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Title: Taxidermy without a Teacher - Comprising a Complete Manual of Instruction for Preparing - and Preserving Birds, Animals and Fishes
Author: Manton, Walter Porter
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Taxidermy without a Teacher - Comprising a Complete Manual of Instruction for Preparing - and Preserving Birds, Animals and Fishes" ***

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Transcriber's note:

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Corrections and alterations from the original can be found at the end of
the book.


                          BY THE SAME AUTHOR

                    Illustrated      Price 50 Cents

                             FIELD BOTANY
                     A HANDBOOK FOR THE COLLECTOR
                    Illustrated      Price 50 Cents

                      TAXIDERMY WITHOUT A TEACHER
     A complete Manual of Instruction for Preparing and Preserving
                       BIRDS, ANIMALS AND FISHES
                    Illustrated      Price 50 Cents


                      TAXIDERMY WITHOUT A TEACHER
                       BIRDS, ANIMALS AND FISHES

                           WALTER P. MANTON



                      LEE AND SHEPARD PUBLISHERS
                    NEW YORK CHARLES T. DILLINGHAM

                           Copyright, 1882,
                          BY LEE AND SHEPARD.

                        _All Rights Reserved._


                    PROFESSOR J. W. P. JENKS, A.M.,
                         OF BROWN UNIVERSITY,

                          This Second Edition

                       IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED

                            BY THE AUTHOR.


CHAP.                                                               PAGE

  I. BIRD SKINNING AND MOUNTING                                       13

 II. PERCHES                                                          34

III. SKINNING AND MOUNTING MAMMALS                                    37


  V. EGGS AND NESTS                                                   46

 VI. SKELETONS                                                        49

VII. HUNTING AND HYGIENE                                              51

[Illustration: Fig. 1.

  A--Primary Quills.
  B--Secondary Quills.
  C--Spurious Wing.
  D--Wing Coverts.
  E--Tertiary Quills.
  H--Beak--Upper and Lower Mandible.
  I--Culmen of Upper Mandible.
  L--Frons, or Forehead.
  M--Occipital Feathers.
  N--Scapular Feathers.
  P--Upper Tail Coverts.
  R--Shows position of Under Tail Coverts.


The success of this little book during the past six years necessitates
a second edition. As a manual it is not intended to compete with the
larger handbooks on the subject; but the attempt has been made to
furnish the beginner with reliable instruction for the least money
possible. The present edition has been thoroughly revised, and many
additions made.

As was said in the first edition: "I have employed the method given for
a number of years, and with great success, and guarantee success to the
learner who fully carries out the directions embodied herein. I ask the
reader to take himself, in imagination, to my work-shop, and to proceed
as if I were at his elbow, guiding his hand, and explaining to him the
mysteries of this beautiful art. It is only continuous, untiring labor
that accomplishes anything of real merit in this life; and the most
successful ornithologists will be found to be the hardest workers.

"Therefore I would caution the beginner against all impatience and
disappointment at unsuccessful attempts, and urge him to press forward,
continually striving to improve upon past failures, and soon, to his
own astonishment, those things which at first appeared difficult and
awkward, will become comparatively simple and easy. Said an old teacher
to me: 'I can tell you how all these things are _done_, but I cannot
enable you to do them; practice alone will accomplish that.'

"A person with a light and delicate touch will be most successful
in this art; therefore I recommend it to the special attention of
ladies. It is a continual source of pleasure, and promotive to the
love of the great Nature which moves so mysteriously around us. It is
true that we have seen those of coarse and vulgar minds and clumsy
fingers, eminently successful; but what is more revolting to a delicate
appreciation, than to see these bright creatures, so marvellously
constructed by our all-wise Father, tortured into life-like attitudes
by one who acts merely as an automaton, and has no sympathy with his
work otherwise than to gain a livelihood? It is only the refined and
the lover of nature who can thoroughly enjoy this art of reproduction.
A close observer of nature, in two short hours spent in the fields and
woods, will see and learn more than the unobserving and careless person
in as many years.

"A careful observation of the habits and attitudes of the little
songsters when free, will be of great assistance in mounting. A
knowledge of drawing will also be found of service."


                                    BROWN UNIVERSITY, Providence, R. I.

I feel free to say, that its suggestions are eminently practical,
and cannot fail to render such aid to the beginner as he most needs,
and indeed must have from some source, at the outset of his efforts
to acquire the beautiful art of preserving and mounting specimens in
Natural History.

Whatever induces the young or old to turn their attention to the
study of nature, is a gain to society at large, as substituting
truth for fiction, and leading the mind to the contemplation of Him
whose devising wisdom and sagacity are manifested in all His works.
Commending highly your effort, I am yours,

                          With great respect,
                                                        J. W. P. JENKS.




Well, here we are at last. Please turn the key in that door--to keep
all inquisitive priers out--for the process into which I am about to
initiate you is something of a secret, shrouded by the thin veil of

You have come to me to-day to learn something of the art of Taxidermy,
so we will take up, for your first lesson, bird skinning and mounting.
But first let us see what


we shall need to accomplish our end: a pair of good sharp
scissors--surgical scissors, with long handles and short, stout
blades are the best; a knife or scalpel; a pair of spring forceps; a
common knitting-needle; a rabbit's foot, which should be cut off at
the knee, the nails cut out, and thoroughly cleansed and dried,--used
for smoothing and dusting the feathers of birds after mounting; a
fishing-hook, with stout cord attached, for suspending the bodies of
birds that would otherwise be too large to handle conveniently.

