Any curator that has worked with taxidermied natural history specimens has had the trinity of questions thrown at them from curious members of the public (mostly from the populace under the age of ten):
1.) Is it real?
2.) Is it dead?
3.) Can I touch it?
David Craven has an excellent blog post on the subject, so I won’t reattempt an explanation here.
At some point I will be going on a taxidermy course and will experience firsthand how to create one of these pieces. Maybe it might even answer some questions I have.