Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dinosaur skeleton (or fossil) plastic model

Model Dinosaur Skeleton or Fossil, Articulated These dinosaur skeleton models are very cool. They may add just the touch of weirdness to your decor, or add that spark to a child's room to add fodder to their imaginative world. They would also go great in a classroom or homeschool setting. Or, hey, do you know anyone who just loves dinosaurs? These plastic skeletons could be the perfect gift! We have five dinosaur species and (skipping ahead a few million years) a woolly mammoth skeleton. The web page is being completed as I write this. If you don't see the one you want, give us a call at (503) 325-3179 in Astoria, Oregon.

The manufacturer intended these to appear as articulated fossils, but every fossil I've seen looks more like stone (because it is). It could be dark or light, but it doesn't really look like bones. What we have here looks like aged bones to me. In any case, this easy-to-assemble model is an eye-catcher in any setting.

I've pictured the triceratops, and here's a bit more about it:

This realistic-looking triceratops skeleton model is made of strong plastic and is sturdy when assembled. There are about 10 separate pieces, some large, with easy to follow assembly instructions and a diagram. The bones look weathered and connect with one another through pegs or joint sockets. The head swivels slightly, the legs move slightly and the jaw opens and closes. The finished model is 4 inches tall and is 9 inches long from nose to tail. This miniature triceratops skeleton replica makes a nice display, a gift, or toy for children or adults and could work well for school show-and-tell or as a school science project. Check out our other dinosaur model toys and gifts.

About the Triceratops

The triceratops, meaning three horned face, appeared on the scene during the Late Cretaceous about 65 million years ago. No full skeletons have been found, but many bones have been discovered throughout North America in Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Saskatchewan,and Wyoming. Bearing a large bony frill and three horns on its large four-legged body, it looks similar to the modern day rhinoceros. It was a vegetarian and possessed a sturdy build, with strong limbs and short, five-hoofed hands and four-hoofed feet. It was almost 10 feet high and 25 feet in length.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Video of horned toad squirting blood; and a plastic horned toad for your home :)

Plastic Toy Horned Toad Here's one of our most popular items. Why? Mainly because it's hard to find horned toad toys - these wonderfull little animals are perfectly harmless and so cute and interesting. I found a video online that shows its most curious ability.

See Real Horned Lizard Video

See video of horned lizard squirting blood from its eye

When I was a youngster and we'd catch horned toads on my dad's ranch, I was fooled into dropping one when it squirted blood. I though I'd damaged the animal, even though I was being very careful! We didn't make the linked video, but we thought it was interesting. It will open in a new tab or window. When you're finished viewing, you can close the new browser tab or window to return to this page.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sea Sparkle Plush Toy

Sea Sparkle Algae Our Sea Sparkle Algae

This strange-looking stuffed sea sparkle algae is an unusual replica. It is 5 1/2 inches wide and is made of bright green synthetic fur and green fabric and has large plastic eyes and wears a sympathetic expression. If you aren't an algae lover, you will be after you own these adorable little fellas! It should lighten up your life.This plush sea sparkle algae toy makes a nice pet, a gift for your marine biologist friends, a toy or gag, and could work well for a school play or show-and-tell as a school science project. Check out our other aquatic plant toys and gifts.

About Sea Sparkle Algae

Sea sparkle algae is a kind of dinoflagellate. It appears as a single cell organism in a colony of millions feeding on other plankton. They propel themselves with one or two flagella. They appear as a light blue luminescent color and are especially visible in coastal areas at night.

The Tag on Our Sea Sparkle Says:

FACTS: When you go to the beach or bay at night and see tiny sparkles of light coming from the water, it isn't your imagination. It's Noctiluca! From the Latin for "night light," Noctiluca are also known as Sea Sparkle.

These tiny dinoflagellates float beneath the surface of the ocean by the millions. When they are disturbed, they glow and produce bright flashes of light. This glow is called "bioluminescence," and in the ocean it is usually greenish or blue, as these colors travel well through the water.

