.

Failure to protect a collection from pests

Taxidermists remove the skin of an animal and then construct an exact replica of the creature's body before mounting the finished item. As such, there's generally a relatively small amount of the original organic matter in a stuffed animal, but that doesn't mean you don't have to worry about pests. Stuffed animals can fall prey to a wide array of pests, including mice, rats, moths and cockroaches, all of which can cause significant, irreparable damage.

It's a good idea to place your collection in a sealed crate, as this will cut the risk that pests can get inside. Nonetheless, you will still need additional protective measures. Place silica gel packets inside any containers to cut down unwanted moisture, which may also attract certain pests. You can also buy products to kill pests, including poisoned strips and pellets. Talk to a pest control expert for advice about the right pest control products.

Failure to control humidity

Excessively high or low levels of relative humidity can cause problems for many types of collectible items, and taxidermy is no exception. Low humidity can quickly cause the items to dry out. The animals' skins or feathers can also shrink and crack. Conversely, high humidity levels may mean that the ornament swells or warps.

Many collectors use self-storage units to store their collections, as these businesses offer advanced climate control facilities. What's more, you don't have responsibility for the stability and performance of the system.

Failure to protect from dust

In storage, your taxidermy collection is susceptible to airborne dust and dirt. What's more, while the preservatives in the animal's skin can protect the material, a build-up of dust and dirt can still cause permanent damage. Over time, with constant moisture, these particles can even encourage mildew growth.

As such, you need to carefully wrap each specimen before placing it in storage. Wrap each item in an airtight plastic bag, and seal the packaging securely to stop anything getting inside. What's more, even items that are on display need protection from household dust. Dust these items with a soft cloth regularly. You can also use a damp clean cloth on bird wings and animal horns.

Failure to get a license

The Australian authorities carefully regulate taxidermy, as there is a risk that over-zealous collectors could endanger certain native species. As such, in most states, you must hold a license to carry out taxidermy or to hold a collection that contains specimens that are native to Australia.

For example, in New South Wales, you need a license to store taxidermy for private purposes if your collection includes native fauna. This rule applies to whole animals and even parts like claws and feathers. You can't get a license for animals listened under the Threatened Species Conservation Act or birds of prey, unless you can prove the animal came from legal stock.

Notably, you'll also need a license to move taxidermy between states. As such, if you're moving interstate, you should check the licensing requirements in your new home state before assuming your collection is legal.

Taxidermy is increasingly popular with some Australian collectors, so it's important to look after a collection in storage. Talk to your local self-storage provider for more information and advice.

For more information, contact a company like Dawson Moving