On the whole, I would advise you to get at the start a common
dissecting-case, which will contain all of the above, and besides being
convenient, may save you much delay and vexation.

You will need a pair of stout wire cutters; a flat file; a pair of wire
twisters or forceps; plenty of pins; thread and needles,--surgical
or saddlers' needles, as they are called, are the best, as they cut
instead of punching the skin; a brain scoop, made by twisting a bit of
wire into a loop; and a bobbin of thread, which you can procure at any
cotton factory. You should also have on hand an assortment of annealed
wire; glass eyes of various sizes and colors; tack nails; brads; a
piece of putty; sealing and bees-wax; paints; glue; artificial leaves;
mosses; everlasting flowers, etc., for ornamenting perches.

Now we come to the


required for stuffing. Cotton, tow, soft hay and excelsior are the
best, but anything soft will do, except feathers, hair, or in fact any
animal substance, as they act merely as assistants to the taxidermist's
great enemies--the bugs (Tineidæ and Dermestidæ).


is used to preserve the skins. But as everything of that description
is dangerous for young and inexperienced persons to handle, I strongly
recommend the following preparation, and guarantee it to preserve their
first efforts until they become an eye-sore, and are finally thrown
into the fire with much disgust.


  Pulverized Alum.
  Common Salt. Equal parts.
  Label: Salt and Alum.

The best and only _safe_ preparation is:--


  Pulverized Alum. Equal parts.
  Label: POISON!!

The arsenic is to poison, and the alum to act as an astringent,
especially in setting the feathers and fur of skins partially
decayed. As arsenic is an irritant poison, great care should be taken
while using. See that the hands are free from all scratches, cuts,
hang-nails, and broken skin. These may be covered with court-plaster
or collodium. Wash the hands immediately after using, and be careful
to clean well under the nails. With these precautions there is little
or no danger, and it may be used with the greatest impunity. Avoid
all so-called "arsenical soaps," as they are both dangerous and
disagreeable to handle. Use nothing but the above receipts, and you
will succeed far better. Having all these materials and implements at
hand, we are now prepared to go on with our work.


Let us take this Blue Jay for your first attempt. The first thing to
be done is to measure and label it--and, by the way, never neglect
this, for a bird without its label in a collection, is like a ship
at sea without its rudder. LENGTH.--Lay the bird on its back, and
with a pair of dividers (for a large bird a tape line must be used)
measure from the tip of the beak (the head lying flat on the table)
to the tip of the tail. Place the points of the dividers on a rule
that is divided into one-hundredths of an inch, and see how much they
measure. EXTENT.--Place the bird across the ruler, and using reasonable
force, stretch the wings out, and see how far they reach. LENGTH OF
TAIL.--Place one point of the dividers at the end of the "pope's
nose," and open them until the other is at the tip of the longest tail
feather. THE TARSUS.--Place one point of the dividers at the middle
of the sole of the foot, and measure as far as the first joint. THE
BEAK.--Place one point of the dividers at the beginning of the cere,
on the upper mandible, and open them until the other is at the tip
of the beak. In addition to these I advise you to keep the weight of
each specimen, especially in the case of game birds. Set all these
measurements, etc., down on your label as you go along; also color
of eye, contents of stomach (after skinning), and the number of the
bird. This number must correspond to a number in your Ornithological
Ledger--a book in which you should keep an account of each day's
doings; the number of birds killed, the number used, attitudes, etc.,
and whatever else may be of interest to you regarding the day's


These may be removed before skinning, by gently washing with a sponge
and a little water, and afterwards dried by working into the feathers
pulverized plaster of Paris, or potato starch, until the water is all
absorbed, and the feathers become dry and clean; then shake all plaster
or starch from the feathers. Now fill the beak, anus, and shot holes,
if you have not previously done so,[A] with cotton, and we are ready
to begin

[A] See Hunting and Hygiene.


Lay the bird on its back, its head towards your right hand, and run
the handle of your scalpel from the sternum, or breast bone, to the
anus. In so doing you will see there is a little naked place, in many
birds, all the way down. Stroke the feathers away right and left,
leaving this bare, and inserting the point of the scissors at the end
of the sternum, cut down to and _into_ the anus (taking care not to
cut through the thin belly walls; if this is done, fill the place with
cotton, or disembowel); stopping here, as this makes a good strong
termination that will not easily tear. Take the forceps in the right
hand, and seize one edge of the skin. Holding this, press and push
(never pull) the skin from the sides and belly walls. Care must be
taken that the feathers do not get into the cut and thus become soiled.
Keep stroking them away, right and left, and place a little fluff
of cotton, tissue paper, or white pine sawdust, under them. After
skinning away, you will come to a hard substance; this is the thigh.
Skin carefully around this until you come to the under side, when you
can easily insert your scissors and sever it from the body. Push the
leg up out of the skin until you come to the tarsus; clear away all
muscles and tendons, and bring the legs back into its skin again.
Repeat this process on the other side without turning the bird around.
Now skin carefully around the tail; place your forefinger across this,
and pressing it back a little, insert the scissors and sever the stump.
Great care must be taken, however, not to cut the thin and very tender
skin over the tail.