You can encourage Noctiluca to glow by whirling your hands and feet in the water. On a night dive, the fins of a SCUBA diver can leave a trail of fireworks behind them! The wake of a boat can often be seen glowing as well. (It is thought that ancient Polynesian mariners used a signal from deep bioluminescing plankton to locate and navigate around islands.)

But why do Noctiluca sparkle? No one knows for sure. It probably has to do with hunting or communication. One idea is that it startles predators. Or perhaps it helps attract larger predators who can turn Noctiluca's own into prey. Or maybe the lights are used to bewitch Noctiluca's own quarry. Or maybe it's just a fun way to say good night.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Plastic horned lizards in a student diorama

We love to see how you're using the animals you buy from us! Here are a couple of photos of a student's desert diorama project. The spiky lizard on the left is a 3D puzzle of a thorny devil, and the one on the right is our small plastic "horned toad" or horned lizard. Cleverly, the student also used the plastic box that the puzzle came in to make the two pinkish rocks in the foreground. That shows ingenuity AND recycling!

Send us your photos. We'd love to display them!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stuffed plush heartworm - a great way to remember to give your pet its heartworm pills - or an unusual gift for your pet's vet!

Stuffed Animal Heartworm - Great Gift for you Pet's VetOur Heartworm

This, strange-looking stuffed heartworm is an unusual replica. It is 9 inches long and is made of white synthetic fur and has large eyes and wears a collar. If you aren't a worm lover, you will be after you own this adorable little fella. I am not sure you'll want to give it to your dog though! This plush heartworm toy makes a nice pet, a gift, toy or gag and could work well for a school play or show-and-tell as a school science project. You might want to give our stuffed heartworm to your favorite veterinarian as a gift. On the other hand, veterinarians might like to keep a few of these around the office as a gift for a favorite client or as a reminder to give your pet those heartworm pills! In fact, if you know anyone who has trouble remembering to keep their pet's heartworm pills current, this could be an excellent reminder! Check out our other worm toys and gifts.

About Heartworms

Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm (Dirofilaria immitis) that is spread from host to host through the bites of mosquitoes. Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worms living in the arteries of the lungs and occasionally in the right side of the heart of dogs, cats and other species of mammals, including wolves, foxes, ferrets, sea lions and (in rare instances) humans. Heartworms are classified as nematodes (roundworms) and are filarids, one of many species of roundworms. Dogs and cats of any age or breed are susceptible to infection.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This plastic leech will either delight or disgust you - maybe both!

Plastic Leech (Stretches to 36 inches long!) This stretchable plastic leech may be just the thing for Halloween fun. Whether you're charmed or annoyed, we can't guess. What we do know is that leeches are pretty interesting critters.

Our Black Leech

This, realistic-looking stretchable black leech is an amazing replica. It stretches to 36 inches in length, retracts and can be bent in any direction. It feels like Jello, and is also sticky to the touch. If you aren't a leech lover, this leech replica is truly disgusting. It is black with detailed segments. Our black leech replica may want to suck your blood, but promises not to hurt. This stretchable plastic leech makes a nice pet, a gift, toy or gag for teenagers or immature adults and could work well for a school play or show-and-tell as a school science project or a history project about medicine. Check out our other leech toys and gifts.

About Leeches

Leeches are annelids like earthworms and have long segmented bodies consisting of 34 parts. They all have an anterior (oral) sucker formed from the first six segments, which is used to connect to a host for feeding, and also release an anesthetic to prevent the host from feeling its presence. They use a combination of mucus and suction caused by concentric muscles to stay attached and secrete an anti-clotting enzyme, hirudin, into the host's blood stream. Leeches have been used for medicinal purposes for blood-letting for centuries. Hirudin helps from blood clotting and is sometimes used in micro-surgery. Leeches are hermaphrodites and have an intersting reproductive cycle. There is much discussion about the dangers of leech bites and lots of theories about the best way to remove a leech from your leg.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stuffed Tasmanian devil almost looks real!

