Technical Devices and Equipment


Maceration unit with osmosis function

Maceration enzymes are used on pre-prepared carcasses of large animals. The osmosis function prevents calcium deposits forming on the bones.

Bone fat removal device

Designed to reduce the fat content in bones. A pressurized solvent (DCM) extracts fat from the bones, making them easier to preserve and handle for further scientific research work.

Skin beetles

Skin beetle larvae are eat away at the tissue left on small and very small vertebrates. This makes it possible to preserve most ligaments and tendons on the skeleton. The NHM has bred skin beetles (Dermestes ater) for this purpose since 1980.


The NHM Vienna’s taxidermy department has two dry-freeze chambers: a small one measuring around 0.03 m³ and a large one measuring around 1.1 m³. These make it possible to preserve certain animals – small vertebrates such as fish and amphibians, as well as small mammals – in great detail, which would not be possible with other techniques. A vacuum draws water out of the animal at very low temperatures.

Nitrogen preservation

Nitrogen is used to preserve items by preventing the development of harmful insects or fighting them if they are already present. Measuring around 12 m³, the chamber is big enough to accommodate large objects. This technique involves withdrawing oxygen from the chamber, leaving a pure nitrogen atmosphere in which the insects cannot survive.

Cool room

New deliveries to the taxidermy department are stored in the cool room. The temperature can be adjusted from 5°C to a freezing -18°C. This 40 m³ room usually contains around 4000 exhibits.