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Kerri Pajutee

Behold: 10 Exceptionally Tiny Animal Figurines

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Kerri Pajutee

I don’t know about you, but I love tiny versions of normal sized things: miniature dogs, mini cupcakes, tiny hats, Little Sebastian, free sample spoons at ice cream shops, everything. Luckily for me and fellow miniature enthusiasts, there are people like Kerri Pajutee, who creates beautiful and realistic animals at 1:12 scale.

“I was first introduced to miniatures while attending a dollhouse miniatures show in 1987," Kerri Pajutee told us in an email. "I remember being very impressed by some of the talented miniature artisans and the detail they could achieve using polymer clay. Prior to this, I had been sculpting figures/animals in earth clays (i.e., stoneware, porcelain), which is somewhat limiting as to achieving the tiny details needed to construct a miniature, simply due to the nature of the clay. So after attending the show, I purchased some polymer clay and began to experiment with sculpting dog breeds in 1:12 scale. After becoming somewhat comfortable with the medium, I began to add the fiber coat hoping to make the pieces appear more 'realistic.'”

The process starts with wire and aluminum foil wrapped in masking tape to create the basic shape. The wire helps with limbs and the aluminum foil helps build the bulk of the body. Pajutee uses a blended polymer mix of Fimo Classic, Puppen Fimo, and/or Prosculpt. The clay is smoothed over the figure evenly and eyes made of glass or polished rounds are added before oven curing. The sculpt takes several stages and the figure makes multiple trips to the oven before the final curing.

After the final curing and cooling, an X-Acto knife is used to carve out additional details. Next the soon-to-be animal is sanded, wiped with acetone, and bathed in soap and water.

Then, after the figurine is painted with acyclic, it's time to add the fur. The coat can be made of a variety of fibers ranging from alpaca to silk. “I am what you would call a fiber hound and have hundreds of different samples, spools and hanks of various fibers in all colors/shades that I have collected over the years," Pajutee explains. "Fiber can be purchased direct from breeders, Needlepoint shops, or online such as farm website, Etsy or even Ebay.” The fiber coat is applied with tweezers, scissors and glue. 

The process varies from animal to animal, but it usually takes around 8 to 14 hours. The artist generally works in 1:12 scale but sometimes she goes as small as 1:24! See this impossibly tiny golden retriever below.

Surprisingly, cats were originally the hardest to create. After a lot of practice, they became Pajutee’s favorite to make, though, and are the most common request from collectors (and just look at those wittle whiskers).

The props seen in the pictures come from a variety of places. Some come from other miniature artists, but Pajutee will also make her own if she is not able to buy what she needs.

The bad news:

You probably can’t own them. Pajutee can only produce so many figures each year, so the waitlist to order one could take years. If you are still interested, her contact page is here. 

The good news:

There are hundreds of pictures of teeny tiny animals on her website in all their adorable glory. Feel free to peruse and aww. Also, if you are anywhere near Kentucky, you can find some pieces on permanent exhibit in the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniature Collection at Kentucky Gateway Museum.

If you really need to own something tiny and cute, check out this Etsy page for microscopic crocheted animals (because you didn’t realize until right now how badly you needed a tiny sloth in a plastic cube).

All images courtesy of Kerri Pajutee.

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This Octopus Species in Northern Australia Can Hunt on Dry Land
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Most octopuses live in the ocean—but in northern Australia, a small, shallow-water species takes to land in search of food. Abdopus aculeatus is the only octopus that’s specially adapted to walk on dry ground. Using its long, sucker-lined arms, the slimy sea creature pulls itself along the shoreline as it searches tide pools for crabs.

Witness Abdopus aculeatus in action by watching BBC Earth’s video below.

[h/t BBC Earth]

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Weather Watch
Rising Temperatures Are Killing Off African Wild Dogs
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Over the last few decades, images of fluffy white harp seals, polar bears, and penguins have become shorthand for climate change's creeping destruction of our planet. But the poles aren't the only ecosystems in danger. A new study published in the Journal of Animal Ecology finds that rising temperatures near the equator are making it much harder for African wild dogs to survive.

"When people think about climate change affecting wildlife, they mostly think about polar bears," lead researcher Rosie Woodroffe of the Zoological Society of London told The Guardian. "But wild dogs are adapted to the heat—surely they'd be fine."

To find out, Woodroffe and her colleagues analyzed data from packs of African wild dogs (Lycaon pictus) in Kenya, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. The dog packs have been under scientist surveillance for years—some since the late 1980s—and at least one dog per pack is fitted with a radio collar.

The researchers overlaid information about local weather and temperature with data on the dogs' hunting habits, the size of each litter of pups, and how many pups from each litter survived.

These dogs are creatures of habit. Adults rise early and leave the den for a morning hunt. They range over their large territories, chasing antelopes. At midday, when the Sun is highest, they return to their pups with food. They may go out again in the evening as the temperature drops.

But like the polar bears' glaciers, the dogs' environment is gradually heating up. All three countries saw a temperature increase of about 1.8°F over the study period. This may not sound like much, but for the dogs, it was plenty. Between 1989 and 2012, the number of pups per litter in Botswana surviving to their first birthday dropped from 5.1 to 3.3. Dog packs in Zimbabwe saw a 14 percent decrease in pup survival; in Kenya, the rate declined by 31 percent.

"It's really scary," Woodroffe said.

"If you are an animal who makes your living by running around really fast, obviously you are going to get hot. But there are not enough hours in the day anymore that are cool enough to do that. It is possible that some of these big areas will become too hot for wild dogs to exist."

Woodroffe and her colleagues were not anticipating such clear-cut results. "It is shocking and surprising that even right on the equator these effects are being seen," she said. "It illustrates the global impact of climate change." 

[h/t The Guardian]


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