Now turn the bird up, and with its belly pointing toward you, let the
tail fall over the forefinger of your right hand, and with your thumb
nail and fingers, continue to push and work the skin until you come to
the wings; sever these at the shoulder.

Now holding the skin in the left hand, and letting the body fall over
the other side of the fingers, skin down the neck--which will slip
out as easily as a finger from a glove--until you come to the base
of the skull. Skin carefully over this, taking great care to detach
the thin membrane of the ear, with the thumb-nail or scalpel handle,
and proceed until you come to the front part of the eye socket. Cut
the thin membrane that covers the eye, taking care not to lacerate the
ball; then scoop out the eyes. Stick one point of the scissors just
inside one branch of the lower jaw, and make a cut parallel with the
jaw, crushing through the skull just outside the angle of the jaw. Make
a duplicate cut on the other side. Then at the end of these make a
transverse cut through the roof of the mouth.

Connect the posterior ends of the side cuts by cutting across the skull
near its base. You have now cut out a square-shaped piece of bone and
muscle, and by pulling gently on the neck, this will come out, bringing
with it a mass of brain. Remove all brain and muscles of the head. Skin
down the wings as far as they will go, and run the thumb-nail along the
ulna, detaching the quills to the metacarpal bones; remove all muscles
and tendons. Now turn the skin and shovel in arsenic, so that all parts
may be covered; afterwards shake the skin over your box to remove all
loose arsenic.

Some difficulty may be experienced in getting the head back into the
skin. Begin in any way you please until you see the point of the beak
coming through the feathers; seize this with the fingers, and making
a cylinder of your left hand, gently coax the skin backwards, with a
motion very much like that of milking.

Now if you wish to make the skin neat, dress every feather with the
thumb and knitting-needle, and see that they all lie in place. Insert
the knitting-needle through the eye to the top of the skull (under the
skin), adjust the scalp and see that every feather is smooth.

In birds with large heads--such as owls, some woodpeckers and
ducks--over which the neck skin will not easily slip, a slit must
be made along the top of the head and the skull worked through, and
treated as given. When completed, sew up the skin and carefully arrange
the feathers.

When birds are to be mounted with spread wings, as if flying, it is
sometimes desirable to make the incision along the back instead of the
belly, the ventral feathers thus presenting a smoother appearance.


After a skin has been poisoned and dressed, it may be "made"
by inserting into each eye-socket, through the neck, with the
knitting-needle, a little ball of cotton. Then make a little roll of
cotton and insert it into the neck; one end in the cavity of the skull,
the other just appearing at the end of the neck. Some collectors at
this point fasten the wings to the sides, by taking a stitch through
them with needle and thread. Before doing this, be sure that the wings
are in the right place. Take a piece of cotton about one-half the size
of the bird's body, and by turning in the edges make it into an oblong
ball, corresponding to the body just removed. Place this in the skin
with the forceps, and before letting go with the thumb and forefinger
press the wings together on the back, placing the fingers _under_ the
wings. Now draw the edges of the skin together, and making a cylinder
of each hand, gently coax the skin through, until it is of the required
shape. Then place it in a drying-rack, made by bending a piece of zinc
or tin into a half cylinder. Leave it to dry for a few days. Many
collectors never mount birds, but prefer "made skins." These may be
relaxed at any time by wrapping in damp cotton for a few days, and then
set up as directed.


May be determined by cutting through the ribs under the right wing, and
pushing away the intestines. There, bound to the small of the back,
will be seen the _testicles_ of the male--two spheroidal, whitish
bodies, which vary in size according to the season of the year. In the
female will be seen the _ovaries_, a flattened mass of whitish bodies.
These are often so minute as to defy the naked eye, and the inquirer
is obliged to employ the microscope to make the distinction. The sign
recognized by ornithologists all over the world is [male symbol] for
males, and [female symbol] for females; to which is added for young
birds the Latin _juvenis_ or _juv._ or O, meaning young, and _Nupt._
for birds in nuptial or breeding plumage.


In the first place we must prepare the wires that we shall need. There
are three of these--the head wire and two leg wires. The first of these
must be about three or four inches longer than the bird as it lies
stretched out on the table (Fig. 2, A); the second and third two or
three inches longer than the leg (C).

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

These wires must be perfectly straight (in the case of small wires this
may be done by stretching), and have one end sharpened. To do this
make a little groove with the file in the table, lay the end of the
wire in this, and holding it in the left hand, place the forefinger
near the end, and seizing the file in the right hand slowly sharpen,
revolving the wire at the same time with the left. This will seem a
little awkward at first, but you will soon become accustomed to it. Now
take a piece of sand-paper and polish the wires.

