Sunday, May 31, 2009
I was excited to find that Corinna was interviewed on the Shrimp Salad Circus blog the other day. Please go on over and take a look! Corinna and her Etsy store (The Frog Bag) are the subject of the post. She has been donating a portion of her sales to the tapirs. She's also conducting a give-away on her blog. Check it out and win one of her most amazing hand-made zoology-inspired cat toys.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
(888) 325-3179 (We are in Oregon, USA)
Palo de sangre is the Spanish name for this rich red wood. The English translation is "bloodwood." It is the heartwood of the trees Brosimum paraense and Brosimum rubescens. The sapwood is yellowish-white. According to Wikipedia, "Palo de sangre has a fine texture and takes a high polish. The wood is very hard and has a tendency to blunt tools. The wood is used in decorative woodworking and woodturning . . . . The Nature Conservancy considers this tree secure within its native range." Other sources give additional names: muirapiranga, satiné rubane, cacique, and cardinalwood (due to its red color). It keeps its color, and does not turn brown with age like some highly colored woods.
Palo de sangre is carved into wonderfully attractive and charming animal figures in Colombia and other regions of tropical America. The bright red color is a natural property of the wood, as is the highly finished shine on the surface (evidenced by the reflected light in the photo). These animals are not varnished, stained, or painted, but come to you in their spectacular natural finish. Fortunately, the artisans who carve them are not restricted by any means or conventions to a particular template, so you get the benefit of each individual's vision and creativity. The wood also varies somewhat from one carving to the next as far as natural color, grain, and markings. The motifs themselves are repeated (crocodiles and manatees are common; tapirs are less common), although availability depends on circumstances. We may be able to get several tapirs this month and none next month, for example. Or we may be able to get small otters one month and only large otters the next. In many cases, only one of each style is available. Please phone (888-325-3179) or e-mail if you are interested in more than one of the styles shown in our drop-down menu. These wooden animal replicas were imported to the US by the Tapir Preservation Fund. Your purchase helps support conservation of tapirs and their habitat.
The pirarucu, also known as the arapaima (Arapaima gigas) is a member of the catfish family and is one of the largest fresh water fish in the world. It is found primarily in the Amazon River and its tributaries and can grow up to 9 feet long and weigh up to 400 pounds. It is a valuable food fish for South American people and is both netted and speared and then sold in the markets. It has the amazing ability to breathe fresh air and also to burrow in the mud. This helps it survive in periods of great water level fluctuation and drought. Its scales are large and hard and are used as scraping tools and as ornaments. Although not presently endangered, there is concern that overfishing may soon impact the future of this unusual beautiful species.
Do you love carved wood?
These hand-woven baskets are special! Due to the unique construction methods used for werregue baskets, it takes several days to several months for an artisan to make each basket. Each is a work of art in itself, and no two are alike. Made from the spines of werregue palm trees, the baskets are lined internally so they hold water. The baskets are used by the local people to carry water from the rivers and lakes into the village. Inside and out, the baskets look like they're completely made of woven palm; the secret water shield is buried among the layers of the basket. Because of this, it is heavier than you would expect a basket to be. The palm fibers are also dense and slick, adding to the solid feel of these specially crafted pieces.Werregue baskets are considered to be the finest baskets made in Colombia. Their craftsmanship, detail, and the tight weaving of the fibers are easy to appreciate. They are extremely beautiful and also durable. Beneath the top layers of fiber you can see the tight coils used to shape the baskets. They are coiled tigher and of smaller diameter at the bottom of the basket. They grow as the basket widens out and they narrow again at the narrowest part of the neck below the rim.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Call it a crayfish, crawfish, or crawdad, this engaging, somewhat realistic-looking plastic crayfish is soft and flexible. It's made of bright, almost-day-glo orange rubbery plastic and is about the size of a real crayfish. It floats and it also can be filled with water to use as a squirting crayfish lawn or bath toy. It would make great table decorations at a crayfish festival or outdoor barbeque. It can also be used as a demo for a class project about crayfish or crustaceans. The underside is moulded with realistic shapes as is the top. Check out our other crayfish toys and gifts.
