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This fox squirrel is my second mount, the first was a gray squirrel.

I’m 39 years young. Obviously new to taxidermy but I intend to see it through. My goal is to be the best I can, I want to do it first for my own pleasure and second as a part time business. Since there are no taxidermy schools in my area I am learning on my own by videos and books.
Don Zinn
Fox Squirrel Taxidermy by
           Don Zinn
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Please enter Don Zinn's squirrel mount in the subject line of your critique.
I really like the theme and pose of this squirrel. From a commercial side of things, I know one can not put a lot of time into all the fine details and still make some money. Most people just can't spend the same amount of money on a squirrel mount as a deer head, but from a time basis, a taxidermist can easily put the same amount of time into the project.

A couple things that I noticed on your squirrel, the RH ear (being scratched) appears to be coming off the side of the head. Remember that the ear canal doesn't move.

The base of the tail appears to have a lot of skin, this can be taxied forward and tucked in relief cuts for the legs. Watch the alignment of hair patterns on the legs, etc., it appears the LH front leg may be off a little.

Shrinkage is always a problem for the toes, nose, lips, etc. Remember to thin those areas well and I use critter clay to replace the flesh removed, this doesn't shrink up as much as reg. clay. I also inject the toes (like birds) with either caulk or fantastic-cast.

Lastly, with the abundance of these little critters, I'll keep a frozen one for reference as well as the carcass. As all critters, no 2 are the same and you can modify the form if you hang on to the carcass. Keep up the good work and, most of all, have FUN!

Doug Dexter
Glacial Lakes Taxidermy
Hi Don,
Glen ask me to critique your squirrel for you as he knows that they are one of my favorite mounts to do and I have won numerous competitions with them including two state championships, small mammal division.  I have also judged a small mammal competition, so I have been on both ends.  Please use this critique and others as a way to improve your work, as we all started out the same and improved with the help of others, including myself.

Now, I have never critiqued pictures before, as they can be very misleading and not show the actual quality of the mount, but I will give it a try.

For your second mount it is really good.  I really like your mount idea as you want it to get your attention right away.  It fits well on your base. 

By looking at good reference material, which every taxidermist must have to turn out a quality mount, you can start to see some anatomy mistakes, which all can be fixed. 

You have your squirrel in a scratching position with the leg up by the right side of the head.  The right ear is bent downwards.  A squirrel normally can't bend his ear in a downwards position on its own. ( of course, I have a picture with one that is partially bent downwards, so there is always the exception) If the leg is scratching the ear, it must be touching it to bend it.  Otherwise the ears appear to be set in the correct position on the head. 

The right foot pad also appears to be black or gray, but on a live squirrel it is a light fleshy tone on the foot pads itself, which there are four on each foot, which help it cling while climbing up a tree.  The rest of the sole of the foot is a darker fleshy tone.  The right rear foot junction, where the ankle is located, appears to be to thick.  The ankle junction is actually very narrow at that point. This is the same on the front feet. (Remember, the pick's can be misleading)

The eyes appear to be set too wide and too high on the head.  When I look at the right eye in pick #1 it seems off.  On pick #2, the left eye looks good.

The nose appears to be to large in pick #1 and flat in the front.   Again ,here it appears that you colored the nose area a grayish tone.  It should be a fleshy tone color.  The skin below the nose going to the upper lip appears to be too wide.   It should be narrow.   The whiskers are going in a upward direction, but should be fanning out more.

When I look at the tail junction , it appears too thick and the tail itself, where it is low appears to jut upwards quickly instead of a smooth transition from the body.  Your tail is fluffier than many I see.  I can really get my fox squirrels to fluff out by just using my air blower everyday on it while drying.  Watch the hair patterns in the tail when aligning the skin.  If the skin is not aligned in the tail correctly, you will see lines in it.

Overall it is a very good mount for your second mount.  My second squirrel did not look this good.  I had to look hard to see mistakes.  If I could actually see the mounted squirrel itself, I could give you a more accurate critique.  I know someone can always find a fault with something.  The pictures can also be misleading.  Since you don't have any schools by you, I would suggest that you join your state association which would benefit you greatly and you would have a ton of fun.  Also gather as much reference material as possible out of magazines or buy them.  You can keep "spare " parts in your freezer for reference. (of course my wife hates opening up the freezer at times wondering what she will see next)   These are some of the things that will help you get better.  Keep up the good work and feel free to
e-mail me if you have any questions.  You are heading in the right direction.

Len Gums