Take the longest of the three wires, and bend the unsharpened end
into an oblong ring--in length according to the size of the bird to
be mounted. Or, instead of the ring, you may make a little oval block
of wood, secure the head wire to one end, and bore holes for the leg
wires, which must be firmly fastened. For this Blue Jay we will make it
about one inch in length. Now around this ring or block as a _nucleus_,
or foundation, place the tow and wind it on with thread or string,
continually putting on more tow until you have an egg-shaped form (B).
Wind _around_ and then _lengthways_ to accomplish this. For birds
larger than a canary, the body may be made of hay or excelsior, and
finished with a coating of tow. This is easier to put wires through,
and is more economical. The tow body must be as near the size of the
natural body as possible, if anything a trifle _smaller_, on no account
_larger_. In order to be more accurate, I generally keep the body of
the bird skinned, on my table, and while winding compare the artificial
body with this until it is perfected. In this way a better shaped and
firmer body is produced. Be careful that you do not get the body too
soft (you cannot get it _too hard_), or when you come to set up your
bird it will be too weak to stand on its legs; the wires will have
nothing to clinch and hold to. Now take a bit of cotton, and with the
forceps introduce into the eye-socket through the neck. Repeat on the
other side. Fill up the cavity between the mandibles and the space in
the cranium with finely cut tow. Unless you are making a "skin," this
had better be done directly after poisoning the skin, before turning
the head through the neck. Now as to the neck. Some say, "Fill out
gently with chopped tow." I prefer to wind the wire, A, for a short
distance, with a bit of tow. To make this stick, first rub the wire
with a piece of beeswax. This, I think, makes a better neck, and is
less liable to misshape and contort the skin.

Now push the leg wire through the sole of the foot, and run it along
the leg-bone up through the leg. Great care must be taken not to break
the tarsus or run the wire through the loose skin which envelops the
leg so as to tear it. Repeat on the other leg. Now wind a little splint
of tow around the bone and wire of each leg. This will require some
practice, but once acquired it is very easy. Place the body in the
skin, and with a twisting motion run the wire out through the top of
the head. Gently draw the skin over the body until it is about half
way in. Then run the leg wires through the body, a little front of
the middle and a trifle higher up. When the wire appears through the
other side, seize it with the twisters, and bending it into a hook,
draw it firmly into the body. Repeat on the other side. Now work the
body entirely into the skin, by bending lengthwise the legs, and gently
sliding them on the wires. This done, take a little chopped tow or
cotton and place it under the body, on each side, directly where the
shoulders come. Pin or sew the edges of the skin together. There will
be a long piece of wire projecting from the head. Cut this off, say
quarter of an inch from the head; and making a ring at the unsharpened
end, push it through the stump of the tail into the body. This is to
support the tail (D).

Just now the bird is a decidedly shabby looking affair, and if you are
not careful you will find yourself getting discouraged, and thinking
that you have spoiled the skin. But do not despair, for if you have
carefully followed the directions, all will be right, and you will soon
have the pleasure of seeing a well-mounted specimen. But it will only
be after many failures that you will succeed. Remember "Post nubila
Phœbus,"--and it is just the same with bird stuffing.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

The legs are now straddling wide apart. Bring them together parallel
to each other, and make a sharp bend at the knee, bringing them over
the body in a natural position. Now place the bird on a temporary
perch; bend back the head, and arrange the body in the position you
think most lifelike. Some difficulty may be found in adjusting the
wings, but if preceding processes have been rightly carried out, they
will readily fall, or may be easily worked into place. Stick two pins
through them at right and obtuse angles to hold them in place (1 and
2, Fig. 3). Now your bird will look much better, and with the exception
of rumpled feathers, quite lifelike. To remedy this latter, with the
knitting-needle and thumb go all over the bird with a kind of picking
process; lifting the feathers and letting them gently fall into place.
You cannot work over the bird too long in this way; and the more time
you spend in dressing the feathers, the better will be your specimen
after drying. Now stick two pins along the back, and three along the
breast (G, H, I, J, K). Fasten one end of the thread from the bobbin
to the projecting head wire, and carefully wind the entire bird. Do
this loosely, so as not to disarrange any of the feathers, tightening,
however, wherever they tend to rise or look uneven.

This winding process is considered by some to be the most difficult
part of bird mounting.

The specimen should now be set away for several days, or even weeks,
if the bird be a large one, and allowed to dry; after which it may be
unwound; the eyelids soaked, by inserting little flabs of wet cotton
until they become soft and pliable; the eyes inserted in putty, and
the lids carefully adjusted over them. The protruding head wire and the
pins in the wings are cut off, and your bird mounted on the perch which
you have already prepared for it.


Wings may be spread by running a wire through the primaries (Fig. 1,
A) into the body, and placing another near the end of the wing as a
support while drying. The tail may be spread by running a wire through
the quills, near the "pope's nose" (Fig. 2, E), or by placing a bit of
split wood across the tip and tying the open end firmly (Fig. 3, L).
Crests may be raised or spread by inserting a small fluff, or ball of
cotton under the feathers, using a pin to hold them in place.

When glass eyes are not at hand, black beads may be used. Or white
glass beads may have a pupil (black) surrounded by the iris (yellow or
brown) painted with oil colors on the back. If neither of the above
can be procured, a half globe of the right size may be cut out of cork
or wood and a pin run through its centre. The outside is then to
be covered with sealing-wax or varnish until quite smooth, and then
painted the required color.

The feet, tarsi, cere and loose skin about the necks of some birds
often fade or become dull. These should be carefully painted, imitating
the original colors as closely as possible.