The crayfish (also called crawfish, crawdad, and sometimes mudbug) is a smaller crustacean somewhat resembling the lobster, to which it is related. Crayfish live in fresh running water and are not very tolerant of pollution. There is an invasive species of crawfish (red swamp crawfish, red swamp crayfish, Louisiana crawfish or Louisiana crayfish) which lives in the Southeastern United States and is more tolerant of polluted water. The red swamp crawfish can become a pest when it appears in great numbers. It stands taller on its feet than the typical crayfish, and uses the ends of its claws to stand on. Crawfish prefer running fresh water in a location sheltered as much as possible from preditors. Crayfish in general survive best in climates where the water doesn't freeze clear to the bottom. They are prized by many for food. I once had some as pets, as we found them in the irrigation systems in Southern California. I was probably allowed to keep them in a big tub of water for a few days before we ate them. When you pick them up, you have to hold them behind the claws. I can tell you from experience that the claws can deliver quite a pinch if you let them reach your fingers! The word "crayfish" comes from the Old French word escrevisse. Although several species of crawfish live in many countries in the Norhtern and Southern Hemispheres, the reason we might associate this animal with our state of Louisiana is because 90 percent of the crawfish in the world come from that state, and 70 percent are consumed there. 70-80 percent of crawfish produced in Louisiana are red swamp crawfish with the remaining 20-30 percent being white river crawfish. As you can imagine, there are many tasty recipes for this freshwater relative of the lobster!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Our Plastic Galapagos Islands Marine Iguana
This exotic marine iguana is one in our series of lively and lifelike plastic animals found in the Galapagos Islands. Its realistic shape and details will be enjoyed as part of a school project, diorama, plastic animal collection, as a party favor, or gift. Our plastic Galapagos marine iguana measures 4 inches from nose to tail. Be sure to see our other iguana toys and gifts.
The Galapagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) has the unusual ability to live in the sea. It dives into the water at tidepools and the water's edge to forage for algae. It is found only in the Galapagos Island chain. It is generally black to deep dark green in color to help absorb heat after returning from a dive in the cold ocean waters. An adult Galapagos marine iguana is about 2-3 feet long and is not a particularly fast runner. It is therefore vulnerable to dogs and cats which often prey on it. The marine iguana is plentiful and not considered endangered like many species in the area.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Now that we've told you what they don't have, they do have eye-catching appeal for kids. Your child or grandchild can grasp the tail of the platypus, which is moulded in bas relief on the cup and presented in simple but charming style. The cups are very sturdy and durable, the colors are eye-catching for kids, and the platypus has a number of friends on our plastic animal drinking cup page.
Our Plastic Moray Eel
This moray eel is beautifully detailed nearly matching the real thing, its made out of floppy, flexible (not posable) rubber-like plastic that always pops back into its original position (shown here). It also it squeaks when you squeeze it. Our plastic moray eel is a slightly brighter yellow-green than shown in the photo. Check out our other eel toys and gifts. Our moray eel is 11 1/2-inches long.
About Moray Eels
Like our rubbery plastic moray eel, real "green moray eels" (Genus Gymnothorax) appear to be yellow-green in color. They are actually brown, but the mucus covering gives them a green or yellow-green tone to the human eye. These eels grow to about 5 or 6 feet long, and occur in the western Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to Bermuda and the northern Gulf of Mexico, south to Brazil, including Ascensión Island. They are commonly found in the ocean, and are popular for salt-water aquariums, although there are problems keeping them with other fish and keeping them from escaping from the tank. The green moray eel is found throughout the warm waters of the Bahamas, Caribbean Sea, and Florida Keys. Apparently a similar-looking eel is also found in the waters along the southern coast of Australia and Tasmania. This family of moray eels contains many species.
Monday, May 18, 2009
You can visit this plastic jellyfish and its jellyfish friends here if you'd like :)
Or pop on over to Mellow Yellow Monday and chill with more things YELLOW!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Hi! About a month ago I ordered a Horned Toad and a Thorny Devil from you for my son's project for his school's Academic Fair. We just finished the fair and Marshal made a 100 on his project with very high marks for the animal examples he used (your toys!). This was a big boost to him and he worked very hard to make sure his report was as good as his visual project was. I am attaching some pictures of the project! Thanks again for the speedy service!!!!! His name is Marshal Rainwater and he's in the 3rd grade at Hancock Creek Elementary here in sunny Cape Coral Florida. (P.S. - This was made in a child's shoe box. The background is an aquarium background, the 'sand' is crushed almonds colored, and then of course your lovely figures including the 'box' the devil came in.) -- Mandie
Thanks for telling us! We're all smiles around here. Great work, Marshal. We're glad we could help! By the way, the "box the devil came in" consists of two halves, light tan in color. The horned toad is standing on one, and the other is just behind the thorny devil. The thorny devil is a puzzle, and the pieces come in a re-closable plastic case. Marshal used his ingenuity and put the case to use as stones for his diorama. Very clever :)
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Piranhas (Serrasalmus) are a freshwater fish native to South American. Although they have been labeled as meat-eaters, they also eat plant matter, seeds and fruit. They are about 8-12 inches long and have a narrow body with a blunt head. Their strong jaws contain razor sharp, triangular-shaped teeth.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Our Plastic Baby Elephant
This plastic elephant from Safari Ltd. is wonderfully detailed. Safari is known for its museum-quality plastic animals (solid plastic, not hollow) that are sturdy, life-like, and affordable. These plastic toys are great for school projects, dioramas, your personal collection, or the toy-room floor. Be sure to see our other African elephant toys and gifts.
