*notcot - 12.27.12 , 13:30 - 0 Notes

Natalya Zahn & Oscar to Bucky

zahnbucky0.jpg I was at a loss for words as i took these pictures. The most incredibly sweet package came for Bucky today. Like mind blowing amazing. Our favorite Natural Illustrator, Natalya Zahn, and her gorgeous Rhodesian Ridgeback, Oscar, created the most thoughtful and touching package of goodies for us. From Perfect Pumpkin Pup-Treats, complete with recipe… to BUCKY WRAPPING PAPER filled with illustrations of some of his instagramed puppy moments… and a USB key with the originals and more! I can’t imagine a more beautiful way to remember our adorable NOTpuppy’s precious puppy time as he gets bigger so so fast! Take a peek at all of the loveliness on the next page!

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*rugenius - 10.28.12 , 14:10 - 2 Notes

More Than Human by Tim Flach

book.jpg The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

The latest book from Tim Flach has the loaded title “More Than Human” and is based on the artist’s photo series that explores the relationship between humans and animals. The book is a beautiful collection of hundreds of stunning images of a wide range of incredible creatures. In addition to the book, Flach’s ‘More Than Human’ series will also be the basis of a new show at the Osborne Samuel gallery this December and we were invited to his East London studio for a launch to celebrate the new book!

I actually discovered this amazing project through my work at the aquarium at the Horniman Museum & Gardens in London, as some of the aquarium’s jellyfish feature in the series! Here are a few photos of the photographer at work behind the scenes at the Horniman aquarium (and the stunning images he captured!). More highlights from the launch, images from the book and behind the scenes photos on the next page!

The shoot sounds like an incredible experience, bringing snakes, bats and other creatures to Flach’s Shoreditch studio as well as shooting on location at nearby sites like the Horniman as well as a wide range of locations internationally. The resulting photo series captures the beauty and individuality of its subjects and draws your eye into the beauty in the detail and structure of the individual. More highlights from the launch and photo series on the next page!

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*rugenius - 10.03.12 , 09:15 - 1 Notes

Bob Croslin’s Bird Series

bcbarnswallow.jpg The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

The photographs that make up this bird series from photographer Bob Croslin are striking. With clean black backgrounds and incredibly sharp focus, there are no distractions from the beautiful features of Croslin’s avian subjects. The series captures injured animals from The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in the Gulf Coast of Florida. The sanctuary has been helping injured birds for 40 years and has rehabilitated thousands of individuals and the species range from delicate swallows to the heftier spoonbills and pelicans. I love how the individuals look so composed, almost defiant in their portraits. See some more of our favorite images from the series on the next page!

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*rugenius - 09.16.12 , 07:11 - 0 Notes

The Maras of ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

maramainpic.jpg The latest from London-based editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw.

When you first see a Mara or Patagonian cavy (Dolichotis patagonum), it’s hard to know what to make of it. It looks like a chimerical creature, part rabbit, part deer with it’s hunched posture and long slender legs. But the mara is neither! They are actually rodents and most closely related to guinea pigs. Those long deer-like legs are adaptations for running and even have hoof-like claws on the hind feet! All advantageous for foraging in their native Argentine grasslands. These little creatures can reach speeds of 45 kilometres per hour.

Maras are one of the few mammals species that appear to be truly monogamous, pairing for life and with pairs generally avoiding and fending off others of the same species. Yet curiously, maras raise their young together in communal creches! Like guinea pigs, the babies (usually 2) are born well developed with their eyes open.

We encountered this lot at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, where maras are one of three species which have more or less free range throughout the park. It’s a great place to encounter them and it’s fascinating to watch them play and forage among and between all of the other animal enclosures. We spotted a new baby too, which was the size of a young rabbit (and extremely cute!). More photos on the next page and you can find out more about these charming little creatures from ARKive!

