Taxidermy is a skilled engagement with different volumes that seeks to show multi-layered surface materials in order to present an animated experience of a formerly alive animal. In creating an illusion of life, taxidermists engage in an imaginative tour de force as they move between surfaces turned inside-out and real, simulated or imagined volumes. Drawing on two ethnographic examples – one offering a naturalistic and the other an artistic perspective on taxidermic practice – I argue for the interdependence of volume and surface, in what is essentially an art of covering and uncovering.