Are you able to turn a taxidermied creature into an undead?

Say our necromancer has the spell prepared and sufficient onyx on them, and is walking through a hunting lodge with trophies of the hunt all around, when they are attacked. Could they turn their surroundings into something helpful?


2 Answers 2


As long as a dead creature is still considered a corpse, it can typically be the subject of the spell animate dead.

The GM may rule that because a particular corpse isn't complete enough that it can't be targeted by the animate dead spell, and—like this fine answer mentions—that may include the bodies of creatures that've been stuffed using traditional, real-world taxidermy techniques.

Likewise, a GM could rule that because of decorations and additions that a corpse is so beautifully well-preserved it's no longer a corpse but an art object so it can't be targeted by the spell, but I'd expect a ruling like that to be rare.

However, in general, in a game of magical high adventure like Pathfinder, this player would expect a hall of taxidermied creatures to be a necromantic goldmine, all the creatures present suitable for animation. Further, this player would expect any adventure that features such obvious Chekhov's taxidermied creatures would also expect them somehow returned to animation, and the animate dead spell's the easiest way to bring this about. (The template taxidermic creature is another.)

Finally. were this GM to include such a hall of taxidermied creatures in his campaign, he would certainly allow the daring or desperate necromancer to cast animate dead to those creatures. This GM can't imagine the game being more fun if the necromancer can't.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Worth mentioning the related template. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 2:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I see my character visiting a lot of hunting lodges and museums in the future \$\endgroup\$
    – Fering
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 2:51

Probably Not.

As the Animate Dead spell states:

A skeleton can be created only from a mostly intact corpse or skeleton. The corpse must have bones.

A zombie can be created only from a mostly intact corpse.

Most traditional taxidermy methods involve stretching the animal's removed skin over a mannequin- wood, clay, wire, wool, or some other material. Though some methods incorporate a few of the animal's bones (such as the skull) into the mannequin, it is unlikely that a stuffed animal would count as a 'mostly intact corpse', and it certainly wouldn't have a full skeleton.

If your DM let you animate the skin (strictly a homebrew ruling), you'd need to remove it from the inert manneuqin somehow, but you'd end up with a truly horrifying undead minion.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You could make a division between normal taxidermy and taxidermy done explicitly with the intention that they could be animated later, in which case bones would be put back in an wrapped with padding or clay. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 13:27

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