Small Sculpture in Texas   

Stuff-a-dillo

Some time ago Austin artist Mike Priest found an intact armadillo carcass. He wanted to keep the animal "for a reference," he said. And he called around to a variety of local taxidermists. Every one of them wanted $85 to stuff a dillo. Mike didn't have that kind of cash lying around, so he decided to do it himself the next day.

He put the body in the garage overnight and put up a make-shift fence to keep the dogs out. "It was smelly," he said, "from being dead."

Mike woke up the next day and got to his dillo early. "I wanted to do it before breakfast," he told me, "so it would not kill me." Mike didn't expect much of a problem and set about dismantling the mammal with his trusty X-acto knife.

Among other things, Mike discovered that the armadillo's claws were merely extensions of his foot bones, and his backbone was fused to the shell in three places. It took two and a half hours of exhausting effort, and Mike never did get all the meat out of all those crannies.

"I sure did get sick in the process," he said. And eventually he had to hang the remains of the carcass out in the sun, he said, "before the smell ran out."

armadilla
1974

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