Animal Kingdom

Spooky Octopus Decor

Based on the response to my octopus tattoo post it’s apparent people really like octopuses.  So I present to you even more ways to add these wonderful creatures to your life.

Kitchen

Mug Holder / Ice Tray / Measuring Spoons / Wine Glasses

Bath

Shower Curtain / Wall Decal / Accessories / Laundry Bag / TP Holder / Sink

Bedroom

Bedding / Switch Plate / Drawer Knob / Ring Holder

Living Room & Accessories

Vase / Candle Holders / Rug / Wall Hooks / Bookends


Tentacle Tattoos

I am in Greece this week enjoying the sun, surf and amazing Mediterranean food. My husband and traveling partners will likely dine on more than a few octopuses.  Personally I prefer to enjoy octopuses with my eyes only; in the wild, in home decor, or in tattoos!

I have often wondered why I find octopuses so fascinating.  Recent scientific findings have helped me realize that it’s because they are basically aliens. Their genetic structure is vastly different from any other creature on earth.  They have roughly three times as many genes as humans along with large brains and closed circulatory systems not found in other invertebrates.  They are exceptionally intelligent and can learn to solve puzzles, open jars and escape across open spaces above water.

Octopuses have an amazing ability to camouflage into their surroundings in less than a second which is really just the coolest thing possible. There is a wide variety of species from the teeny tiny to giant kraken like beasts. They are very complex creatures which can be shy and deadly poisonous at the same time. All the while remaining super cute in a creepy-crawly kind of way.  Like spiders you can hug.  That must be why I like them so much, they are just big squishy spiders that you can cuddle and they can squeeze you back….well maybe they don’t cuddle, but a girl can dream.

First some reference material of super cute octopuses. Then on to the tattooed versions.

The meanings behind the octopus tattoo are are varied as the designs and placements one might find. Sailors often have them to signify their time at sea.  Others see them as symbols of regrowth and rejuvenation. They can be icons of creativity and agility or the ability to adapt and change with any situation. Some people (like me) just love the little guys or oceanic life in general.

Ladies First

Some of the most dramatic octopus tattoos are featured on women. Specifically on or near their boobs.  What’s not to like!?

Watercolor

Combining an aquatic creature with a water-based artistic style is an inventive way to display your octopus without literal waves or an ocean scene.

Cute and Cuddly

Sometimes you just want a little bit of cuteness to carry with you at all times. I especially like the combination of the saber with the sweet yet mischievous feminine octopus.  The juxtaposition of beauty and danger is what I’m all about.

Bold and Beautiful

The colors these tattoo artists are able to achieve are incredibly impressive.

Terrors from the Deep

Anywhere you find tattoos you will find people mixing skull designs to create terrifying scenes. Ocean life also easily lends itself to being combined with pirate themes. The giant red octopus taking down a ship is one of the best (and largest) American traditional style tattoos I have ever seen.  If you’re going to cover your back it better be with something magnificent and this surely qualifies.

Realistic and Dimensional

The intricate textures of octopus skin is difficult to capture, even in photographs.  Most artists don’t attempt it or don’t do it well.  These two nailed it.

Darkness and Shadow

It’s always pleasing to see the versatility of basic black ink, especially when combined with well drawn designs.

Flowing and Floral

I found more babes with octo-ink than I was expecting. The combinations with bright colors and tropical flowers were a wonderful surprise.  Great inspiration pieces.

Statement Pieces

Not that any of the items above don’t make a statement.  All tattoos of any size make statements.  The sizes, colors, and placements of these speak volumes about octopus love.

Now it’s off to do some snorkeling and see if I can’t find one of these beauties in the wild!


Etherial & Endangered

Today is Earth Day. It’s a day dedicated to taking care of this giant mass of soil and water that we all call home. There are a huge number of reasons our home needs help; air pollution, water pollution, ground pollution, etc. The human race’s wide spread destruction has also greatly effected the animals that share this world with us.  All of these animals need and deserve our attention. I have chosen to bring your attention to a few endangered versions of mythical creatures.

Mermaids

Half human/half fish beings cannot actually exist according to science, but that isn’t any fun. There are many theories on where these tales (hehehe) of mermaids started.  One of the most likely origins is the dugong or manatee. When Christopher Columbus recorded seeing mermaids off the cost of the new world he made the first recorded sighting of manatees in North America. Manatees are in great danger due to their general nature, large size and slow movements.  All three species are currently listed as near extinction. You can do something about this by joining forces with a conservation group such as Save The Manatee Club and help save the mermaids.

For those of you who still want to believe in the existence of mermaids you will be interested to learn of the aquatic ape theory.  According to this theory we land humans are descended from an earlier aquatic primate version….which would mean we are all defended from mermaids.