Until recently, it was believed that there were only two species of elephant - African and Asian (Elephas maximus). However, in 2004, DNA evidence proved that there are actually two true species of African elephant - African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) and African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis). African savannah elephants are the largest elephant, African forest elephants are slightly smaller and Asian elephants are the smallest elephant. African elephants have larger ears than the Asian elephant. In the African species, both the male and female elephants have large visible tusks. In the Asian species only the males have large visible tusks. The females have small tusks called tushes that are not usually visible. African elephants only have one dome on the top of their head, and the flat forehead is slightly sloped. The Asian elephant has two distinct domes at the top of its head. There is a projection on the end of the elephant's trunk that is referred to as a "finger." African elephants have two "fingers" on the end of their trunk, and will use a grasping motion when picking things up. (This is much like the way we use our thumb and forefinger.) The Asian elephant has only one "finger," so it has to curl the end of its trunk around anything it wants to pick up. All three elephant species are endangered because of poachers who hunt them for their tusks.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Made in Washington and Idaho by a team of three U.S. artists, these high-quality pins or tie tacks are unique. Each exquisitely detailed piece is cast in pewter and painted by hand. The finish is extremely smooth and shiny, as you can see by the highlight from the scanner. Each pin is secured by two sturdy tacks on the back so it doesn't skew sideways or turn upside down, and the finished product is not only gorgeous, but satisfyingly substantial in weight. They can be used as lapel pins, hat pins, tie tacks, and more. These collectible animal pins are heirloom quality, and the details are so realistic, they are found in museum gift shops and bought by organizations in need of the perfect animal to represent their group. In fact, if you're interested in having the name of your organization put on an item, write to us for details. You can find more fish and animals by the same artists listed on our Hand-Painted Jewelry page. Also check out our other armadillo toys and gifts.
The armadillo pin measures 1-1/2 inches long by 1 inch high.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
This plastic three-toed sloth is beautifully detailed, with nicely moulded fur and facial features. Each foot has three long claws on it. Our plastic sloth measures 3 inches high to the top of its head, and 3 1/4 inches to the top of its arm. The bottom of the sloth is flat so it can sit easily on a table or shelf. The words "brady podidae" are moulded into the bottom. That should be "bradypodidae" (all one word), which is the family name of this sloth. The plastic sloth's yellow-gold coloring and dusky face are like those of a real sloth. These rainforest animals are distributed throughout Central and South America. You can see photos and learn more about this animal on the University of Michigan's Animal Diversity Web page for three-toed sloths. Come check out our other sloth toys and gifts.
Thank you for visiting!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Our exceptionally soft, cuddly stuffed bushbabies by Fiesta are stitched together, giving you one mother and baby combination stuffed toy. Mom measures 9 1/2 inches to the top of her head in a seated position. Her wonderfully soft tail is 17 inches long, and that of the baby is 10 inches. What a cuddly pair! The eyes are hard plastic, and the cute pink noses are also made of plastic. The eyes, ears, legs and tail are securely attached making this charming stuffed animal duo a suitable toy for all ages. To find our other animals in the Fiesta line, or see our entire inventory of stuffed animals, beanies and puppets, check out our Stuffed Animal Page and Stuffed Beanies and Plush Puppets Page.
