Critter of the Week: Pterodactylus

Meet Terry. She’s a chipper little flyer who would love to scramble up onto your shoulder and nibble your ear (just a little nibble, it tickles).  And could she please, pretty please have a tiny bit of that sandwich?


Terry always likes a snack, especially small morsels like snails, grubs, and worms she digs up.  That sandwich looks quite tempting though, and she won’t turn her nose up at an opportunity to snatch it out of your hand, so keep an eye and a firm hold on it. 😀

She might not look it, but this little pterosaur (not dinosaur), is very good at walking and running around on the ground.  She spends a lot of her time poking her sensitive snout in the dirt for all sorts of burrowing creepy crawlies.  When she feels one, she nabs it with her tiny teeth and gulps it down.  Yum! Continue reading

Critter of the Week: Ceratosaurus

Meet Bowser. Those horns may look intimidating, and his toothy grin can be downright fearsome.  But you know what they say about books and their covers… 😉


There we go, he smells it!  See these nice big strips of jerky?  He’ll love it.  I brought some for you too if you want to give him a special treat.

See him cock his head off to the side a little?  Bowser can see a little bit in front of his nose, but he has trouble seeing very much past those bony ridges in front of his eyes.  He still has better binocular vision than his cousin Alfred though!

Here you go, just take a strip of jerky with these tongs, and we’ll get to see the size of Bowser’s chompers.  Bowser’s teeth are some of the longest for a dinosaur his size.

Yep, hold the tongs just like that, so we keep our fingers out of the way.  There we go!  Good boy Bowser!  Listen to him grunt. 😀

Oh he wants more.  Ok big guy!  Wow, look at the size of those teeth!  Personally, I’m glad he usually keeps his mouth shut…

The teeth on this mount may be extra long, because teeth tend to slip out of the socket when there’s no soft tissue to hold them in, but they’re still super long!  This is a younger individual, so the horns aren’t as big as Bowser’s.  Photo courtesy and copyright of Dr. John Meck.  Obtained from


Bowser always reminds me of a pit bull.  Kinda short (compared to Alfred), thick muscle, big head…he’s the pit bull of Jurassic predators.  He’s buff, he’s tough, and he’ll stop at nothing to protect his special person.

He has an unfortunate reputation for being aggressive and nasty, but animals are only as bad as their owners train them to be.

Give them a good home and healthy training- you’ll have a loyal friend that is sweet and adoring.

Well, I’m not sure how adoring Bowser can be…he’s not exactly the sharpest tack.  But Pete’s trained him well, and he never shows his teeth except when he’s chomping down on a meal.

That’s a good boy Bowser, here’s another piece of jerky for ya. 🙂


Making progress… Continue reading

Critter of the Week: Rhamphorhynchus

Meet Ron. He’s the flying ace.  He’ll swoop from the sky, dive into the water, and swim anywhere for a shiny fish. 🙂


Rrr- just how do you pronounce that?  I wasn’t 100% sure on that myself, so I looked it up on Youtube…

There, mystery solved. 🙂  I wonder if there’s one for all the really hard paleo-critter names out there.  I may have to include something like this from now on until I figure out a better system.

Oh, and before you ask, yes, there is evidence that pterosaurs can swim. 🙂 Ron here seems to spend most of his time in water, which might be why we have so many perfect fossils of this little guy. 🙂

He’s fast though.  It took a whole bucket of fish to entice him to come over for a quick chat.

And there he goes!  Ah well, if you want to know more about these guys, I know a pretty awesome blog post written by the great pterosaur expert, Mark Witton.  It has lots of pretty pictures too!

Making progress…

Drumroll please… Continue reading

Critter of the Week: Brachiosaurus

Meet Elmer. He’s a little shy, and likes staying in his comfort zone, but he’ll be your best giant friend if you give him some greens and a big hug.


The best way to a dino’s heart is through his stomach, as they say.  Well, that’s not really the phrase, but I’m sure it’s just as true, especially when it comes to these long-necked sauropods. 🙂  I think the rough estimate is a solid cube- 5ft x 5ft – of vegetation in a single day to feed one of these guys.

Oh, there’s Elmer, browsing on a few of the trees that grow here in the pasture.  You’d think you’d see him right away, he’s so big.  But his striped pattern is surprisingly good camouflage in that grove of tall conifers.

What’s he looking at…? Oh, here comes Pete on the Kabota. He’ll be joining us here on the platform to feed Elmer.  If you lean over the railing a bit and look down, see that row of big boxes kinda spaced along the wall?  That’s where the big bunches of conifer branches and ferns will go.  They’re in the big shed behind us, the one to the left of the stairs we came up.

And here comes Elmer.  My goodness, he’s fast.  It looks like he’s moving slow, but with those long legs he sure covers ground quickly!  And so quiet…You’d think there’d be the big stomping footsteps you hear in Jurassic Park.

Hey there Elmer!  We have a friend to see you today. 🙂

I just can’t get over how big he is!  What are we, 30 feet up? 40?


It’s hard to grasp how big these guys really are until you’re right next to them.  Come to think of it, that’s the way it is with most animals.

To think that Elmer is as heavy as 5 elephants.  Five!  And not just any elephant.  5 bull African elephants, which are about as big as it gets when it comes to land animals walking around today.

Here’s a video that helps put that into perspective…

So five of those guys is about as heavy as the average humpback whale.  Yes, Elmer here is every bit as big as a whale, and he’s not even the biggest sauropod out there!

Oh, hi Pete, we have a visitor today!

