City Walks — Animals

They won't bite

Cow on wheels

For whatever reason there are a lot of people depicted in two dimensional murals I see on my walks, but when it comes to 3D sculpture, animals are much more common. Maybe it means people think murals are more monumental in scale, need to be more serious, and therefore should feature people, while smaller scale yard sculptures are less serious and there for free to be cute, making animals a better subject? Or maybe sculpture contains echoes of a more sinister motive, as can be seen in the last two photos?

Animal Sculpture

Here are several examples of more light hearted animal sculptures.

Someone decided, for example, that this birdbath wasn’t enough by itself, it needed two fawns of wildly different sizes perched on top.

Fawns in a birdbath

Here are two pigs. They have been splashed by mud from a rainstorm, creating an authentic look.

Pig sculptures

And here is a meerkat cast in concrete.

Meerkat sculpture

Lots And Lots of Animals

Sometimes people get really, really into collecting animals, such as this fence covered with decorative lizards.

Fence with decorative lizards

Or, there is this house which has a wall covered with two dozen ceramic cats.

Ceramic cats on a wall
Closeup of ceramic cats on a wall

Not Sculptures

But a couple of times there are animals on display which don’t really count as sculpture. Outside one home is this taxidermied deer. Why it’s exposed to the elements, I’m not sure, and I don’t know why it has a garland of flowers around its neck.

Taxidermied deer with flower garland

But deer these days are common, even in my city, and it’s not such a big shock to see a dead one. Road kill is here too, so a taxidermied deer isn’t that surprising. However, the following is something that I still find striking everytime I see it.

At first when you walk by this house, you see shadowy figures in the first floor window. And then when you get closer, you see them.

Taxidermied Polar Bears
Taxidermied Polar Bears

Polar bears. Taxidermied polar bears, frozen forever in a display in someone’s front window.

I checked whether this kind of thing is even legal, and it looks like there is a grandfather clause for specimens which are something like 50+ years old. The house is certainly old enough, and it almost appears as though this room was built specifically to display them.

Which still leaves the question — why? I realize back in the day big game hunting was a big deal for Teddy Roosevelt types, and it still is for monsters like the Trumps. And for all I know, these bears convey with the house and there is no easy way to find a museum that will take them or sell them legally. I might even accept that keeping them is better than destroying them, but still, I just don’t know. Did they haunt the man who shot them? Do they haunt the house still?



  1. not sure i’d be comfortable with 2 big dead bears in my house….

    but then taxidermy on the whole just wierds me out a little..for reasons i cannot logically explain…just does

    • I think it’s the killing for a trophy in particular that weirds me out. Stuffing roadkill, if you can find something undamaged, doesn’t seem quite so bad to me.

      • my old dog dusty litterally scared a deer to death once… we donated it to the local nature museum for taxidermy purposes

        it just wierds me out….i dont have anything against it exactly

        its kinda like heights scare me….they just do

  2. I like the meerkat, sort of an odd choice though.Taxidermy is weird. And for some reason is enjoying a bit of a revival. There are quite a few artists on Etsy that sell strange dolls with animal heads. My daughter got one for Christmas from her best friend. It’s the third one on this TikTok, the muskrat in a purple dress. She loves it, I do not.


    • A muskrat, you say?

      • The Captain and Tennille are better than the horrific dolls.

  3. Nice stuff, pun slightly intended.  Leaving that deer outside seems really weird.  My Alaska cousins have all sorts of hunting trophy heads on their walls and it freaks my daughters out.  Of course, they had to sleep in the room with all the heads.  Surprised they could sleep at all.


    • Before I knew her my wife rented an apartment from a big game hunter who had decorated the place with animal heads. She made him empty them out before she moved in.

  4. When I first moved to Seattle, my best friend came to visit and we bar hopped all day long as one does. We were pretty hammered as we stumbled into a tiny hole in the wall store on some side street. It sold all kinds of oddities and a whole bunch of  taxidermied animals. The only animal I remember is a nest of ducklings. They looked so alive it was eerie. I’ve never been able to recreate that route or find that store again. Years later she sent me a delightful book Much Ado About Stuffing

    • I can’t decide if I would love or hate this book, lol.

      • Hahaha it was definitely a more welcomed gift than the one your daughter received (at least for me). Does one bury taxidermied animals or throw them in the trash/compost?

        • I don’t know, bury?

  5. When I worked on Sweet Home Alabama – the bar we used for a lot of scenes had a lot of taxidermied woodland creatures. The craziest one – and I am not shitting you – was the ass of a deer – with the tail up mind you – with teeth in it – like someone had put the skeletal jaw of some other creature in the deer’s ass. It was absolutely disgusting. And, the bar was also a restaurant – so people ate dinner or breakfast around it. I used to have a polaroid of it. I had to take it – otherwise I would have always thought that it was part of some kind of hillbilly nightmare and not a real thing that existed in a bar in rural Georgia.

    • There was one bar I used to go to many years ago where there were no signs on the men and women’s rooms, but over the doors they had the rears of male and female deer with their tails up.

    • Oh I’ve seen those taxidermied deer butts for sale before. Usually with some eyeballs added and teeth in the butts and advertised as yetis or bigfoot heads.

      But yeah, definitely weird.

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