You have now completed your first lesson, and I advise that you become
perfectly familiar with skinning and mounting birds, before you take
up that of animals. For you cannot become too familiar and too much at
home in this department; and it will come in play fifty times, where
the other does once.



A very pretty perch can be made by arranging wires in the shape of a
twig or branch, having one end firmly fastened in a block of wood.
Wind the wires to the proper size with tow, and after giving the whole
a coating of thin glue, sprinkle over it smalts and dry moss, rubbed
fine in the hands; when this is dry, you can glue on artificial leaves,
flowers, and grasses as your taste prompts. Another good perch for
small birds is a stump made of pasteboard, with a small opening on
one side. Cover this with the same materials as above. It should be
about an inch and a half in height. Another perch is made by reducing
pasteboard to a pulp, and moulding it around a twig or wire form. Boil
the pasteboard to a pulp in a little water. Then force through a coarse
sieve, and mix with thin glue. Mould this around the form, give it
a coat of brown paint, and decorate to taste. To give it a rougher
appearance, a coarse comb may be drawn over it before painting.

A very effective way of mounting hummingbirds is to form a tree with
small palm leaves, or others, attached to a moss-covered stalk, having
moss and grasses at its base. Let the hummers have the wings and tails
spread, and crests and breast-tufts raised in the most effective
manner. They are then attached to single wires starting from the limbs
of the tree, with back or breast showing according to the part which is
to be displayed.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

Another good way, especially where the collection is large, is a single
wire bent oval, and both ends fastened to a block standard. To the
outside and inside are fixed short perches of wire upon which the birds
are mounted.

Birds mounted for ornamental purposes should be placed under glass,
to protect them from dust and insects. A very neat homemade case is
constructed of window-glass, cut of the proper dimensions; the sides,
top and bottom being fastened together by strips of stout paper glued
over their edges. Or the glass may be set in a light framework of wood,
which may be painted, stained, or ebonized. To ebonize, you require
extract of logwood, a supply of rusty nails, or scraps of iron, and
some vinegar. Place the iron in the vinegar a week or more before using
the latter. When you are ready to begin, give the wood several coatings
with a strong solution of the logwood, and when this is nearly dry,
brush over with the vinegar. A fine dull black color will be produced.

All ducks, wading and ground birds should be mounted on a piece of
board; and long-legged birds should have one foot a little in advance
of the other, as if in the act of stepping. The attitudes of birds,
seen in your rambles, may be put to use in your mounted specimens, and
your own taste will suggest a variety of perches and ways for mounting.



When the beginner has once become proficient in skinning and mounting
birds, he will have but little difficulty in "setting up" mammals. The
same general principles are to be observed with each.


Cut with the scalpel or stout scissors from the breast-bone down to the
anus: sever the legs close to body, and treat both legs and head as
given for birds.

Some difficulty may be experienced in skinning the tail. This is
readily done if it be a hairy tail, by pushing the skin over the first
two or three vertebræ, then seizing the stump with the left hand, pull,
at the same time holding the skin back with the right hand. The bone
will generally slip out as easily as a sword from its sheath; but if
it will not come, tie a knot of strong cord over the end, and fasten to
some support firmly. Then holding on with the right hand, as before,
you can easily strip the tail to the tip.


Instead of three, you must now have five wires. Sharpen and sand-paper,
as the former, and make a nucleus for body. The shape of an animal,
with the neck severed from the skull, is like the italic _f_ laid on
its side ([sideways italic f]). This is made by winding the tow on
the nucleus, the same as with birds, and drawing the string tight at
different points to give it the required form.

Run the leg wires up through the leg, and wind with tow to the proper
size. Push the wires through the body, and fasten them. If any special
position is required for the tail, a wire may be run through the
body into it; otherwise it may merely be pinned to the stand until
dry. Having completed the wiring and stuffing, sew up the skin;
bring the legs over the body, parallel to each other, and make the
required bend at the knees. Now mount your specimen in such a manner
as you may choose; put in the eyes and set away to dry. There will be
deficiencies, here and there, where the body does not quite fill out
the skin. These must be supplied with chopped tow, before sewing up the

You can get the size and curves of the body only by practice; but these
few words on the subject may be found of assistance to you; remembering
that all quadrupeds curve greatly from the top of the hips to the tail.

If the animal is to be mounted with the mouth open, place pieces of
wood between the jaws, and stuff out the lips in a natural manner until
dry,--when the props may be removed. A tongue is made of cork or light
wood, with two wires secured to the back, by which it is afterwards
fastened to the skull. Cover your artificial tongue with wax, and place
in position. The inside of the mouth and the gums must also be neatly
covered with wax. The whole now requires to be painted with the color
most resembling nature, and when that is dry brushed over with a
mixture of Damar varnish and oil of turpentine.

The best stand on which to mount mammals is an oval block of wood
varying in thickness according to the size of the specimen. The
name should be painted in black letters on the side of the block,
and the whole varnished. Rocks, stump effects, etc., are made by
bending paste-board to the required shape, fastening to a standard,
and stiffening with glue. Sand, smalts, etc., may then be dusted on.
If there are several mammals mounted in the same case, a watercolor
background is very effective.




