Dear Babe,

Why do people like taxidermy? I think it’s disgusting to have the dead body of a once living animal in your house for decoration.

The Dead aren’t Decoration

Dear TDaD,

I agree, it is disgusting to have a dead thing hanging in your home. That’s one of the reasons I’m drawn to taxidermy. Many of the unavoidable parts of life are disgusting.

For instance, the primary conundrum of being a caring human is that we have to kill to survive. Life lives off other life and there is no way around it. Even plants are life, those who find it somehow morally better to eat plants are being kingdomist (as in kingdom, phylum…).

Having taxidermy in my house helps me never forget that I am a part of the basic cruelty of life.

People who believe themselves above this basic cruelty (by only eating plants or whatever) are not only lying to themselves, but, I believe, in danger of being more carelessly cruel people.


Nagging questions holding you back? Babe Scanlon’s got your answer. A SF native, she’s been figuring this place out far longer than she cares to admit, and now she’s ready to share. Email her at and let the veil of confusion lift. Please do keep in mind: Babe Scanlon is not presenting herself as an expert in anything that means you can sue her or the Appeal if you take her advice and your life tanks. Her recommendations are just that: recommendations.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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  • Eve Batey

    OK, this is the sort of crazy thing I should know better than to ask in public, but what about taxidermy-ing one’s pets? I must admit that this has crossed my mind. And then I feel horrible! Is this how one becomes one of those crazy people who sleeps beside their spouse’s preserved corpse?

  • rgm

    If I’m ever feeling a bit disconnected from the cruelty of life, I head on over to the SFGate comment threads.

  • spamspamspam

    This reminds me of a diner I stopped into on my travels in the south east. A friend who I was traveling with took great notice of the taxidermy work in the display cases setup around the waiting area. Many local small wild life frozen in poses with teeth snarling and ready to attack. Many were set to poses of fighting the animal across from it. Well my friend complimented the work to the man behind the counter who smiled and said thank you. He proudly talked about his work then at the end of the talk and now ready to be seated by the hostess he let us know he was the cook and to have a good meal.

    This all begged a question I needed to ask the waitress. “So what do you have in way of a salad or pasta dish”. Not that there is anything wrong with squirrel.