Archive for June, 2007

The Eagle Has Returned!

June 29, 2007

Great news just a few days before July 4th… The bald eagle has been removed from the list of threatened and endangered species! The bald eagle nearly disappeared from the ‘lower 48’ of the United States several decades ago. It now has a presence in each of the lower 48 states with almost 10,000 nesting pairs. The bald eagles in Alaska have maintained their strength throughout the last century with a population of 50,000 and 70,000 birds.

A news release from the US Interior Department noted the importance of continued vigilance:

“Bald eagles will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Both federal laws prohibit ‘taking’ – killing, selling or otherwise harming eagles, their nests or eggs.”

Bald Eagles are beautiful birds with magnificent white head and tail feathers. Females can weigh up to fourteen pounds and can have a wingspan approaching eight feet. Males are smaller than females. The live near water where they can find fish, so look for bald eagles near rivers and lakes.

Eagles are loyal mates and keep their partners for life. They can build very impressive nests that become bigger and bigger with each passing year. Sometimes they can span ten feet and weigh 1,000 pounds! They can live up to 25 years in the wild. And thankfully with the conservation efforts, more and more of these birds will live long and productive lives.

Bald Eagle Head Shot

Advertisements

Koala: Solitary marsupials that scale eucalyptus trees

June 26, 2007

Everybody loves the koala, and we adore Keelan + Krista Koala (Southern). Our collection includes the koala from the southern part of Australia. With a cooler climate, these koalas have longer and thicker fur compared to the koalas from the north.

Native to Australia, koalas spend virtually their entire lives above the ground perched in trees. Their preferred food is eucalyptus leaves, although they will also eat the leaves of a few other plants. The leaves of the eucalyptus is poisonous to most animals, but koalas can stomach them due to their amazing digestive systems. The koala’s liver removes the toxins!

A distinctive feature of a koala is it’s powerful claw. They have two opposable ‘thumbs’ on its front paws that provide tremendous gripping ability when climbing up the tree. (The hind paws have three ‘thumbs’!) The koalas also have fingerprints, one of the few non-primate mammals with these features. In fact, koala fingerprints are very similar to human fingerprints.

Collectors of Noah’s Pals may have noticed the ‘signature’ paw prints we include on the front of all of the ID Cards. The card for the koala shows you the unique paw print of these neat animals:

Koala ID Card

Meet Hadiah, an Energetic Baby Tiger

June 24, 2007

One of our favorite retailers is the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington. You can find Noah’s Pals in their gift shop, including Timmy + Taylor Tiger.

The zoo has uploaded many wonderful videos of their beautiful animals in action. Here’s an adorable two minute look at a baby tiger cub…

Her name is Hadiah and she was born on December 12, 2006. The cub’s parents are JoJo (mom) and Rakata (dad). The zoo provides a background on Hadiah’s birth, including updates on her development. I particularly enjoyed this entry from 5-16-07 when Hadiah was about five months old:

We put a bone in a box and closed the box. Hadiah attacked the box, and a couple of times seemed spooked by it. Eventually she got it open and got the bone out. She then continued with her assault on the box and paid no attention to the bone. She played with the box for quite awhile, eventually taking it into the water tub to soften it up for the “final kill.” All the toys she has and she’s playing with a cardboard box! Low tech and low price.

Another Cat That Likes to Swim

June 20, 2007

A previous post noted that jaguars are one of the few members of the feline family that likes to swim.

There’s another cat that enjoys getting wet, and his name is Odin:

Olin the White Bengal Tiger

An article from the UK’s Daily Mail provides background on this beautiful white Bengal tiger. He’s a six-year-old male that lives at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Zoo in California.

Like jaguars, and unlike othe felines, tigers enjoy the water. They may be the most powerful swimmer among land-based animals. Since Tigers are based in the hot climates of Asia, they enjoy a dip in rivers and lakes in order to cool down. They will also use wter to hunt prey, since they know that other animals need a drink too.

As the pictures above and below show, Odin is an accomplished swimmer. He was raised at the zoo and his trainer discovered that he liked to chase lumps of meat when they were thrown into a pool.

Odin 2

Remember, tigers are endangered and can use your help to make sure they do not become extinct!

Platypus: Eccentrics of the outback that burrow by day and hunt by night

June 18, 2007

Perhaps the smallest pair in our collection is Pedro + Pamela Platypus. They are certainly our favorite egg-laying, duck-billed, and venomous mammals!

Platypuses live in eastern Australia and like to play at night. They are equally comfortable on land and in water. Almost all mammals give birth to live babies, but the platypus will lay eggs instead. Their appearance is unique — thick fur, wide bills, webbed feet, and a very flat tail.

Most people don’t realize that the male platypus is venomous. He has a groove on his stomach that he uses to move venom from a gland to his back feet. He will then use the spurs on his feet to deliver the venom when he is fighting for territory or mates.

Another interesting anomaly of the platypus is that their bill is sensitive to electric fields. They use electroreception to find worms, crawfish, and shrimp. It’s a good thing they can pick up these electric fields since they keep their eyes, ears, and noses closed when they are swimming. Here are a couple of clips showing the speedy platypus in underwater action:

Noah’s Pals is a top pick by Mr. Dad!

