Are the Animals at the Natural History Museum Real Taxidermy?

If you’ve ever visited a natural history museum, you may have wondered whether the animals on display are real or fake. The answer is that many of them are indeed real, but they have been preserved through a process called taxidermy.

What is Taxidermy

Taxidermy is the art of preserving animal skins and mounting them on a form to make it look lifelike. The process involves removing the skin from the animal’s body, tanning it, and then fitting it over a mannequin made of wire and foam. Once the skin is in place, glass eyes are added to give it a realistic appearance.

Why Are Animals Taxidermied

Animals are taxidermied for many reasons. For example, scientists and researchers may use taxidermied animals to study their anatomy and behavior. Museums also use taxidermy as a way to educate visitors about different species and their habitats.

How Long Does Taxidermy Last

When done properly, taxidermy can last for decades or even centuries. However, improper storage or exposure to sunlight can cause the fur or feathers to fade over time.

Are All Museum Displays Made with Real Animals

While many natural history museums use real animals in their displays, some do use replicas instead. Replicas can be made using materials such as fiberglass or plastic and can be painted to look like real animals.

How Can You Tell if an Animal is Real or Fake

If you’re unsure whether an animal on display is real or fake, there are a few ways you can tell. Look closely at the fur or feathers – if they look too perfect or uniform, they may be fake. Also, check for signs of wear and tear – real animal skins may have imperfections or signs of aging that replicas do not.


In summary, many of the animals at natural history museums are indeed real and have been preserved through taxidermy. However, some museums may use replicas instead. If you’re curious about whether an animal on display is real or fake, take a closer look at the details and use your best judgment.