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Taxidermist stuffs rodents, poses them to look like people

Brooklyn Daily
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Say hello to the real-life Stuart Little.

An expert animal-stuffer is sharing her techniques in an mouse taxidermy class, where students can learn how to preserve little rodents as well as dress them up like tiny people.

Instructor Divya Anantharaman will not only provide the dead mice and the preserving chemicals, but also a wealth of tiny outfits and props to make the furry subjects act-out human exploits.

“[Students] are welcome to bring stuff, but I have a bunch of stuff from the archives — tiny clothes, books, glasses, tiny flowers, little dining sets,” said Anantharaman, whose class will take place at Williamsburg’s Acme Studio.

Of course, the question isn’t where she gets the doll house items — it’s where she gets those adorable art-objects-to-be.

“I get them from the snake food-service industry,” said the animal-handler. “They call me when they are about to expire or not shippable.”

While the class will likely attract curious adults who have a morbid sense of fun, Anantharaman started her taxidermy career very early. At 6 years old, she attempted to preserve a dead lizard.

“I was very interested in preservation and the natural world. I kept [the lizard] in a box with a bunch of other stuff,” said Anantharaman. “It started to smell really bad, so we had to get rid of it.”

After that episode, her parents wouldn’t let her perform taxidermy in the house. She had to wait until she moved away to college to improve her skills — and she did.

Now, she is an expert, dissecting animals, removing the entrails, adding chemicals to remove moisture, and using foam, clay, and cotton to get the creatures into a specific position like a pro.

“It takes a lot of time and patience and having a steady hand,” said Anantharaman. “But it’s not tedious. It’s more fun than that.”

Classic Mouse Taxidermy Class with Divya Anantharaman at Acme Studio [63 N. Third St. between Wythe and Kent avenues in Williamsburg, (347) 529–6158, www.observatoryroom.org]. March 30, 1 pm, $110.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.

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