Our Tasmanian Devil

Our Tasmanian devil toy stuffed animal is amazingly realistic, but without the bite! It is beautifully designed and made of quality materials from Hansa. It is extremely soft with lots of cuddly fur. It has a 12-1/2-inch body and a 6-inch tail. White patches are realistically placed on the chest and body. Its legs are posable. Our taz is loving and promises not to bite. Also check out our other Tasmanian devil toys and gifts.

About Tasmanian Devils

Although ours is rather sweet looking, real Tasmanian devils are the world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupials. The body size varies greatly depending on the diet and habitat. Adult males may stand up to 30 centimeters (almost 9 inches) at the shoulder and are usually larger than the females. Tasmanian devils are widespread throughout their habitat and live from the seacoast to the mountains. They live in coastal heath, open dry forest, and mixed rainforest. They seek homes where they can hide and take shelter by day and find food at night. Mainly scavengers, they feed on whatever is available. Their powerful jaws and teeth allow them to completely eat their food, grinding up bones, fur, and all. The Tasmanian devil makes a variety of noises, from rough coughs and snarls to high-pitched screeches. A sharp sneeze is used as a challenge to other devils.

I was once fortunate enough to visit behind the scenes at the medical center of the San Diego Zoo. In the nursery they had a Tasmanian devil in an incubator, only a few days old. The tiny animal had pink skin and only a few very long black hairs. It was like nothing I'd ever seen. I guess you could say it was ugly, but then what baby animal isn't cute in its own weird way? I like them better with hair, but it was such a treat to get this unusual view of a baby Taz!

Old technology, found while cleaning

I've been reorganizing my office this weekend to make it easier to reach things in storage boxes. Quitting Market America has opened up a few file drawers and bins, and that's probably what got me started on this particular Augean stable. So far, I'm liking it. I've been thinking of the various projects I want to work on over the next few years, and all of them entail easier access to the materials stored in boxes and files that have been essentially out of reach for awhile. There are also boxes of old files that have run their 7-year IRS mandate and can be gotten rid of (once reachable :)

Anyway, in the process I found this bit of old printout from an order of a number of years ago. It brought back the old days when I had so few orders and less sophisticated technology. A customer would place their order online, and I had to then e-mail them the total cost and the shipping amount. They would have to OK it and e-mail me back. Then I could ship the order. In the earliest years before that, I actually had to pack up the order and take it to the post office to get a mailing cost, then contact the customer! Back then, if I had a few boxes in a week, it was a lot. Now, of course, it comes in already approved by the credit card company and the customer has selected their shipping method, with the total right there for them to look at.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Plastic fossa

Plastic Fossa Our Plastic Toy Fossa

This engaging, realistic-looking plastic fossa miniature is made of hard, somewhat flexible plastic. This fossa replica has detailed fur and is painted brown. The fossa body is 2 inches long and the tail is one inch long. This miniature fossa makes for a nice pet, fits into a shoebox diorama for a school project or serves as a great collectible. Check out our other fossa and mongoose toys and gifts.

About Fossas

The fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) is a large carnivore found exclusively in Madagascar. Related to the mongoose, it behaves much more like a leopard. It spends much of the time in the trees and it leaps from tree to tree like a squirrel. It is almost 3 feet long and weighs as much as 15 pounds. Some think that the fossa is entirely nocturnal since they are rarely sighted. It hunts fish, birds and particularly enjoys eating lemurs. Fossas have no natural predators, but has suffered like most Madagascar animals from the incursions of man.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Sturgeon Jewelry

Hey, great news! Our hand-made, hand-painted sturgeon pin has been redesigned by the artist to look even more like your favorite fish! Come take a look at Tapir and Friends.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stuffed aardvark by Hansa - last one until October shipment

Stuffed Aardvark by Hansa (Ardvark) Unlike so many of our favorite animal-themed toys and gifts, this beautiful stuffed aardvark is NOT going out of production. However, supplies in the U.S. are nearly sold out. We have only one left in stock as of today until the shipment arrives from overseas in October. You can see and order this wonderful Hansa aardvark at Tapir and Friends online!