There you are, friend, a nice bunch of ferns you can give Elmer.  Just grab it at the end here, and make sure your fingers are in a nice, tight fist.

That’s it.

Elmer’s teeth are like pruning shears, so we don’t want to lose any fingers today by mistake.

I think he likes you!


Making progress…

I’ve been working on actually finishing the homepage image for a bit now, and I thought I would share my progress so far.

It’s an important part of the site, since it’s the first thing you see, and it’s the “front window” of Pete’s Paleo Petshop.

But it’s also a test.

  • A test for style, to make sure I’m happy with it, and it’ll have the feel I’m going for.
  • A test to see how long it takes me to complete a full illustration. (so far two weeks, but that’s in between the margins of everything else)
  • And a test to make sure you like what you see as well.  After all, this may be an ambitious idea and project, but the long-term goal is to earn a passive income in a way that doesn’t take time from my family.

So here is two weeks of sporadic sketching between posts, child herding, and making sure the house doesn’t fall apart. 😛  (I exaggerate, but truly, being a stay-at-home mom takes quite a bit more work than a lot of people think 🙂 )


Compared to the current homepage…You’ll notice the little saber-tooth cub lost his fangs.  They’re just hidden behind extra large lips.  Turns out only tusks are exposed, so all saber-tooth cats should have their teeth nicely sheathed. 🙂

I did look at reference pictures, but research was kept to a minimum since most of these animals are not in the Jurassic period.  I’ll update the picture as I get to the appropriate periods, which may take a while. 😛

home page picture

Coming Next Week…

I hope you don’t mind getting wet, because this swimming critter loves to splash! 🙂

Share your guess in the comments! She’s one of the critters over on the critter page. 🙂

Setting up Expectations


Pete’s Paleo Petshop is set in a world where you can visit the shop to meet your very own prehistoric friend.  At the moment time has stopped in the Jurassic period, the “golden age” of the dinosaurs, but this is only the beginning.  Over time we’ll explore every period of Earth’s history, and meet all sorts of cool critters- even plants and bacteria are amazing if you take a closer look!

The first picture book will look through the eyes of 4-year-old Danny as he goes to the pet shop with his family.  They’re looking for a pet that’s small and quiet- hard to find in an age of giants!  But picture books are harder to make than you’d think, especially since I want to do it right.  So we’ll get to explore the world, meet the characters, and have other adventures (like short stories) while I work on writing and illustrating the book.  🙂

As a reader, I’ve always loved diving into the world.  I was (and still am) a huge fan of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.  I was the sort of girl who memorized all the spells in Harry’s spell book, tried learning Elvish, and pinched my ears in the hopes they might get just a tiny bit more pointy on the ends.  😛 True story.

I fell in love with the worlds between the pages, and I wanted more of that.  I’d like to give you that same experience.  (Ok, I kinda wish I had my own pet dinosaur too.)

I have so many ideas for exploring the world!

  • Interviews with Pete & the critters
  • Adventures at the shop with Pete & the critters
  • Pamphlets and flyers from the shop to answer important questions on prehistoric animal care.  Just like in a real pet shop 🙂
  • Pete’s Postcards from the shop.  Get a peak into Pete’s mailbox and his weekly tips on handling your prehistoric pet.  This way you won’t miss any new posts, and you’ll get a look behind-the-scenes as I work on the book.
  • And more!  I have lots of ideas, but this list is a good start.  Of course, I’d love to know what you want.  🙂


It’s always great to learn something while we’re having a little fun.  So the blog will be a place we can chit chat a couple times a week about anything prehistoric or artistic.  But just so I don’t get too carried away, here’s the jist of what I’ll be sharing with you.

  • Learn about prehistoric critters, and why do they matter anyway?
  • Practice art techniques, especially as they relate to paleoart.
  • Cool stuff I find in my research.
  • Updates on my process and (hopefully) progress as I work to success!
  • Reviews on books or other things that I use and love.  They help inspire me and help me do what I do.  And if it’s something you would like too, then all the more reason to spread the love.  🙂

That about sums it up.  But really, I just want to create a little something that will brighten your day.  There’s plenty enough darkness and despair in the world, and life is too short and precious to dwell on it.  I’m not saying to ignore it entirely, but why not take joy in the beauty of life!

What do you like about dinosaurs and art?  What would you like to talk about?  Let me know in the comments!  I’d love to here from you.  🙂

Pete’s Paleo Petshop: Beta is Underway!

A lot’s been going on in the past few months.  I’ve been keeping things pretty quiet so far, but I can’t stand it any longer.  It’s about time we get out of the shell and hatch already!  Now the website is about as naked and ugly as a newly hatched parakeet, but everybody’s gotta start somewhere right?  So I’ll get right to the point and tell you what I’ve been up to around here.


  • Lots of critters on the critter page, with pictures!  I still have profiles to update and pictures to add, so come back once a week to see another critter (I’m planning Mondays or Fridays, not sure yet).
  • I have an about page!  I plan on tweaking this to be a “start here” sort of page as I write more blog posts.  How much do you want to know about me anyway?  😛
  • Home page. A peak into the shop.  This picture is a messy placeholder until I can polish it up with shading and all that good stuff.


This week’s goal…

  • add another critter profile picture.  I’m thinking something with feathers…can you guess which one it is? 😀

Bonus Question:

Any thoughts on the image above?  Maybe all it needs is some lighting to tie it all together, but what do you think?  I want to represent many critters from many time periods.  🙂


Thank you so much for visiting my little corner of the internet.  It really means a lot to me.  🙂