A former dancer eliminated online trolls by earning $123,317 a year selling dead mice.
Katie Hardwick, 38, took a career pirouette to become a full-time taxidermist, selling the mice for between $67 and $246.
She stuffs at least five a day and creates mini scenes by attaching them to strip poles, circus hoops and miniature yoga mats.
Katie, mum-of-two, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, England, said: ‘People either love it or hate it and I’m getting a lot of angry vegans on my case.
“Some people told me that mouse didn’t die just to be immortalized as a stripper!
“It’s just kind of fun – it would be a very different practice if I was working with a rare elephant head.
“All my mice are purchased from the pet store as they are sold as reptile food – they are already dead and frozen.”
Her obsession began when her husband James Hardwick, 40, bought her a “your first mouse taxidermy kit” for Christmas five years ago.
She learned the basics of taxidermy and started selling her pieces online. Over 3,400 of his fluffy plush mice have moved to Etsy alone.
Katie added: ‘After a bit of practice the house was filling up so my husband suggested I try selling them online because people kinda like bad taxidermy.
“They got really popular, then when lockdown hit and people had more free time, orders went up massively.
“I started sharing them on TikTok which went viral with 5.9 million views and 65.5k followers.
“Many think I go through my day covered in blood while wearing a surgical mask and rubber gloves, but it’s not as complicated a process as some people might think.
“To make the mice, I defrost them first, then I remove the skin.
“I give them a borax treatment which kills the bacteria, then I make a little clay head and then I shape the front wire legs and arms.
“I do everything on my dining room table and use a magnifying lamp – my husband is disgusted that I am taking over the table.”
While some people don’t approve of Katie’s crazy creations, she says her kids are fascinated by her work.
She said: “My daughter Vera, five, is obsessed and loved watching me work.
“When she was in kindergarten, one of her teachers asked me what I did for a living because they couldn’t understand what Vera was explaining about my work.
“Vera and my son Cooper, one, are going to grow up thinking it’s a totally normal thing that makes me laugh!”
“America is very fond of mice and at Christmas I am always busy with orders.
“I would love to do a huge piece soon that incorporates a lot of stuffed creatures.”
This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.