Our wonderfully realistic-looking stuffed aardvark by Hansa is a toy that looks amazingly like a real animal. The plush aardvark is 12 1/2 inches from nose to rump. Its tail adds another 10 inches to its length, and the pink fabric-covered tongue is posable and holds its position when you move it. The tongue is about 1 1/2 inches long. It is sewn with soft plush fabric with extra-soft white tufts around the eyes, ears, and chin. There are four toes on each front foot and five toes on each back foot. This is a good thing, because aardvarks are known for digging! It has gentle hard plastic eyes (black pupils with a ring of gold for the iris) pinkish brown inside the ears. Our stuffed aardvark replica has a kindly expression and promises to snuggle next to you. This aardvark makes a wonderful gift for stuffed animal lovers and complements nicely any stuffed animal collection. The fabric is produced in small batches and is chosen especially for this animal. Each piece is hand-stictched in the Philippines by crafters willing to produce a unique item each and every time. Check out our other aardvark toys and gifts.

Stuffed Animals Made by Hansa

Read more about Hansa stuffed animals and see our selection.

About Aardvarks

Aardvarks (Orycteropus afer) are African mammals of a medium size that are most active at night and are good at burrowing into the earth. Their name, "aardvark," comes from the Afrikaans/Dutch language and means "earth pig." This unusual-looking animal has many names locally, including "antbear" or "anteater," although it is not a close relative of the anteaters of South America. Neither is it closely related to a pig, but is somewhat isolated taxonomically and is the only member of the order Tubulidentata. It is not a true edetate, although we've listed it with our edentates on the web site so that people could find it. As odd as it sounds, the aardvark is most closely related to elephant shrews, hyraxes, tenrecs and elephants. If we had put the aardvark in our elephant category, would you have found it? It's a strange thought!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Stuffed hyena by Hansa

Stuffed Hyena by Hansa In stock as of today and ready to ship anywhere around the world, this beautiful stuffed hyena created by Hansa!

Our stuffed hyena is lifelike and sturdy. Hansa prides itself on making lifelike animals of near-custom quality and design. The materials are made to order for small-run series of your favorite animals. Our stuffed spotted hyena measures 14 inches from nose to rump and stands 8 1/2 inches tall at the shoulder. Its nose is made of moulded hard plastic and looks very real. The eyelids are also made of plastic, giving a lifelike aspect to the face. See our other hyena toys and gifts as well as our collection of Hansa stuffed animals.

One might think that hyenas are related to dogs, but they are actually in a separate biological family most closely related to meerkats and mongooses. Hyenas have among the strongest jaws in the animal world. According to Wikipedia, "The Spotted Hyena, or Laughing Hyena, (Crocuta crocuta) is a mammal of the order Carnivora. They are moderately large, terrestrial carnivores native to Africa. They are best known for a chirping, birdlike bark that resembles the sound of hysterical human laughter. Though often labeled incorrectly as a scavenger, the spotted hyena is actually a powerful hunter, the majority of its nourishment being derived from live prey. Spotted hyenas are the most common predator in sub-saharan Africa, living in savannah, dry woodland and desert habitats."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Red-ruffed lemur toys at Tapir and Friends

Plastic Red-Ruffed Lemur We've been working on getting our new Madagascar animals online, and the other day Lee added the plastic red-ruffed lemur pictured above. This is the first time I've seen one made of plastic!

Stuffed Red-Ruffed Lemur A long-time favorite stuffed animal has been this plush red-ruffed lemur from Fiesta toys. You can find both online at Tapir and Friends, and you can read about red-ruffed lemurs on our web site.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Plastic sifaka lemur with a purple face

Why does our plastic sifaka lemur replica have a purple muzzle? Good question! I don't know. This is how the toy lemur was made, and that's probably the whole story - "just because." Normally, a sifaka would have a black or dark brown muzzle, but realistic toy animals are not all that easy to find, especially the rarer ones. We're just glad to have ANY toy sifaka lemur to offer to fans, collectors, and for school projects! Come check out this toy lemur at Tapir and Friends!

Please join us on our Facebook page for updates from the gift shop, where we try to keep it at least somewhat realistic, and we specialize in the unusual and hard-to-find animals!

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