Fairies & Pixies

Fairies and pixies are known for being secretive and tiny.  Notorious for hiding from human eyes there is no way to say they don’t exist.  More visible flying beauties that may very well be responsible for the mythical stories of fairies and pixies.  Dragonflies and butterflies flit about a variety of landscapes with magical ease and beauty.  The translucent wings of dragonflies are especially etherial and fairy like.  Although these two types of insects may seem ubiquitous and plentiful there are many species who appear on the endangered species list. (The species shown are the Boisduval’s Blue butterfly, the Jamaican Giant Swallowtail butterfly, the Hine’s Emerald dragonfly and the Rivulet Tiger dragonfly.)  The Butterfly Conservation dedicated to helping the butterflies, though I could not find an organization dedicated directly to dragonflies.

Unicorns

It is theoretically possible that an animal similar to a horse with one single horn may have actually existed at some point in earths history.  There are no fossil records to prove this theory, but there’s nothing to say it’s impossible. There are some animals known animals that could have provided the inspiration for stories of unicorns.

The elasmotherium is now extinct, but may have lived along side humans who could have written about it as a large animal with one long center horn. One creature still alive today, the great indian rhinoceros, has one large central facial horn. The scientific name for this lovely being is Rhinoceros Unicorns due to this horn.  Rhinos are also related to horses though not close enough to breed.

Looking for a way to help save the unicorns?  Contact the International Rhino Foundation.

Dragons

Dragons, huge flying majestic and frightening creatures found in myths around the world. Although we don’t see these beings roaming the skies on a regular basis there are real life dragons in the world, though they are much smaller than you might imagine. The Yinnietharra Rock Dragon is one of those tiny beasts.  These little dragons are shy and only found in Western Australia. While they may not be the dragons of your imagination they still deserve to be protected. They are not well known or studied and do not have their own conservation organization.  The not-for-profit organization ARKive  works with the charity Wildscreen and have spent time researching and document the tiny dragons.

Yeti

Yetis are known for living in the frozen wilderness, being covered in white fur and sometimes attacking or eating explorers. They are basically a frozen version of big foot. Polar bears are and easily recognizable real yeti, especially when one stands up. For being so well known polar bears are endangered.  Thanks to global warming their habitat is shrinking.  This also affects their food supply and ability to make more little polar bears.  Once the habitat is gone there isn’t anywhere else for them to go.  There are many organizations working to save the yetis such as Polar Bears International with whom you can join forces.

If you want to learn more about endangered species you can find well organized listings on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  You can also help by working with the organizations listed above or some others with broader focus like the World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, or The Sierra Club.

This Earth Day take a moment and think about what you can do to help save the mermaids, unicorns, fairies, dragons and yetis. They might not be able to tell you in person, but they will thank you for any help you can provide.


Wonderfully Batty

Yesterday, April 17th, was Bat Appreciation Day.  Bats are one of natures most unappreciated and misunderstood animals in creation.  Similar to the humble spider, bats are feared for no good reason.

Pollinator

Some of human kinds favorite foods like bananas, avocados, peaches, and cashews, rely on bats for pollination.  Without bats these crops would fail along with countless other plant species. Nectar eating bats spread pollen from plant to plant as they feed.  Without this pollination the plants would not produce fruit.  These types of bats live in diverse climates, from rainforests to deserts, and are essential to the survival of these and many other diverse ecosystems.

Pest Control

If you hate mosquitoes you owe a huge thank you to the insect eating bats for keeping their populations down.  Without bats you would be covered in bites on a regular basis.  Not to mention the help they provide in keeping mosquito transmitted diseases at bay.  These little guys can eat literally tons of bugs every night. Insectivorous bats also eat other nocturnal pests like the corn earworm moth.  These moths would destroy millions of dollars in vital crops, such as cotton, if it were not for the bats.  This not only saves money on crop production, but it also means that the farmers can use far less pesticide. Meaning they benefit the farmers and the environment.  Just imagine a world where crops are destroyed by insects and/or covered in billions of dollars worth of additional pesticides, while your town is covered in a literal ton of mosquitos. Not a world in which I want to live.

Seed Dispenser

Fruit eating bats are greatly beneficial in helping to reverse deforestation in rainforests and other areas ravaged by clearcutting.  Due to the bats willingness to fly over wide open spaces and cover long distances at night they are able to spend seeds farther and wider than birds, primates, and other fruit eating animals.  Seeds dropped from bats can account for the vast majority of new growth in a once clearcut area. This new growth provides protection for more delicate plants to grow as well as homes for other animals. Once again the bats prove to be highly beneficial to the environment.

Just in case you needed further convincing here are some photos of rescued baby bats wrapped up like burritos.

So the next time you see bats flying overhead don’t fear them, thank them.  If you want to do more to help these wonderful little eco warriors you can install a bat box at your home or work with one of the many conservation groups such as Bat Conservation Trust, Bat Conservation International or the Organization for Bat Conservation. #savethebats


Awkward

In honer of April Fools day here are some fun videos and memes to make you giggle.

