Friday, January 24, 2014

Animal Profile: North American River Otter

For our third installment of the Animal of the Week we are showcasing the North American River Otter. This semi-aquatic mammal is known for its playful disposition and is just as lively under water as it is on land.

Size: Weighs between 10 and 30 pounds and is 25 to 40 inches in length
Diet: Mostly eat fish, but are known to heat various amphibians, crayfish and turtles
Location: Found throughout North America. Abundant in Alaska and along coastal regions in Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Protection Status: Least Concern
Interesting Facts:

  • Can be submerged underwater for up to eight minutes.
  • The otters can survive in all kinds of fresh and salter water habitats, including rivers, lake, swamps and coastal shorelines.
  • Female otters are known to play with their young in order to impart survival and hunting skills

Our goal at Little Critterz is to spread the respect of the animal kingdom through education of and interaction with animals. We believe this is to be done by learning about the wondrous world of animals both online and in person at zoos, national parks and aquariums. We also believe respect and protection for animals stems from the admiration of them through real and treasured symbols like this Otter miniature porcelain figurine

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

7 Amazing Rock Formations

Incredible rock formations are among the most breathtaking natural occurrences Mother Nature has to offer. Whether created through hundreds of thousands of years of erosion or carved by a massive glacier, each unique rock formation has its own amazing story to tell. Here are 7 of our favorite formations throughout the world:

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 
Located near Page, Arizona, this breathtaking sculpture was formed through years of water erosion by the Colorado River. Visit their website here.

Wulingyuan, China
Found in Hunan, China, the area contains over 3,000 enormous quartzite sandstone pillars and is a UNESCO World heritage site. It is even rumored to be the inspiration for the world seen in the movie Avatar!

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
We love this surreal formation because of its pillar-like structures appropriately named hoodoos! Visit the website here.

Chocolate Hills, Philippines 
This site bountiful rock formations contains at least 1,250 mound-shaped hills. Local legend has it that the hills were formed by two feuding giants throwing boulders at each other. View more detail here.

12 Apostles, Australia
One of our favorites because of the beautiful backdrop provided by the Pacific Ocean right off the coast of Port Campbell National Park. Visit their website site here.

Pinnacles, Australia
With back to back Australia picks, the Pinnacles holds a soft spot in our heart as the limestone formations resemble a colony of upright meerkats! For tour information visit here.

Svartifoss, Iceland
Found at the Vatnajokull National Park in Iceland, this waterfall illuminates the wonder of our planet as it was actually formed from Basaltic lava. Talk about a contrast in temperature!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival in China’s Heilongjiang province.

Nearly 10,000 were involved in cutting massive ice cubes out of the frozen Songhua River in preparation for the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

The ice and snow sculptures require about 590,000 square feet of ice and 492,000 square feet of snow. Each ice cube weighs about 550 pounds.

The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is by far the largest ice and snow art exhibition in the world.

The festival has abundant opportunities for recreation and entertainment, including ice maze, ice hotel and bar, ice rock climbing, iceskating, ice golf, ice archery, ice slides, the Ice Lantern Garden Party, special performances and more!

Festival opened January 5th and will run through mid February.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Animal Profile: Golden Lion Tamarin

Our Animal of the Week this week is the Golden Lion Tamarin. This vibrant South American critter is a perfect mixture between a monkey and a small rodent and stands out in the lush rain forest with its beautiful golden mane.

Size: Weighs an average of 1.5 pounds and average length is 10.3 inches long.
Diet: Omnivorous diet consisting mostly of fruit, lizards, insects and bird's eggs.
Location: Southeastern Brazil
Protection Status: Endangered, there are only an estimated 400 Golden Lion Tamarins left in the wild.
Interesting Facts:
  • Golden Lion Tamarin newborns are generally twins
  • They sleep in different sleeping dens every night (usually tree-hollows) in order to evade predators
  • The Tamarins have a special alarm call for birds flying overhead that alerts other members of the group to seek cover in the dense forest 

Our goal at Little Critterz is to spread the respect of the animal kingdom through education of and interaction with animals. We believe this is to be done by learning about the wondrous world of animals both online and in person at zoos, national parks and aquariums. We also believe respect and protection for animals stems from the admiration of them through real and treasured symbols like this Golden Lion Tamarin miniature porcelain figurine

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

TerraCycle: A New Trend in Recycling

If you have ever seen our blog before, you have probably noticed that we place a large emphasis on recycling unwanted goods and appropriate trash. Recycling is clearly a great way to help out our environment, but it has never been seen as an interactive process. Because after all, when we 'throw away', it never goes away, it ends up in a landfill.

Enter TerraCycle, a company that focuses on re-purposing materials (some not normally known as recyclable) and turning them into usable goods. Take a look at some of their awesome products below!

The interactivity aspect of TerraCycle's vision is highlighted by the brigade programs that the recyclables are funneled into. When signing up for TerraCycle you are asked to join a brigade program, which specifies what type of materials you want to collect. There are over forty different brigades, including cigarette waste, energy bar wrapper, solo cup, diaper packaging, candy wrapper, etc. People are encouraged to join multiple brigades. 

When your waste is ready to be sent in  a shipping label can be downloaded from the TerraCycle website and directions are given for the materials to be sent to the appropriate TerraCycle facility. 

Once the products are received by TerraCycle, points are given to the sender based on the amount of products sent in. At any point the points accumulated can be redeemed for a variety of charitable gifts. Gifts include donations to various organizations and schools. Over the course of the year, individual brigades and TerraCycle as a whole hold competitions where prizes are given based on the amount of materials submitted.

Users are able to track their points, as well as the points of their respective brigades in real time on TerraCycle's website. This is a great way to make recycling fun and competitive!

