'It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears' – Inside self-taught taxidermist

Taxidermist Hannah Debnam with one of her owls. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hannah Debnam makes a living as a Taxidermist. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Self-taught Suffolk taxidermist Hannah Debnam has made stuffing animals her full-time career. 

Inspired by trips to the natural history museum, Mrs Debnam was always attracted to the dead animal exhibits.

Hannah Debnam has been a taxidermist for eight years. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hannah Debnam has been a taxidermist for eight years. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"The more I've grown up the more I've understood what it was I liked," she said.  

"I just always looked at roadkill on the side of the road. And felt they don't deserve to lie there on the road.

"It's about giving them a second life as trite as that sounds."

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debman. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hannah Debnam specialises in birds - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown


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The 31-year-old from Trimley St Mary, said, in the beginning, more than eight years ago, it was not so easy when she first realised this was her path. 

She watched YouTube videos to perfect her technique and regularly read American articles on the subject, as there were limited British resources. 

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debman. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debnam - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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"It's taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get to this position," the owner of Taxidermist Hannah's Creatures said. 

"But once you understand how a bird's anatomy works it just flies.

"In the beginning, my taxidermy was so horrific and so bad. 

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debman. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hannah Debnam's work has come a long way from her start - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"[My pheasant] looked like he had been run over again. He did not look good.

"It is my full-time job. I love it."

She's regularly helped in getting fresh roadkill with help from her husband, mum, and dad. 

"My parents are really supportive and if they see roadkill they'll pack it up for me give it to me when I got to Clacton," she said. 

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debman. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hannah Debnam also does reptiles - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Badgers are the most common animal found at the side of the road, as they are often not seen at nights, along with pheasants, which Mrs Debnam says are "too stupid" to see cars. 

"I own [pheasants] and I can say that they are not smart enough to know always what a road is," she added. 

The rest of her contributions - which she has two chest freezers to keep fresh - comes from a parrot group and animals from people in Felixstowe and where she used to live in Shotley. 

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debman. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debnam. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Sometimes her job is "sad" as when a farmer came to her to stuff an owl he had been watching in his field for years. 

"It was so skinny," she said. "It has basically starved to death." 

Hannah Debnam at work in her taxidermy studio. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Hannah Debnam at work in her taxidermy studio. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Her taxidermy is bought for around £100 to £200 and takes two days to make from people who really enjoy seeing these animals in a new light. 

"You don't often get to see an animal up close," she said. 

"When you see a crow far away it's just black but up close it has purple and blue in its plumage."

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debman. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Animal taxidermy by Hannah Debnam. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown


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