Super cute animal memes

emo bunnygothbat kittyblood suckergoth bunnehgoth chicksole kittytiny bat

Goths dancing to non-goth music

 

 

 


Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia is an intense and debilitating fear of spiders.  It commonly starts in childhood due to a traumatic incident. Approximately 30% of the US population suffers from this disorder. I am not one of those people.

When I was little, around 7 or 8, I developed a bond with spiders.  I was assisting my mother with some yard work and found a spider’s egg sack. While I was inspecting it, it burst open in my hand and I found myself covered in hundreds of tiny baby spiders. My mother freaked out and hosed me down to get them off.  Given the location of the sack my mothers panic was understandable, it was highly likely that these were highly venomous baby black widows. The baby’s were all washed away easily and I was left completely unharmed. Not a single bite.  You could say this was my bat cave moment.

Spiders are one of the most misunderstood creatures in the animal kingdom. This is part of why I identify with them so closely. People seem to think that they are scary and dangerous and gross.  In reality they are creative and beautiful and beneficial.  Here are some facts you may not know about my favorite little critters.

I’m speaking here about average and basic benign spiders which make up about 98% of the spider species on the planet.  There are some highly dangerous ones like black widows, brown recluses and Sydney funnel-webs, you should avoid those guys.

Natural Artists

892741-spider-web-wallpaper

While not every species of spider builds a web many of them do.  If you have ever stopped to watch one of these in progress I’m sure you understand the amazing feats that these webs truly are. It would be like you building your whole house by yourself while hanging in mid-air like a cirque de soleil performer. With materials you literally pull out of your butt. And that house also gets take out for you.

There are more types of webs beyond the classic orb web.  There are funnels and trap doors and specialized fishing lines or nets.  Some spiders use their silk as a tether in case they fall and others make little balloons and fly.

To learn more fascinating facts about spider webs and silks check out this site.

Inspirational

Spiders have often been a source of inspiration for horror movies and urban legends, but they have also inspired positive stories.  Most American students were required to read Charlotte’s Web where an intelligent spider saves a pig from slaughter.  There are more stories from around the world.

In Africa and the Caribbean there are many tales of Anansi, a mythical figure who takes many forms and appears in many tales. He is sometimes a spider and sometimes a man or somewhere in-between. Depending on the culture the characteristics of Anansi vary. Basically Anansi is a wise and cunning figure who keeps all the worlds stories/knowledge and created the sun, moon and stars.  He also appears in modern novels, comic books and music.

In China spiders are seen as good omens.  It is thought that wearing a spider amulet will help you gain and keep wealth.  If you find one in your house you should never kill it, you should put it outside.

Some Native American tribes saw the spider as the creator of the world known as Spider Grandmother.

Thanks to an old European folk tale of the Christmas spider people world wide put tinsel on Christmas trees.

Check out this link for even more cultural depictions of spiders, though not all are as positive.

Beneficial

eat-for-you

Spiders are one of the best forms of natural pest control.  Without them our homes would be over run with cockroaches and mosquitos.  This not only helps keep our homes clean and pest free, but helps control the spread of deceases like malaria. They even eat centipedes which are awful vial creatures that need to be eradicated. (I happen to hate/fear centipedes. I see no redeeming qualities of them outside of being spider food.) Also, without spiders, our food crops would likely be non-existent having been ravaged by grasshoppers and other herbivorous insects. Some forms of spider venom is also being studied as a new form of commercial insecticide.

Super Cute

For some reason that I will never understand people think spiders are ugly and gross.  Their bilateral symmetry makes my OCD feel warm and fuzzy.  Speaking of fuzzy, jumping spiders are tiny, fluffy and just as cute as little bunnies who sometimes where water droplets as hates.  How can anyone fear all those big eyes? Happy face spiders each have their own unique smily face design on their backs. They live in the tropics so of course they are happy.

They Are Terrified of You

Spiders do not want to be near you or on you.  They enjoy living in our comfortable homes and in return for our hospitality keep the pests away. They don’t want to be any closer to you than the shadowy corners in which they hide.

I recently heard that some people think spiders feed on people when they bite.  Spiders do not hunt or feed on people.  They do not derive any nutrients or pleasure from biting us. If you are bitten it is because the little guy felt threatened and needed to defend himself.  It’s the same reason honey bees sting, out of fear.

Despite the random statistics that people spread it is highly unlikely that you eat spiders in your sleep.  The wet loud windy cave you call a mouth is exactly the type of environment spiders hate, they aren’t going to crawl in there. If they end up on you it is purely by mistake and they don’t want to be there any more than you want them there. A simple flick will make you both feel better.

Bottom line: spiders are awesome, but I can understand if you don’t love them. Please  respect that they are misunderstood introverted artists just trying to help keep the mosquitos out of your home in exchange for a dry place to sleep.  So give them a break instead of breaking their exoskeletons.