Stuff and nonsense: Taxidermy show honors animal craft and storytelling

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The Brooklyn Paper file / Dennis W. Ho

At this taxidermy contest, the living may overshadow the dead.

When the Secret Science Club’s fifth annual contest returns to the Bell House on Dec. 7, contestants better come equipped with a backstory as good as their stuffed squirrel or snake skeleton as among “Most Twisted” and “Most Peculiar,” this year’s contest introduces the “Best in Panache” category.

“Some people come to show off their storytelling chops,” said Margaret Mittelbach, one of the contest’s founders. “It’s really amazing to see people’s enthusiasm. That’s always something that throws me for a loop.”

Since the first event five years ago, the organizers have admired contestants’ knack for storytelling. But after a presentation at last year’s competition of a taxidermal iguana that memorably concluded with a Whitney Houston song, they decided to award it.

“Sometimes the presentation can make the piece,” said Robert Marbury, one of the judges. “I’m a big fan of the spiel.”

Taxidermy contest at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third avenues in Gowanus, (718) 643-6510], Dec. 7 at 8 pm. Tickets $5. For info, visit secretscienceclub.blogspot.com.