Divide the word “taxidermy” in two and you’ll find its origins: “taxi” (to move), and “dermy”, or dermis (skin). Moving deer and fish skin is what Mitchell, Illinois, taxidermist Rick Nadeau has been doing for 3-plus decades. However, Nadeau’s got a new forte: He’s not only stuffing squirrels lifelike to a fault, but mounting them in peculiar positions while donning apparel from hand-stitched clothing to beer bottle Koozies. Most sport miniature accessories. That includes mini ARs and AK-47s. Some even have little cigarettes clamped in their jaws. After all, nothing’s better than one of the most amiable creatures on Earth well-armed and puffing on tobacco products - right? You could call it the art of juxtaposition…if you want to.
Nadeau began carving his niche six years ago when he was out of work and traditional taxidermy jobs were in short supply. Since then, “Rick’s Custom Squirrels” (www.thesquirrelshole.com) has been shipping squirrels to order all over the globe, as well keeping a stock on hand for the holidays.