These may be opened in two ways, according to the position in which
the specimen is to be mounted. If the fish is to rest on its belly, an
incision should be made the entire length of the ventral surface, from
the gills to the end of the tail. If the fish is to rest on its side,
the incision should be made on the side. Before proceeding farther
cover the entire fish with tissue paper which will adhere with the use
of thin gum.

Now, with the scalpel, handle carefully, detach the soft parts from
the skin, cutting rib-bones with the scissors, until the back is
reached. Cut through the fin-bones, and the body will be found quite
loose. Detach the tail end, and remove all muscle from the remaining
vertebræ. Cut through the body at the base of the skull; clean brain
cavity thoroughly, and remove eyes. This latter operation may require
some assistance from the scissors, on the outside. All muscles about
the eyes and skull should be carefully removed. When your skin is
ready, poison it well with the arsenic-alum powder.


The artificial body for your specimen may be made of the same materials
as used in stuffing birds and mammals, of clay, plaster of Paris, or
the skin may be simply dried. A tow body may be made and covered with
a layer of clay, to give it a smooth, even surface. You may form a
mould by pressing your specimen into damp clay, allowing this to dry
and then coating the mould with colored varnish. When this is dry,
pour plaster of Paris of the consistency of cream into the mould and
let dry. The other side of the fish must be treated in the same way,
and the two halves united by the solution of plaster. When your body
is ready, place it in the skin and sew up. Place the specimen in
the required position and fasten to a board by stout pins driven on
each side. Spread the fins, tail, etc., by means of the wooden clamps
already mentioned (Fig. 3, L), and set the specimen away to dry. A very
convenient way of treating many specimens, especially hard-scaled fish,
is to bring the sides of the opening together by a few stitches, and
glue a strip of cloth the entire length of the incision. Before this
is done, however, the end of the tail beyond the anus must be stuffed
out with cotton. Take a few stitches through the gills to hold them
down while drying. Now place a tin tunnel in the fish's mouth, and
fill out the skin with fine sand. Place a wad of cotton in the throat,
to keep the sand in; put the specimen in the desired position; remove
the tissue paper with sponge and water; and set your specimen away for
several weeks, to dry. When you are ready to mount your specimen, make
several small holes in it, to let the sand out, and when quite empty
fasten to a board; mount in a case, or in any way which your taste
may suggest. It is sometimes desirable to retain only one side of a
specimen. That side should be covered with tissue paper, as directed,
and the other side, soft parts, bone, etc., cut away. Poison, place
the skin on a board, and pin or nail the edges fast, that it may not
contract while drying. Mount specimens with glass eyes, and brush over
with a coat of varnish. If spots, etc., fade, they must be touched up
with paint.


Snakes, frogs, etc. may be opened along the belly, or they may be
skinned through the mouth. If the latter, open the mouth as wide
as possible, and with the scissors cut through the body and first
vertebra. Seize the stump with a pair of forceps, and carefully push
the muscles from the skin, at the same time drawing the body out of the
mouth. This, of course, inverts the skin. Poison thoroughly.


The best way to treat frogs is to fill out the skin with sand, and
when dry let the sand out of it through pin holes. Put in eyes and
varnish. Snakes may be stuffed out with sand, or a body may be made.
For the latter, take a piece of annealed wire, rather shorter than the
specimen, wind with tow to the required size, and place in the skin.
The wire enables you to give the specimen any position desired; while,
if sand is used, the specimen must either lie coiled up or straight.
If the mouth is to be kept open, a tongue may be made of fine wire and
painted red.



A full set of eggs is always desirable, if they can be obtained, but,
as the old saying is, "A half-loaf is better than no bread." The
contents may be removed by making a hole in the side of the egg with an
egg drill, and sucking out the white and yolk with a glass blow-pipe,
or by means of a little syringe with a bit of rubber tubing attached to
the nozzle. If the young have already formed, a squarish-shaped hole
may be made on one side, and the contents hooked out. The hole may be
afterwards closed by pasting a bit of film or tissue paper over it.
While drilling through the shell, the egg should be held over water, so
that if dropped it may not be broken; or an arrangement made of wire
resembling a pair of scissors, the ends terminating in a ring or oval,
may be used. The ends are then covered with netting; thus forming a
soft, yet strong, resting-place for the egg. (Fig. 5.)

[Illustration: FIG. 5.]

The name of the specimen, together with size, date of collection and
collector's name, should be written on the shell of each egg, and the
entire hatch returned to the nest. It would be a good plan to give
the eggs the same number as the parent bird, if this is obtained,
together with a number of their own. You can then note them in your
ornithological ledger, or, if you choose, you can keep an oölogical
ledger separate.

Nests should be preserved, if possible, attached to the branch on which
they were found. This stem should be from three to six inches long, and
be attached by its base to a block standard. Or, nests may be placed
in little glass trays, made of pieces of window-glass held together by
strips of paper glued over the edges. If the nest is not cared for, or
cannot be obtained, the eggs may be placed on cotton, in little boxes,
and arranged in the cabinet to suit the collector. A very good and
safe way of transporting eggs, is to place them between two layers of
cotton in the nest, which must be packed closely, but without pressure.


