Critter of the Month: Allosaurus

Meet Alfred.  The lion of the Jurassic!  The prince of the Mesozoic! The…oh, there he goes after another butterfly.  All he needs to be happy in life is his food, his chew toy, and a nice long nap.





Alfred looked up, head cocked to one side so that one yellow eye focused on a shimmering red box against the concrete wall of his paddock. He sat heavily on his haunches, watching the glinting snowflakes in the sunshine, and blinked in surprise when it moved.

Like an alligator shifting its scaly bulk, Alfred rose up on his strong hind legs and stepped forward, nostrils flaring as he sniffed the air. A sweet, coppery tang filled his sinuses, and a gurgle almost like a purr escaped the soft scales of his throat. He held his three-clawed hands close to his body as he approached the treasure, waiting in the shadow of a ginkgo tree. When the box did not move, he nudged it gently with the tip of his golden snout.

The red box jumped. Alfred snapped at it with lightning jaws, but they closed on nothing but air. His target rose above his head, and he heard excited voices. With all his strength he threw his body into the air. His teeth closed and ripped into a thing that crumpled. His claws raked into the frail shell as he landed heavily back to the ground, no prize could escape those curved talons.

With all the ferocity of a child on Christmas morning his claws and teeth ripped the bright wrapping paper and tore into the cardboard box. Laughter distracted him, and he looked up to the platform that stood outside the wall. Faces he recognized looked down at him, human faces, shining with smiles and the laughter in their high voices.

Alfred returned his attention to the box. With surprising gentleness for an animal of his size and strength, he hooked the teeth of his lower jaw under the string wrapped around the box. Carefully he lifted his tattered prize, and carried it high and proud back to his private fern grove.

Alfred Xmas2018_flat.jpg



Making progress…

Happy Holidays! I hope you’ve been having a safe, restful, and joyful holiday season, and that you are ready for a fresh start this new year. 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this little story. I had fun illustrating Alfred’s little Christmas surprise. 😀 Can you guess what was in it?

Here’s the picture that inspired it. Animals at the zoo get to enjoy some holiday cheer too! 😀

Picture not mine. If you know who needs proper credit, please let me know! 

Do you have any big plans for the new year? I’ll share mine. 🙂

  • Put together short story anthology
  • Complete at least 3 full illustrations
  • Finish material for presentation at the library (includes one complete illustration)
  • Add new critters to the shop!

And that’s it for now! I’ve heard that if you keep it to just a few goals it’s a lot more manageable. I’m hoping to have these tasks done by the halfway point of the year, so we’ll see. I know I can at least get 3 out of these done! 😀

Thank you so much for your support and feedback. It really means a lot to me, and I’m really looking forward to another great year full of cute prehistoric critters with you. 🙂



Coming Feb 1st…

This fearsome little critter has a heart of gold that is bigger than he is!

Share your guess in the comments! Check out my Instagram @paleopetshop for hints on who he might be. 😀

20 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Allosaurus

  1. Hi, there! I think the next COTM is Tango the Archaeopteryx. Also, did you forget to give him back and white feathers? That should be his color scheme. So, you could give him a redesign.


    1. Tango has a combo of white breast feathers and blue-black feathers throughout most of his body. He has a bit of sheen to them in the light that can look blue, rather like grackles. Pure black is awful in a painting, and usually looks a lot more dull and flat than blue-black, so part of the bluish tint is an artistic choice.


      1. I see, but try to correct the reply by putting “chest” instead. Is Tango the next COTM? I want to know.

        In the meantime, you could work on Aurora the Aurornis so that Tango isn’t alone.


  2. Im sorry Douglas but this story might take the cake. 😥

    I love how the story just started with “Thud.” I don’t know why though 😂

    I am sure you can easily achieve your goals for this year!

    I am again late for the COTM, been bombarded by schoolwork lately 😂 Next on COTM train is *drumroll* Twig! Or at least I think he is.


