Taxidermy Meets Storytelling At This Museum In Dead Animal Tales

I'm not usually a fan of taxidermy, but an animal exhibit at the Natural History Museum Rotterdam (NHMR) in the Netherlands piqued my interest. In Dead Animal Tales, each display tells the final adventure of a creature as it came up against mankind and our modern world—and lost.


Salty Snack Mouse was donated to the installation in 2012. The young mouse was found dead in a bowl into which a bag of—you guessed it, salty snacks—had been poured. Salty Snack Mouse met the criteria because NHMR says such a young mouse would have been physically unable to climb into the bowl. It's likely the mouse was originally in the snack bag.

There's also Domino Sparrow, who was shot and killed after knocking down 23,000 dominos during a competitive domino championship. I wonder if that was immediate or if the disparaged competitor hunted him down for weeks.

The collection itself had an odd start. In 1995, a mallard duck crashed into a window of the museum and died, which would seem almost normal, except that just after it died, another mallard approached and immediately had sex with the dead animal.

Kees Moeliker, NHMR director and now curator of the exhibit, wrote a study on this curious observation of animal behavior and wound up winning the lg Nobel Prize, which recognizes thoughtful research—while inspiring laughter.

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