Like lemurs, bushbabies are prosimians, primates that are not as highly evolved as monkeys or great apes. Also called galagos and nagapies (Afrikaans for "night monkeys"), these small, nocturnal creatures are native to continental Africa. Their name comes from the animals' cries which sound much like a crying baby. Their strong hind legs, which are longer than their front legs, make them agile leapers. Their large eyes give them good night vision and their long tails help them balance. Their paws are remarkably like a human's hand with 4 fingers and a thumb.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Our Stuffed Wolf Cub
This engaging, realistic-looking stuffed wolf is soft and affectionate-looking. Its legs are made of plush hair and are sewn together to replicate a lying position. The body and head is light gray and light tan with black around the muzzle and ears of the wolf's head. Our wolf is probably a cub. He has a kindly expression and promises not to bite. He makes a nice pet, a gift, or fits perfectly into a stuffed animal collection. Check out our other wolf toys and gifts.
Our beautiful stuffed wolf appears to depict a young gray wolf (Canis lupus), which is also known as a timber wolf. The adult is the largest wolf, about 3 feet in length and weighing about 100 pounds. It once roamed freely throughout North America and Euroasia, but hunting and habitat destruction has taken a significant toll on the wolf population. Great efforts have been undertaken to reintroduce the wolf to areas of the Northwest and Idaho with cooperation of ranchers, who see the wolf as a threat to livestock, especially sheep. The wolf is incredibly adaptable to climate and terrain and can travel long distances. It can withstand frigid temperatures and can be found in snowy mountains, high deserts and plains. Its claws and padded feet are designed with special webbing for hanging on to slippery surfaces. Wolves have bulky coats consisting of two layers. The first layer is made up of tough guard hairs designed to repel water and dirt. The second is a dense, water-resistant undercoat that insulates. The wolf is a special animal to be appreciated by all. It has been valued by native people in their art and religion.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Our Capybara Jewelry - You choose the color!
This animal jewelry is unique! Any item can be ordered in a variety of colors. This sturdy, light-weight aluminum jewelry is made by Corinna Bechko, who is not only an artist, but has worked at the Los Angeles Zoo in the research division, with animal that need rehabilitating, and currently is a zookeeper at the Playboy Mansion. She attended the Jewelry Arts Academy in Manhattan. What a lucky day it was for us when she discovered our web site and suggested we might want to see the jewelry she makes!
Customers have a wide variety of choices. Pendants and earrings come with a bead. Corinna will try to find any color you want, so bead choices are almost endless. The animal itself comes in a variety of colors as listed in the drop-down menu above. You will find examples of the earrings, pins and pendants and some color combinations, as well as the other animal types we sell, on our page of Aluminum Jewelry.
Each capybara measures over 1 1/4 inches from nose to tail. The pendants hang on a 17-inch black silk cord (included). You color choice can be made up quickly - probably in only a few days. Be sure to look over our other capybara toys and gifts.
The semi-aquatic cabybara or chiwiri (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) is the largest of all the 1,729 species of living rodents and is native to South America. It weighs about a hundred pounds, and is about 2 feet tall at the shoulder. Looking rather like a cross between a guinea pig and a hippopotamus, it lives in large groups along river banks, where it grazes on grasses and aquatic vegetation. It comes out on to dry land to rest and bask in the sun, but at the first hint of danger the whole troop dashes into the water. Its worst enemies are the puma and the jaguar. (Capybara research by Joslyn Biggins.)
Sunday, May 3, 2009
This is not your ordinary stuffed animal. Our plush deer baby has the charm and quality you'll want to keep for a lifetime. It is the kind of toy your child will remember for years to come. It is the kind of "pet" a young child will want to name and create his or her own stories about.
The literature says, "The magical kingdom of Hansa plush was originally created for the most exclusive European clientele. Europeans have treasured these lifelike heirloom creatures for over twenty years. . . . Each Hansa piece is a handcrafted masterpiece, lovingly designed from portraits of real animals. The 'skin' for each of these marvelous beasts is hand-cut and trimmed, never stamped out by machine. The fabric for spotted and striped animals is custom designed and specially manufactured in small lots to Hansa's exacting specifications."
As time permits, we will be adding more of this unique line to our gift shop. If you're looking for an animal and don't find it on our site, please write to us. To find our other Hansa stuffed toy animals, or see our entire inventory of stuffed animals, stuffed beanies and plush hand puppets, check out our Stuffed Animals Page and Stuffed Beanies and Plush Puppets Page. Check out our terrific selection of deer, elk and moose toys and gifts.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
What a classy way to keep your reading or sunglasses from getting lost on your coffee table, bedside table, hall shelf, etc. You can also use this functional sculpture to display business cards with pizazz and pride!