    1. It’s great to see you here Kaprosaurus! Lol, I’m glad you like the story! 😀 I almost got rid of the “thud”, but I’m glad I kept it. What would’ve made him look up? 😀

      Thank you for the encouragement! I know for sure I’ll at least accomplish some of them, it’s the 3 or more complete illustrations I’m hoping to finish on time. That’ll be some great progress! 🙂

      Lol, you’re only late if you don’t show up until the next critter is featured! 😀 Either way I’m always happy to see you here. 🙂

      Nope! It’s a different critter next month. 😀


    1. Thank so much for stopping by!

      Introducing a new critter to the shop takes a lot of time and research. Time that can be used to make progress on the picture book I am working on. So new creatures featured here on the site are few and far between.

      Now a feature as a quick sketch in my Instagram, that’s different! I welcome all suggestions, and if you follow my Instagram @paleopetshop you just might see one of your suggestions there. 🙂

      The critters on Instagram are more likely to be introduced to the Paleo Petshop a little sooner than a critter that hasn’t appeared on my Instagram before. 🙂 So they’ll get officially introduced here on the site eventually. 🙂


          1. I may be wrong, but I don’t think you need an Instagram account to go on the site and view someone’s public feed. My name on Instagram is @paleopetshop, so you should be able to find me by going on the Instagram website and searching for that name. My feed can also be seen here on the home page. 🙂


  3. Hi, I’m glad you are still active. Fan suggestion: could you surprise us with two creatures every two weeks? Check the home page for more. You could try to do Monolophosaurus (call her Monica).


    1. Hi Paleoteen, thank you for stopping by! I publish a new post on the 1st of every month, so it would be pretty hard to do 2 new creatures a month. I do plan on adding more new creatures this year though, so you’ll have to check back in on the 1st of each month to see who the critter of the month is. It just might be a new one! 😀


  4. Cute! Even dinosaurs get Christmas presents. 😛 Heh, I could just imagine Alfred’s heavy, reptilian movements as he nudged and leaped after the box. So if I’m getting the story correctly, the people above Alfred were lowering the box down with some sort of string, which is why it “jumped” above his head all of a sudden? And it seems like the present is a scrumptious, meaty treat? 😀

    When I read “watching the glinting snowflakes in the sunshine,” I was about to ask if it snowed in the Jurassic, but I just realized that you’re talking about the snowflake pattern on the gift wrapping. 😛 I like the description, but maybe it would help to make it more obvious that the snowflakes are just part of the design on the present?

    The illustration is a great bonus! You’re really developing a good perception of muscle and anatomy–I like how chunky and lizard-like he looks. Must be hard to try and get that right when you can’t look at a living dinosaur! It’s hard enough with dodo birds. 😛 Good job shading and highlighting the present, too–looks nice and crinkly. 🙂 Really the only pointer I have is that, in comparison to the illustration on Alfred’s critter profile, his wrist seems to kind of disappear into his arm.

    My resolution? Finish and publish my dodo comic. 😀 We can do this! *fist bump*

    Let’s see…it sounds like the next critter of the week is going to be Opie. 🙂


    1. Hi Brownie, thank you for stopping by! I’m glad you liked the story. 😀 You’re right on the people having the present on a string. Just a red box sitting there would draw his attention eventually once the smell got a bit stronger (i.e. spoiled meat), but Pete wanted to have a bit of fun too. A pinata present makes everything more interesting for everyone, and keeps Alfred’s domestic environment stimulating for his little dinosaur brain (which is actually not too bad for a dino). Lol, those are the type of words zoos tend to use for these sorts of things. Basically, it keeps the critters active and interested, and gives spectators a taste of wild behaviors. 🙂

      The illustration is actually what inspired the story, to tell the truth. I almost posted this with no story, but I couldn’t do that, and threw together a short story last minute lol. I’m glad you enjoyed it! It’s not my best, but not too bad for the time I had. 😀 With the musculature it helps to find a few really great artists who know a lot more about anatomy than I do. I look at crocs and birds too, but try not to follow them too closely. It also helps that I’ve drawn Alfred quite a few times now, so I’m a little more comfortable with his anatomy. 😀

      Yeah, I may have drawn his fingers just a little too long here. I always have trouble with the hand and wrist part, because in a lot of reptiles it almost looks like an inflated glove. 😛 His hand and wrist are there, just not very clearly defined.

      Good luck on your goal! We have to cheer each other on with these things! 😀

      Opie is not the next COTM. Guess again. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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