Critter of the Month: Scutellosaurus

Meet Skittles.  She might be all hard and pebbly on the outside, but on the inside she wants nothing more than a nice warm hug.  Scratch just a little in between those rocky scutes, and she’ll roll on her back so you can rub her smooth, soft belly scales.



The tips of her clawed toes softly scratched stone as she walked. Her head tilted this way and that, like a lizard, large eyes wide as she stared at the straight, dead trees and clean, flat ground. Shiny loops and ledges stuck out from smooth, white walls. Stone? She sniffed the air. Stinging, acidic, not natural, but underneath it was the scent of warm earth.

She raised her head and body as high as she could. The strange walls had flat tops, and when she peered over the edge she saw capsules clear as water. Each one had different colored pebbles and white sand beneath the reflective surface, but the scent did not come from them. Her small beak tapped the stone rim as she walked along the wall, straining to find the source of nutty earth that made her breathe faster with anticipation.

Metal scraped against stone when her nose bumped into something light and cold. But what she bumped into didn’t matter, because that smell! Spicy, full, warm…her scaly belly grumbled.

Skittles jump

She stepped away from the wall and sat back on her haunches, short arms held close to her sides. She gazed at the high ridge first with one eye, then the other, coiled her feet underneath her, and pounced! She launched into the air like a strange, reptilian kangaroo, her long tail swinging wildly for balance as she crashed onto the flat top of the wall.

Trays slid, the clear canisters shattered, colored pebbles and sand spilled everywhere. She shook off gleaming, sharp shards from her armored back, and found a brown biscuit in the chaos of pebbles- no, beans- and sweet sand that littered the stone top of the wall. She ate the biscuit with relish, still warm in the center, and looked for Skittles slipanother.

“Skittles!” Her head whipped around at the sharp voice, and saw the man walking towards her. “How did you even get in here?” She quickly nabbed another biscuit and jumped down onto the floor, sliding on beans, a wire rack, and even more biscuits. She gathered a few in her arms, swiped at the man with her bone-studded tail, and sprinted across the room before he had a chance to take her treasures.

The man jumped back to avoid the heavy tail and watched as the small dinosaur ran down the hall and out the pet door. “So that’s how she’s been getting in. How’d she learn that?” He looked at the mess of beans, sugar, crockery, and biscuits, and shook his head. “Well now I know who keeps eating all the biscuits.”


Making progress…

This month went quite well, all things considered, and I’m quite pleased with the progress! As you can see on my handy little chart down below, things are looking quite a bit more colorful. All the short stories are polished and ready for publishing, all profile illustrations are complete, and I’ve put a pretty big dent in the sketches accompanying each story. 🙂

Anthology progress chart_flat4

I’ve wanted to bring back weekly posts for a long time. Posting once a month was necessary for a while due to pregnancy, babies, and all the lovely chaos that goes along with tiny bundles of joy and chronic sleep deprivation…but I’ve always planned to go back to the weekly posts, and I think I’ve figured out how to do it. 🙂

We’ll have Fossil Friday! (or something like that. I haven’t figured out what to call it yet) Each Friday that does not fall on the same week as a Critter of the Month post will feature a new Jurassic creature, dinosaur or otherwise. The posts will be simple field-guide-style articles about the featured creature, and the creature illustration accompanying the posts will be similar to the style of critters in the progress chart above.

I plan on grouping the critters by formation. For example, I’ll start with Scutellosaurus, and then feature other creatures from the Kayenta formation it was discovered in. This will make it easier to organize for me, and also show more of the place it comes from.

It always bugs me that dinosaurs are usually shown in isolation (including my own illustrations!). Sure there might be a few plants, and perhaps a lizard scurrying away, or the featured dinosaur either running away from or chasing another dinosaur…But the field-guide stuff doesn’t usually have much about what things where actually like. And aside from Wikipedia (when you search for specific formations), there are no websites that actually give a good overview of which dinosaurs and other animals lived in the same place and time.

Really, I’ve tried looking for lists of Jurassic creatures, and the best I could find was a list of dinosaurs. Which is great for dinosaurs, but not very helpful when I was trying to find the other creatures that lived alongside them. So the weekly features will also be a handy list for me of all the Jurassic critters I can add to the shop. 😀

I was so excited for this that I went ahead and made the first Fossil Fun post! Find out all about Scutellosaurus and where it lived by clicking on the jumping dino below! 😀



Coming Next Month…

This small dinosaur likes to dance and sing with her friends. 😉

Share your guess in the comments! 🙂

5 thoughts on “Critter of the Month: Scutellosaurus

  1. I wonder how Pete’s going to keep his biscuits safe now! The illustrations are so cute. 😀 Haha, I can just imagine a little animation of Skittles taking that flying leap.

    I’m excited for Fossil Friday! Great way to “tour” the shop. Will there be a chibi dino every week? :3


  2. That’s awesome! I’ve been wanting her to get a post on the blog for a long time, even when she was under the name Pearl. This is a good thing.
    Here is a list of vertebrate animals of the Kayenta Formation with a given genus name:
    Coelophysis (formerly Megapnosaurus)

    Of these 17, two are already in the shop, and we can easily scrap out Scutellosaurus for Fossil Friday, as it is the first to get this profile. Because the Scelidosaurus and Oligokyphus specimens haven’t been given a species name, they can wait for a profile. And I don’t think Coelophysis needs one yet, because it is often viewed as a Triassic animal. And for Dilophosaurus, it can either have a post for this month or not. I can narrow down to either 13 or 12 animals that can have a FF post for this month. If I had to pick them, then I would go with Eocaecilia, Calsoyasuchus, Dilophosaurus (or Sarahsaurus), and Dinnebitodon. But I’d feel sorry for Kayentachelys and Rhamphinion, so I’ll let you choose which to give FF posts for this month. I’d like to know what’s next for this FF.


  3. Hi. I like how you went back to Skittles for this months. For some other Kayenta Formation creatures, I’d like to see Kayentavenator, Sarahsaurus, Kayentachelys, Rhamphinion, Protosuchus, and Seitaad. Let me guess, is Nina next?


    1. Thank you, I’m glad you like her! She’s by far one of my favorite critters in the shop. 🙂 And yes, I will be introducing all the animals from the Kayenta formation, including Kayentavenator, and the little frog and turtle. I’ll add an environment sketch and a few sketches of the insects too. I might even add a few sketches of local plants if I can find anything definite in my research. 🙂

      And yes! Nina the Nanosaurus is next. 🙂


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