Critter of the Month: Juramaia

Meet Maya.  She’s a sweet little fuzzball who loves nothing more than to curl up in your lap.  At least during the day.  When the sun goes down, that’s when the party starts!

Maya update2.jpg



I have a confession to make. I always assumed that Juramaia was tiny. The reconstructions make it look a bit like a rat, and the modern-day comparisons are always to shrews. So she’s basically a prehistoric squirrel-rat-thing right?

I was wrong!

It all started when I wanted to update Maya’s picture.  I was looking for the original file so I could at least put Maya on the rectangular backgrounds I’ve been doing, because I still quite like the watercolor…but I couldn’t find it anywhere, and the original watercolor had some additions made courtesy of my toddler. 😦

No biggie, I thought, I’ll just start working on a brand new one for the next time Maya gets her turn again. I was planning on sharing a bunch of cute sketches of sleeping and midnight-party Maya anyway, and I figured I could fix up one of them into an updated profile at some point.

So I found some pictures of sugar gliders and a few tree shrews…


(I don’t own any of the pictures, just found them on a search, so if you know who to credit it would be great if you’d let me know please!)

Adorable aren’t they? That last picture is a tree shrew by the way, and probably pretty close to what Juramaia might’ve looked like.

I really liked the idea of having a few sketches of Maya being held by someone, for size reference, and before I started drawing I figured I’d better look up exactly how big she is…

And that’s when I discovered she’s much closer in size to a large cat or raccoon than a squirrel.

Just her head is 22cm long, or 8 1/2 inches…the width of a standard sheet of paper.  Her entire body, from the tip of her snout to the base of her tail, is roughly 80-100cm long.  We’ll guesstimate 80cm since Maya is a little female, which is 31 1/2 inches. Go take a look at your front door and how wide it is, there are non-standard door sizes of course (and I can only speak for American standard lol ), but my front door is 35 inches wide. Which really gave me a little perspective on how big Maya really is. The fossil doesn’t preserve a tail, but it’s probably safe to bet it’s at least as long as the body is.

So, what I should be looking at are pictures of Coatimundis!


This adorable fuzzball…

Photo from Wikimedia commons
Photo copyright to Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire via Zuma Press

Coatimundi are a nice reference because of the similar snout shape and size. They’re relatives of raccoons, and excellent climbers like little Maya, though Maya likes to stay up in the trees where it’s safer from large dinosaurs. 🙂

Speaking of Maya, here she is now!

Maya update2
Hello Maya! Did you have a nice nap?
cuddle with Maya.jpg
Pete let me bring Maya out today. 😀 I really should draw more “self portraits” with cute prehistoric critters. 😀



Making progress…


It’s been a good month, and it’s good to see you here, thank you for dropping by!

Over the months I’ve been posting a short story to accompany our Critter of the Month, I’ve collected 14 short stories.  The earlier ones are getting a nice face lift where required, so depending on how happy I am with them once they get their final edits I may include all of them or pick out 12 of the best ones. I haven’t decided yet.

The collection will include a full color portrait of the featured character and a few “ink” illustrations scattered throughout. So the plan is to be done and ready to publish before the Christmas chaos sets in!

As I get closer to finishing I’ll start sharing little sneak peaks here. 🙂


Coming Oct. 1st…

This critter loves to cuddle. Unfortunately it feels a bit like hugging a spiky boulder. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Juramaia

  1. Gosh, I had no idea little–ahem–big Maya was so huge! That’s amazing! I think I actually really like the idea of a house-cat-sized Juramaia, though. I don’t think I had ever seen a coatimundis before, but they look really cool. 😀 And the illustrations are so cute! I especially like the second one–you should do more self-portraits of you holding prehistoric critters. Is Maya still nocturnal? What’s her closest living relative?

    And wow, you already have 14 stories written! That’s so exciting! I can’t wait to be able to buy a copy, heehee.


    1. Hi Brownie! It’s good to see you here!

      Hehe, I’m glad you like my little sketches. Do I need an excuse to draw myself with prehistoric critters and live out my fantasy through my sketches? LOL Maybe, but I enjoyed it so much you can definitely expect to see more of Pete, myself, or any more of the staff here at the Petshop interacting with the critters. 😀 Plus I need the practice drawing humans so I get a little more comfortable with it. 🙂

      In all honesty I need to do more research on Juramaia for the next go round. Coatimundis are daytime critters (vs their night owl cousin the raccoon), so I need to see if there are any papers speculating on the subject. That would effect her colors a lot, so depending on what I find she may get a complete makeover for the next time she cycles through.

      As far as I know she doesn’t have any living relatives though…just guesstimated comparisons with animals in a similar ecological niche based on her size and tree-climbing skills. 🙂 Since she’s not one of the primary animals in the picture book I haven’t studied her that closely. She’s from China, and I don’t think any of my primary critters are from there, so I can’t use her as a background critter either.

      I’m excited about the anthology too! I’m totally going to buy a copy for myself so I can put it on the shelf and look at it. 😀
      Lol, writers call it a vanity shelf, but I think it’s so much more than that. It’s something physical that I can touch and know I made it. 😀 I can hardly wait! Choosing which stories and how many to put in is hard though! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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