Top five taxidermy collections

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Two stuffed white bulldogs standing in front of a blue background

Two bulldogs at the Natural History Museum at Tring, one of many taxidermy collections in the UK © Natural History Museum

1. The Booth Museum, Brighton – Hundreds of British birds are on display in the collection of Edward Thomas Booth. Born in 1840, he was a dedicated naturalist who tried to capture an example of every bird in the country. They sit in the museum he built amongst recreated natural habitats in an excellent example of ‘environmental diorama’, a display method pioneered by the Victorians.

2. Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow – Home of the spectacular Sir Roger, an Indian elephant who came to Glasgow in 1900 as part of a travelling menagerie and had to be put down by soldiers after becoming ill. The collection also features many examples of Scottish wildlife, including a majestic golden eagle and two rutting red deer stags.

3. Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxfordshire – An important location in the evolution debate of the 19th century and now home to a popular touchable taxidermy collection. Give a cheetah a stroke or get your hands on native British animals like the fox and badger. There’s also a mummified dodo head, the most complete remains of the famously extinct bird anywhere in the world.

4. Ulster Museum, Northern Ireland – Has over 200,000 beetles, bugs and butterflies in its collection, including most of the 15,000 that currently crawl around Ireland. Look out for the heaviest insect in the world, the terrifying goliath beetle from Africa, as well as the largest mollusc and largest butterfly.

5. Quex Museum, Kent – If you fancy going on safari then this is the place to come. Five hundred animals from Africa and Asia are on display in eight large dioramas showing scenes from their lives. Built to collector and hunter Major Powell-Cotton's exacting specifications, the first diorama was created in 1896 and is perhaps the oldest of its kind.

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