Are the Animals in Natural History Museum Taxidermy?

Have you ever visited a natural history museum and wondered whether the animals on display are real or not It’s a common question that many visitors ask, and the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. Let’s take a closer look at what taxidermy is and how it relates to the animals you see in natural history museums.

What is Taxidermy

Taxidermy is the art of preserving an animal’s body for display or study purposes. The process involves removing the animal’s skin, preserving it with chemicals, and then stuffing it with a filling material such as cotton or foam. This creates a lifelike representation of the animal that can be displayed in museums or used for educational purposes.

Are the Animals in Natural History Museums Real

The answer to this question varies depending on which museum you visit. Some natural history museums do have live animals on display, such as aquariums or zoos within their facility. However, most of the animals you see in natural history museums are actually taxidermy specimens.

Why are Taxidermy Animals Used in Museums

There are several reasons why natural history museums use taxidermy animals instead of live ones. Firstly, live animals can be difficult to maintain and care for over long periods of time.

Secondly, some species may no longer exist due to extinction or endangerment, making it impossible to display them alive. Finally, taxidermy specimens allow visitors to study and examine the intricate details of an animal without causing harm to living creatures.

How are Taxidermy Animals Made

Taxidermy animals are made using various techniques depending on their size and complexity. Small birds and mammals can be mounted onto wire frames covered with cotton or other materials before being shaped into lifelike poses.

Larger animals, such as deer and bears, require a more complex process that involves removing the skin in sections and then carefully preserving it with chemicals. The filling material is then added before the skin is reattached to the animal’s original skeletal structure.


In conclusion, the animals you see in natural history museums are mostly taxidermy specimens. These lifelike representations allow visitors to study and appreciate the beauty of these creatures without causing any harm to living animals. So next time you visit a natural history museum, take a closer look at the animals on display and appreciate the artistry behind their creation.