The use of this bar, it will be observed, is a substitute for the central or supporting wires of the body. Two other holes are now bored into it, the one two, and the other three inches from the end which we first pierced; these are for the reception of the wires of the fore legs; and two similar holes must be made at the other extremity of the bar for receiving the wires of the hind legs.
Bears always support themselves on the full expansion of their dilated paws, so that it is necessary to bring the leg-wires out at the claws. The leg- wires are bent at right angles for a length of five inches from the upper end. These are put through the holes in the bar, and when they have passed through they are curved again. Two small gimlet-holes are then made for the reception of smaller wire, by which the leg-wires must be bound together close to the bar. The foreleg-wires are fixed in the same manner, which completes the framework.
No other means are used for middle-sized animals, such as the lion, tiger, leopard, etc. The stuffing is completed as in other quadrupeds.
The walrus, seals, and other amphibious animals of this order, are treated in the manner of quadrupeds generally, only that leg-wires are unnecessary, except in the fore-feet; the tail, which represents the hind-feet, has merely to be dried and kept properly stretched in during this process, which precaution also applies to the fore-feet. They are the easiest stuffed of all animals, only the skins are very oily; they should be well rubbed with the arsenical soap, and also with the preserving powder.
The stuffing of the walrus, and other large animals of this family, should consist of well dried hay for the interior parts and tow for the surface next the skin.
Beaver, etc. The beaver, muskrat, common rat, and other animals whose skins have a strong smell. These require to be plentifully supplied with the preservative. The tail of the beaver should be cut underneath, and all the flesh removed, then stuffed with tow or chopped flax, and afterwards thoroughly dried and well primed with the arsenical soap to prevent putrefaction, to which it is very liable. It should also have repeated washings with oil of turpentine. The back should be round and short.
The Porcupine. In stuffing this animal considerable and varied expression may be given, both from the attitude and disposition of the quills. Great attention is therefore required in giving these a proper set during the process of drying. They will require to be looked at several times during the first and second day after they have been stuffed, and any of them that may have fallen out of the position required, to be adjusted.
Hares and Rabbits. A very pretty attitude for the hare or rabbit, is to have it seated in its form in an upright position, as if alarmed at the noise of dogs, etc. An oval is formed of wire and attached to the interior framework, after having passed one end of it through the anus, which must be passed through a hole in the board on which the animal is to be fixed. The wires of the hind legs must be forced through the posterior part of them, and also fixed into holes formed for their reception in the board.
Deer, Antelopes, Goats, etc. These animals should be mounted on the same principles as recommended for the bears. A different mode must, however, be adopted in skinning the animals, which the horns render necessary. It is performed in the ordinary manner until the operator reaches the neck. After cutting as near the head as possible, another incision must be made, commencing under the chin, which is continued to the bottom of the neck, or from eight to ten inches in length. By this opening, the remainder of the neck is separated from the head; the tongue is cut out, and the occipital orifice enlarged, and the brain extracted thereby. The lips are now cut as near as possible to the jaw bones, and the operator must continue progressively ascending towards the forehead, and in this manner all the skin will be separated from the head, except at the nose, or point of the muzzle. All the muscles are next removed by the scalpel, and the skull well anointed with arsenical soap. The muscles which have been cut out are then imitated with chopped flax or cotton, which may be attached to the bones with cement. When this is done, the head must be replaced within the skin. The orifice under the neck must now be sewed up with fine stitches, so that the hair may spread over them to conceal the seam. The whole other parts of the mounting is completed as directed for the bear.
The Dolphin, Porpoise, etc. The structure of these animals, as well as of the other species of the first family of this order, differs but little in general structure.
In skinning these, an incision is made under the chin, and continued to the extremity of the tail; the skin is then detached right and left with the scalpel, or a sharp knife. When the skin has been cut back as far as possible, disengage the vertebrae at the tail, and this will enable the operator to detach the skin from the back ; the vertebrae are now cut close to the head, and the whole carcase removed.
All this tribe have a thick layer of fat under their skin. In the operation of skinning it requires considerable dexterity to leave this fat, or blubber, adherring to the carcase. Practice alone will obviate this. When this has not been properly managed in the skinning, the only thing to be done afterwards is to scrape it thoroughly with a knife. The oil which flows from it during this operation must be soaked up with bran, or plaster of Paris.
There being no muscular projections in the skin of the porpoise, there is no use for wires in mounting it. A narrow piece of wood the length of the body is quite sufficient to keep the skin stretched, and stuffed either with tow or hay. Some months are necessary to render it perfectly dry and stiff, from its greasy nature. The grease almost always leaves some disagreeable looking spots on the skin. To remove these, and prevent a recurrence of them, powdered pumice-stone steeped in olive oil, is rubbed thickly on the skin with a hand-brush. It is then gone over a second time with emery and oil. It is rubbed in this way till the skin has a glossy appearance, when it may be rubbed dry with a woolen cloth; and to complete the polish, a clean woolen cloth may be applied with some force to complete the gloss, which is natural to the skin in a living state.
Where a very glossy appearance is wished, varnishes become necessary, but some difficulty has been experienced in getting these to remain attached to the skin in all weathers, because the humidity of rainy seasons melts gum-arabic when it is used as a varnish, and when white varnish is applied, both it and the gum-arabic fall off in pieces. To prevent the gum from falling off in this way, by its contracting, the solution should have about an eighth part of ox-gall mixed with it, and the surface of any body to be varnished should be washed with ox-gall and water before the varnish is applied, which will, almost to a certainty, prevent it from cracking and falling off. It must, however, be thoroughly dried before the varnish is applied.
We may here state, that an animal the size of a fox or a cat, may be skinned, prepared, and finally set up, in the space of four or five hours, by a person who has had a little practice in the art of taxidermy, and that from ten to fifteen minutes are all that will be required to skin an animal of the size just mentioned.