June 15, 2007

In the last few weeks, Noah’s Pals has been honored by several great ratings and testing organizations. And now just in time for Father’s Day, we’ve been recognized by Mr. Dad as a winner of the 2007 Father’s Day Seal of Approval:

“The Noah’s Pals line of animal figures offers fathers a fun and informative way to learn and teach their hildren about the amazing world of animals—their habitats, ecosystems, as well as size and proportion. As ou can tell by the names, all of Noah’s Pals (not just the ones who received the Seal of Approval) are male-female
couples, so they can march into the Ark two-by-two.”

The Mr. Dad Seal of Approval honors products that support fathers and their families. We designed Noah’s Pals to be a collection for the entire family and we’re proud that we’re recognized for this notion. Thank you Mr. Dad!

UPDATE: Janet reminded me that we recently received great feedback from Richard, a father in Toronto. He writes:

“The toys are a great tool for developing my daughter’s knowledge of the world and interest in animals… I’m also glad to say that it gives us something we can both take interest in — I find myself looking up Nyalas and Muntjacs on the internet and I think I’m learning as much as she is!”

Thank you Richard!

Please feel free to share your comments with us too.

No Need to Cry Wolf

June 12, 2007

Our previous post on tigers reflected our worries about endangered animals and the potential for extinction. We need to also share good news when we read it… And there’s great news about wolves in the Rocky Mountains.

While still endangered, wolves have made a nice comeback:

Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains are back from the brink of extinction. Before the westward expansion, wolves were plentiful in the Rockies, but by the early 1990s, only 66 remained. Then, in 1995 and 1996, 66 more were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. Today, scientists estimate that there are more than 1,200 wolves in the Northern Rockies—so many that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is currently considering removing the region’s wolf population from the endangered species list.

We do not have a wolf in our collection, but do have its close cousin the coyote. They are somewhat similar in appearance. Both have fur color that is ‘grizzled’ with shades of gray, white, black, and rust.

The big difference between wolves and coyotes is size. Wolves are 50 to 100 percent larger than coyotes and have a bigger and broader snout, plus larger feet. Coyotes have a more ‘delicate’ appearance, while wolves look stronger. Both are wild animals and should not be treated like dogs even though they are members of the canine family!

Saving the Wild Tiger

June 10, 2007

The Noah’s Pals collection has a focus on conservation and we believe it is vital to protect animal populations so they can live in the wild. The continuing rapid decline of tiger populations worries us. Recently, the major animal conservation organizations published a comprehensive paper titled “Setting Priorities for the Conservation and Recovery of Wild Tigers: 2005-2015.”

Quite simply, the future of tigers in the wild is in grave danger. The ‘wild land’ available for tigers is rapidly diminishing due to human encroachment. Some key facts from the study:

  • Tigers use 40 percent less area than was estimated in the first habitat assessment, completed in 1995 and published in 1997.
  • Just 23 percent of tiger conservation landscapes are protected.
  • Tigers occupy just seven percent of their historic range.

Today, only 6 of 9 tiger subspecies remain — the Bengal, Indochinese, Malayan, Siberian, South China, and Sumatran.  There are fewer than 5,000 tigers in the wild.  You can play a part in helping these largest of all cats.  We recommend that you visit this site — Save the Tiger Fund — where you can learn more about tigers and how you can help to make a difference.

Timmy + Taylor TIGER

Why do cats have whiskers?

June 5, 2007

We have four wonderful members of the “Felidae” (aka “Feline) family in our collection — Jared + Janet JAGUAR, Lance + Linda LION, Shawn + Stephanie SNOW LEOPARD, and Timmy + Taylor TIGER. All felines, including domesticated house cats, have long and stiff whiskers that emerge from under their noses. They can also be found on the ‘wrist’ area on the front legs of felines.

Whiskers can go by another name — vibrissae. They are simply special hairs. Whiskers themselves do not have nerves and feeling, but the follicle at the base of a whisker is very unique. That follicle knows when the whiskers are being bent, even a little bit. Whiskers can detect tiny movements in the air and small vibrations through the ground!

Of course, felines are not the only animals with whiskers. For example, mice have whiskers that they rely upon to avoid felines. If a feline does catch prey, those leg whiskers become useful for handling and positioning the prey. (Or in the case of the domesticated cat, playing with the ball and string.)

Impact Packaging

June 1, 2007

We were recently quoted in P-O-P Times, a journal focused on the best ideas in point-of-purchase promotions. Here’s an excerpt:

The negative space seemed like a positive idea to Caboodle! Toys LLC, New York, when it launched its Noah’s Pals line of built-to-scale pairs of animals out of the biblical Noah’s Ark story. Drawing from the minimalist look of iPod, the company used a simple color image of the product inside, says Steve King, co-founder.

“Each of our boxes contains two animals,” he says. “We have observed, in looking at other product packaging, that a lot of times there would be a lot of noise on the face of the product… We realized that to stand out, the more simplistic image might be better.”

The boxes convey the size of the animals and the tie to the Noah’s Ark story, King says. “We toured a lot of toy stores and took pictures and tried to get a sense of what would stand out… A lot of the other boxed packaging, the colors tended to interfere with one another, and the product itself tended not to stand out.”

We like the bold but simple look of the packaging and we hope you do too!

Noah’s Pals Packaging - Cattle