Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A British university student found an unusual way to make some spare cash -- making pencil cases out of dead animals after teaching himself taxidermy.
Jack Devaney, 22, who is studying 3D design in Devon, England, said he used skills honed while working part-time in a butcher shop for nine years to experiment with frozen mice and rats sold as snake food at pet stores.
Devaney said his initial experiments led him to branch out into larger animals such as squirrels, moles and rabbits.
"I get them from pest control and estate managers. I basically posted on Facebook asking for help and I had people getting back to me within 10 minutes," Devaney told the Plymouth Herald.
He said orders started to flood in after he posted photos of a pencil case that was once a rat on Imgur and the pictures went viral.
"They're most popular in America, but I've also sold them in Norway," Devaney said. "I think it's great that I've managed to sell some."
He said not everyone who contacts him is a potential customer.
"There's been a varied response. The average posts range from 'This guy is a nut job' to 'Where can I get one,' but I'm always polite when I'm responding," he said.
Devaney said he doesn't think he'll make taxidermy pencil cases into a career.
"You'd have to be a nutter to think you could make a living out of this," he said. "Some people have suggested my work is satirical or that they have a deeper meaning but they are just daft."