OCCUPATION THESAURUS

TAXIDERMIST



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HELPFUL TIP:

How your character makes a living is an important decision. After all, there’s probably a good reason why they chose this career. Think about how they pull on certain talents and skills, have positive or negative traits, and adhere to a specific work ethic to excel. Sometimes characters choose an occupation because of how they were raised, something they experienced, or even an emotional wound, so consider how all of these things will show readers who they are deep down, and why they do what they do.
OVERVIEW:
Taxidermists are trained in the art of animal preservation, restoring a variety of animals to a lifelike state, drawing out their original beauty and strength. Taxidermists often have specialties, which may include pets, fish, reptiles, birds, small animals, or large game. They may have a small shop where they handle pets and local wildlife, or may focus more on animal trophies (either in an area many hunters frequent or as more of a commercial operation that deals in exotic animals). A few highly skilled taxidermists also work with natural history museums, creating displays used for educational purposes and repairing items already in the collection.

Taxidermists are both male and female and view their profession as artistic. Most are very passionate about recreating the breath of life through their work. It requires a certain artistic eye and attention to detail as certain aspects of the animal must be incorporated in the preservation, such as an accurate account of muscles in movement so this can be recreated in death. Some practitioners in this field will take on any job that they feel skilled to handle as work can be sporadic or revolve around hunting seasons, while others have ethical boundaries and so they avoid certain jobs (such as preserving endangered animals or those shot for sport). They take a great deal of pride in their work.

Overall, taxidermists see a variety of clients—hunters looking to obtain trophies, pet lovers struggling to release an animal companion, and people who find dead animals and want to preserve the beauty of their forms.

NECESSARY TRAINING:
There are several certificate and diploma programs for this field but a degree is not necessary. Courses cover anatomy, interpreting reference material, and the mounting techniques, processes, and tool handling required to prepare carcasses. Students also learn how to treat and tan skins, feathers and furs, how to create habitat construction, work with forms, as well as become proficient in air brushing and other finishing procedures. Often people get their start by apprenticing under a licensed taxidermist, learning on the job and taking classes as they need them or to specialize in a particular area.

A person is required to have a license to practice, they may need special permits to work with migratory birds or endangered species, and they must abide by regulations set by fish and wildlife. The exact licenses or permits may vary depending on the location of your taxidermist, so if this factors into the story set in a real-world location, make sure to do your research.

A great deal of research into an animal is needed to understand their structure and movement to ensure a lifelike end product. Taxidermists usually have an impressive collection of reference books, pictures, and videos to help them with the shaping of subjects that they work on. If they own their own businesses, some skills in management and accounting is also needed to manage accounts, pay bills, and balance the books.

USEFUL SKILLS, TALENTS, OR ABILITIES:

HELPFUL POSITIVE TRAITS:
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HELPFUL NEGATIVE TRAITS:
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EMOTIONAL WOUNDS THAT MAY HAVE FACTORED INTO THIS OCCUPATION CHOICE:
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SOURCES OF FRICTION:
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PEOPLE THEY MIGHT INTERACT WITH:
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HOW THIS OCCUPATION MIGHT IMPACT ONE'S BASIC NEEDS:
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TWISTING THE STEREOTYPE:
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REASONS THE CHARACTER MAY HAVE BEEN DRAWN TO THIS PROFESSION:
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