Check out the website for information on Terracycle's recycled products available for purchase. As well as their groundbreaking cigarette waste program and zero-waste boxes.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Animal Profile: Amur Leopard

To kick off the new year Little Critterz is celebrating the diversity of our wonderful planet by spotlighting a different animal every week! So to start off 2014, we begin with the majestic Amur Leopard of northeastern Asia.

Found in the Primorye region of Russia, the Amur Leopard is the only leopard subspecies that has adapted to a frigid, snowy climate. Like many big cats, the Amur Leopard is an exemplary example of an animal built for hunting. This ferocious feline is known to run at speeds up to 40 miles per hour and can jump ten feet in the air in an effort to capture its prey!

These leopards are characterized as an extremely solitary creature and are known to be very protective of their chosen territory. It is not uncommon for a single Amur Leopard to have a territory of over 100 square miles! Unfortunately though, in the past couple decades, these leopards have lost an estimated 80% of their native territories through harmful activities such as logging and land conservation for farming.

Currently, there are only around 30 Amur Leopards left in the wild. Recently, habitat assessment and anti-poaching measures have been put in place by the Russian Government to help preserve this beautiful animal. While the current situation seems bleak, the recent preservation focus on the Amur Leopard provides new found optimism for the future of this species!

Our goal at Little Critterz is to spread the respect of animals through education of and interaction with animals. We believe this to be done by learning about the wondrous world of animals both online and in person at zoos, national parks and aquariums. We also believe respect, thus protection for animals, stems through admiration of animal, real and treasured symbols, like this Amur Leopard miniature porcelain figurine.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

7 Perfectly Suited Winter Animals

As temperatures keep dropping and clothing layers pile up, it's remarkable to think about how animals can live in frozen tundras with just fat and fur.

These animals, ranging from one of the largest land mammals on Earth to flightless birds, these fascinating creatures are perfectly suited for harsh winter environments.

Polar Bear
One of the largest land mammals on Earth, polar bears are located in Northern Canada, Alaska, Russia and Norway. They are able to live in these extreme temperatures partly because their coat and skin are adapted to retain heat and sunlight.

Get a commemorative polar bear here.

Arctic Fox
Native to the Arctic region, the fox's small body, dense fur, and furry paws are adaptations that are beneficial to these cold temperatures. The arctic fox can even wrap it's large bushy tail around itself for warmth.

Fascinated by this fox? Purchase a figurine here.

Snowy Owl
The Snowy Owl is the largest owl in the arctic and has a wingspan of about 5 feet. A carnivore, this owl is a patient hunter with excellent eye sight. Unlike most owl that are nocturnal, the Snowy Owl is diurnal, meaning it hunts during both the night and day.

Get 'Ghost', the Snowy Owl porcelain figurine here.

Caribou, or reindeer, are well adapted to live in the tundras because of their thick skin and fur. In the winter, the are able to use their hooves to dig through snow to forage for moss and other food.

Every house hold needs a caribou statue. How about this one?

Penguins are aquatic, flightless birds, highly adapted to water. In fact they spend nearly 75% of their life in the water hunting food. Their unmistakable tuxedo is a form of camouflage for protection. From above their back looks black and blends into the dark waters, from below their underside matches the lighter sky.

Want a porcelain token of this fun and stylish social bird, how about this penguin chick or penguin on skis?

Musk Ox
Musk Oxen will reach lengths of about 7 feet, can carry 400-900 pounds and have 2 coat layers; the outer of hair, the inner of wool. This adaptation is what helps the musk ox survive during extreme cold temperatures.

These furry, powerful beings were meant to be admired. Add a musk ox figurine to your collection.

Snowshoe Hare
Not only can the snowshoe hare change its fur color to hide from predators, they also have much larger hind legs than typical hares to act as a sort of snowshoe, allowing them to walk on snow. This is what gave them their common name.

These adorable, sprightly hares in porcelain form are a perfect winter accoutrement for your home.

Animals, after-all are quite admirable!

Happy Wednesday!
-Little Critterz

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Adventure in Botswana: A Trip with LA Zoo

Recently, the Los Angeles  Zoo has begun offering the chance to embark on a real-life safari. Zoo Director, John Lewis, is bringing a group of willing participants on the journey of a lifetime through the countryside of Botswana. The ten day excursion (with additional travel options before or after) takes travelers to various wildlife camps and reserves throughout the country to observe animals in their natural habitat. Among the species native to Botswana are giraffes, baboons, elephants, wildebeests, hippopotamus, lions and hyenas. Highlights of the trip includes stops to the following areas:

Okavango Delta
Considered one of the seven natural wonders of Africa, the Okavango Delta is one of the most varied areas in Botswana as the river directly contrasts with the arid temperature. As a result, a mixture of water-based animals and large herds of various mammals call the region home. An interesting aspect of the Okavango is that all of the water that reaches the delta is either evaporated or transpired and does not flow into any larger body of water. 

Linyanti Wildlife Reserve 

The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve is in one of the most remote and hard-to-get-to regions of Botswana. It contains an enormous population of elephants due to the abundant acacia and mopane forests. The reserve is also world-renowned for its Lions, which have been captured in numerous National Geographic documentaries. 

Any traveler will have the option to extend the trip before, to Cape Town, South Africa, or after to Livingstone and Victoria Fall, Zambia (pictured below), and continue the adventure. 

A percentage of profits for the trip will go directly to the Classic Escape Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and wildlife research throughout Africa. Use this opportunity to give back while exploring one of the most diverse areas on the planet! And you get to travel with a knowledgeable zoo director, ensuring an informative and exciting trip unlike any other!

Visit their website for the full itinerary and other details. For information about booking a spot on the trip call (323) 644-4792.