  Gum Arabic, 4 ounces.
  Corrosive Sublimate, 2 grains.
  White Sugar Candy, 2 ounces.

Melt, and label "Gum Paste, for closing the holes drilled in eggs,"



During the busy collecting season, _rough_ skeletons may be made by
removing skin, viscera, and as much muscle as possible, covering the
body with the arsenic-alum powder, and allowing it to dry, when the
specimen may be wrapped in paper and laid away for future use. To
prepare skeletons for the cabinet, remove as much of the fleshy parts
as possible, and boil the bones until the remaining flesh is softened
and can be easily removed. Then boil in water in which a piece of
lime as large as a hen's egg has been dissolved. Remove, dry, and if
necessary wire.

Another way recommended is to remove all the soft parts, and scald the
hard parts in boiling water containing a few drops of hydrochloric
acid. Leave the bones in this solution for ten minutes, wash, and boil
in plain water until all the muscle, etc., is softened. Clean this
away with a brush or by a stream of water. Boil in a strong solution
of soda, wash with soap and water, and when perfectly clean, dehydrate
with boiling alcohol (Junker). Skeletons should be mounted on wires
fixed in a wooden standard painted black.



To be a good collector, it is necessary to be something more than a
good marksman. You must know at what time of day to go out to be most
successful, and the localities where you are most likely to find the
birds that you are looking for. In the field, you must be all eyes and
ears. No thicket should be too dense, no tree too tall for your quick
eye to penetrate its foliage; no chirp or rustle too small or weak for
your active ear to detect. In short, to be a good collector you must
understand wood-craft. Sometimes a bird is seen just disappearing into
the underbrush. A very good call, which seldom fails in bringing the
bird from its retreat, is made by placing the back of the hand to the
lips and sucking. By practice, this may be made to resemble the cries
of a wounded bird. Early morning and just before sun-down have been
found to be the best hours for collecting, although something may be
done at any time of day. During the noon hours, birds generally remain
hidden in the cool depths of the thickets and woods. Birds are seldom
found in the deep forest; but, at the hours mentioned, trees and bushes
skirting roads, fields and meadows, will be found teeming with life.


The choice of a gun for collecting purposes is, of course, optional
with the reader; but a good twelve or fourteen bore breech-loading shot
gun will give better satisfaction than any other, and will be worth the
price of the gun in time-saving, when in the field. The pistol-guns,
introduced within the last few years, often prove of great service in
collecting small specimens.


Several sizes of shot should be taken into the field, ranging from
dust or mustard seed, as it is sometimes called, to No. 6 or 8. For
all small birds up to the size of a robin, dust shot should be
used; and I have even killed grouse and plover with it, although,
it must be confessed, at a very short range. The larger sizes are
used for hawks and all large birds. With several sizes of shot, you
can vary your loads according to the bird that you are pursuing.
Here the breech-loading gun is vastly superior to the old-fashioned
muzzle-loader, for it is but the work of an instant to change from
large to small, or _vice versa_. Be careful not to load too heavily.
Most of your birds will be killed within a few yards, and it is
astonishing how little powder and how few shot will produce the desired


The most convenient and safe way to carry birds in the field, is in a
common fish-creel; or in a basket which I devised and have used for
several years. It is simply a long, deep and narrow basket, carried
on the back by straps which cross in front of the chest. At the back
of the basket, outside, is a netting for carrying paper, etc.; and on
either side a pocket or pouch of cloth for cotton, etc. For all birds
under the size of a crow, this basket is very convenient.

Before going out provide yourself with a number of sheets of stiff
paper. As soon as a bird is shot, fill the mouth, anus, and shot-holes
with cotton, and drop the bird head foremost, with bill pointing
downwards, into a cornucopia of the paper, just the size of the bird's
body, and fold the edges over the tail, taking care not to rumple or
break the tail feathers. When birds are shot, they do not always die at
once; but they may be put out of misery by placing the thumb under one
wing, and the forefinger under the other, and squeezing. After a second
or so, the bird will give a gasp and die.

This cannot be done in the case of large birds. To kill these, insert a
thin knife-blade between the skull and last vertebra, cutting through
the spinal cord; or break the back by pressing upon it with the knee.


Skins may be either packed in boxes, between layers of cotton, or
they may be pushed head first into cylinders of stiff paper having a
diameter equal to the largest part of the skin.


A serviceable and comfortable hunting-suit may be made from any good
strong stuff, such as corduroy, etc. The pants should be made rather
loose, and have the seams firmly sewed. The coat should be a mere
succession of pockets, and of course very loose. A soft, broad-brimmed
felt hat, and a pair of broad-soled, low-heeled shoes, for ordinary
wear; or, for shooting where the country is wet and boggy, a pair
of high top boots may be substituted. This will be found to be the
easiest, most durable and least expensive outfit that can be made.


Do not start out in the morning without having first partaken of a
lunch, however slight, as a preventive, if nothing more; for tramping
on an empty stomach will almost always upset one for the whole day.


As soon as you return from your day's tramp, a good "wash-up" and a
change of clothes will rest you far more than sitting down. Especially,
if your feet are wet, lose no time in changing socks, and all other
garments that are in the least damp. By doing this, you will save
yourself many a severe cold, and perhaps a fit of sickness.


