Freeze Drying Taxidermy

Freeze Drying Taxidermy

Freeze drying for taxidermy is a relatively new practice compared with freeze drying for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and food industries. It is more common in the USA for preserving game and deceased pets, but there are some freeze drying taxidermy practitioners in New Zealand.

Taxidermy Freeze Drying Process

Freeze drying uses a process called lyophilization to gently freeze the specimen, and extract the water in the form of vapour using a high-pressure vacuum. The vapour collects on a condenser, turns back into ice and is removed. A gradual temperature rise extracts all remaining 'bound' moisture from the specimen.

Advantages of Freeze Dry Taxidermy

With freeze drying, whole specimens can be preserved permanently without damaging their basic structure, so there is far less chance of shrinkage or tissue distortion, and colour, size and features can be retained for an extremely life-like result.

Conventional taxidermy methods involve removing the skin, preserving it with chemicals and replacing it on an artificial body, then posing the specimen. Skin can also shrink and there will be stitches, all of which can tend to make it look artificial. With freeze drying, the specimen is frozen whole after posing making it appear more natural and realistic.
Some specimens are more suitable for freeze drying taxidermy than others, particularly small mammals, birds and fish.


Game heads can be preserved, but antlers would need to be removed. Animals and fish with large amounts of body fats and oils (e.g. salmon, duck, amphibians etc) need treating slightly differently in the freeze dry process to achieve lower freezing temperatures.

Specimens Suitable For Freeze Drying Taxidermy

  • Birds
  • Fish
  • Small dogs
  • Cats
  • Small reptiles
  • Small mammals (squirrels, mice, rabbits etc)
  • Game heads e.g. thar, chamois, boar and deer (antlers removed)

Freeze Dried Taxidermy Applications

  • Hunting and fishing trophies
  • Museums and collectors
  • Preserving deceased pets

Cuddon designs and manufactures freeze drying machines for sale worldwide.

View other freeze drying applications.

Contact us with your freeze drying equipment enquiries.

Freeze drying taxidermy for hunting trophies and preserving deceased pets.