Bat Skeleton Articulation Workshop At Paxton Gate

I spent the better part of today at Paxton Gate's Bat Articulation Workshop! I've always been interested in natural history, but have never had quite the space or resources to work on something like this at home.

The class was led by Wilder Duncan, who was extremely helpful and patient and a lot of fun to work with. You can see some examples of his amazing art and taxidermy at his website here.

The bats we used were Japanese house bats (Pipistrellus abramus) which are relatively small. There weren't actually that many tools or materials involved in the process; super glue, tweezers, scissors, etc.

Posing and mounting the skeleton took longer than I expected. It involves a lot of fine motor work that can be quite nerve-racking at times, especially after you've already managed to break a few pieces. I didn't take as many photos as I originally planned to, partially because I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable or self conscious, but also because I had my hands full for pretty much the entire four hours I was there.

I picked a very minimal style for my display, almost exactly like the one in the primary photo used to advertise the class. I already have a few other specimens that are posed with greenery and I wanted to add something a bit more classical looking to my collection. Next time I'll probably try something more whimsical. Eventually I'd like to work my way up to something like this awesome piece that Wilder did!

My finished piece is far from perfect. I had a few bones break and it's not cleaned as well as I would have liked, but the experience was great and I'm really looking forward to doing something else like this soon!

Also, in case you were wondering, I did give him a name. It's Robert Smith!