In case of poisoning with the arsenic, while preparing your skins,
the advice of Dr. Coues, in his "Field Ornithology," covers the whole
treatment. "Avoid," he says, "all mechanical irritation of the inflamed
parts, touch the parts that have ulcerated with a stick of lunar
caustic; take a dose of salts; use syrup of iodide of iron, or tincture
of chloride of iron, say thirty drops in a wine-glass of water, thrice
a day; rest at first; exercise gradually as soon as you can bear it;
and skin no birds till you have completely recovered." If these do not
cure, medical advice should be procured.

                               HINTS ON

                       WRITING AND SPEECH-MAKING


                      THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON,

                               AUTHOR OF

                        EXPLORERS," "MALBONE,"


                           Price, 50 cents.

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                       "THE BOOK IS ADMIRABLE."

                           LIGHT GYMNASTICS.

                           By LUCY B. HUNT,

Instructor in Gymnastics at Smith (Female) College, Northampton, Mass.

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                          FOR YOUNG CHILDREN.

                           By HORACE GRANT,
              Author of "Arithmetic for Young Children."

                       Edited by Willard Small.

                        Cloth. Price, 50 cents.

For the purpose of producing instruction and amusement for young
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In exercises such as those which compose this book, the most favorable
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petty events may gradually be extended to the most important subjects.


Being a series of Exercises exemplifying the manner in which Arithmetic
                  should be taught to young children

                           By HORACE GRANT.
              American Edition, Edited by WILLARD SMALL.
                            Price 50 cents.

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                        THE DEBATER'S HANDBOOK.

  including a Debate on the Character of Julius Cæsar, adapted
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                    A FEW THOUGHTS FOR A YOUNG MAN.
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                       Handbook of Punctuation.

             Punctuation and Other Typographical Matters.

  _For the use of Printers, Authors, Teachers, and Scholars.
    By MARSHALL T. BIGELOW, Corrector at the University Press,
    Cambridge. Small 4to. CLOTH, 50 CENTS._

                              _Lenox Library, New York_, Aug. 19, 1881.

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                           Faithfully yours,
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  =Forgotten Meanings=; or an Hour with a Dictionary. By ALFRED
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  =Educational Psychology.= A Treatise for Parents and Educators.
    By LOUISE PARSONS HOPKINS, Supervisor in Boston Public Schools.

  =The Nation in a Nutshell.= A Rapid Outline of American History.

  =English Synonymes Discriminated.= By RICHARD WHATELY, D.D.,
    Archbishop of Dublin. A new edition.

  =Hints on Writing and Speech-making.= By THOMAS WENTWORTH

  =Arithmetic for Young Children.= Being a series of Exercises
    exemplifying the manner in which Arithmetic should be taught to
    young children. By HORACE GRANT. American Edition. Edited by

  =Bridge Disasters in America.= The Cause and the Remedy. By Prof.

  =A Few Thoughts for a Young Man.= By HORACE MANN. A new Edition.

  =Handbook of Debate.= The Character of Julius Cæsar. Adapted from
    J. SHERIDAN KNOWLES. Arranged for Practice in Speaking, for
    Debating Clubs, and Classes in Public and Private Schools.

_Sold by all booksellers, and sent by mail, postpaid, on receipt of

                   LEE AND SHEPARD Publishers Boston


                       FIVE-MINUTE DECLAMATIONS
                        FOR SCHOOL AND COLLEGE
                           CLOTH, 50 CENTS.

                        FIVE-MINUTE RECITATIONS
                        FOR SCHOOL AND COLLEGE
                           CLOTH, 50 CENTS.

                         FIVE-MINUTE READINGS
                           CLOTH, 50 CENTS.

Pupils in public schools on declamation days are limited to five
minutes each for the delivery of "pieces." There is a great complaint
of the scarcity of material for such a purpose, while the injudicious
pruning of eloquent extracts has often marred the desired effects.
To obviate these difficulties, these books have been prepared by a
competent teacher.

                         ELOCUTION SIMPLIFIED
               With an Introduction by George M. Baker.
                           CLOTH, 50 CENTS.

"The Manual is divided into four parts. Part First describes a series
of gymnastics to give strength and elasticity to the muscles used
in speaking. Part Second is a system of vocal exercises for daily
practice. Part Third, the application of the vocal exercises to the
reading of short extracts, showing the effect when thus applied. Part
Fourth is a chapter giving general hints on elocution, and showing how
easily defects in speech may be cured.

"With or without an instructor, this Manual is just what the student is
in great need of, and he can supply that need by a study of 'Elocution
Simplified.'"--_The Dartmouth, Hanover, N.H._

_Sold by all Booksellers, or sent by mail, prepaid, on receipt of

_LEE AND SHEPARD, Publishers_      _Boston._

Transcriber's note:

The following alterations have been made:

  p.44: Erroneous full-stop removed. Original read: Snakes, frogs,
    etc.. may be opened
  p.[57]: Quotation mark added. Original read: "Oldport Days," Army
    Life in a Black Regiment,"
  p.[57]: Corrected word 'similar'. Original read: Now that
    similiar suggestions
  p.[57]: Corrected comma to full-stop. Original read: two together
    in a small volume, The last-named paper

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