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*rugenius - 08.09.12 , 08:00 - 0 Notes

Todd Forsgren’s Ornithological Photographs

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

It’s an unusual sight for most of us, beautiful birds captured on camera, not in the freedom of flight, but tangled in the confines of mist nets. Photographer Todd Forsgren captures birds in unusual poses. Inspired by the work of Audubon, bird-watcher Forsgren’s photos shows fascinating bird species captured in mist nets, the thin barely visible nets that act like huge spiderwebs used by researchers to collect data on birds.

Unlike Audubon’s original subjects which were shot, stuffed/mounted, then painted, Forsgren’s subjects are only briefly captured by researchers before being released (after being weighed, measured and given leg rings). The photographs are poignant and beautiful glimpses at some rarely seen species in often awkward poses, which Forsgren describes as the “fragile and embarrassing moment before they disappear back into the woods, and into data”. Beautiful! See more selections from the series on the next page!

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*rugenius - 07.05.12 , 01:15 - 0 Notes

Ross Penrose: Inside Nature’s Giants

skeletal1.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw as she checks out the press preview of New Designers 2012 Part 2, which is open to the public from July 4th - 7th.

For his BA Graphic Design course at Plymouth College of Art, Ross Penrose created a line of merchandise inspired by Channel 4’s Inside Nature’s Giants series. Ross came up with the idea when watching the fascinating anatomical series (as we all do!). I love the detailing of his work. The beautiful scale models are pre-laser cut on sheets of plywood (with gorgeous detailing!) and all come together in a single pack including a hardcover book of information about the anatomy of the species you construct! More photos on the next page.

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*rugenius - 07.04.12 , 12:55 - 0 Notes

Butterflies on Show at Hampton Court

butterfly.jpg A little botanical inspiration from our London-based editor Justine Aw, who visited this year’s RHS Hampton Court, which is open to the public from July 3rd to 8th.

Butterflies featured prominently at this year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. Two very different show gardens included butterflies in their displays, combining lepidoptera with the plants to communicate rather different messages!

Butterfly Jungles Transitions designed by Paul Allen, Lucy Hughesdon & Lydia Harvey and built by Shoots & Leaves. The beautiful garden works both as a garden and a habitat to support pollinators and which benefit both adult butterflies and their caterpillar. The garden features butterfly friendly planting such as wildflowers to prairie-style and exotic planting as well as a beautiful tropical glasshouse filled with exotic butterflies in a jungle-style habitat that is filled of nectar rich species as well as food plants.

Las Mariposas (Hopes of a Nicaraguan girl), an unusual garden designed by Robert Kennett and built by Greenhaven Landscapes focuses less on the entomology and more on the symbolism of butterflies, representing Amnesty International’s Butterflies of Hope campaign for women in Nicaragua, contrasting between the muted colors of the grasses surrounding the bright pink cube and the vibrant colors of the plants and butterflies within.

More photos of both of this year’s butterfly-featuring show gardens on the next page!

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*rugenius - 06.29.12 , 14:06 - 0 Notes

Tiny Pheasant Chicks!

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The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw as she shares some of her work with London’s largest city farm, Mudchute Park & Farm.

We’ve had Wyandotte chicks and little mandarin ducklings, but the latest brood are the tiniest little precocious chicks yet. Fitting comfortably in an espresso cup, the latest arrivals are golden pheasants (Chrysolophus pictus), an ornamental breed native to the forests in mountainous areas of western China.

You can also see the little chicks on the Mudchute Farm blog and be sure to visit the them at the farm, where they are currently living in a brooder near Pets Corner. Lots of hatching pics and video on the next page!

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*rugenius - 06.20.12 , 13:02 - 0 Notes

Raphael Kim’s Rotifer Farm

rotimain.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw as she checks out the press preview of Show RCA 2012. The show opens to the public on the 20th of June and closes on the 1st of July.

Love this project from Raphael Kim, a fellow former biologist, Kim’s project is not only a beautiful piece to look at, but also biologically fascinating! His Rotifer Farm is all about interactions between microbial communities and people. As Kim points out, we have few conscious interactions with this incredible diversity of creatures (the only time we even notice them is usually when you come down with a stomach bug!).

Rotifer Farm is a home designed to explore interactions between humans and this microscopic world of rotifers. Rotifers are a group of considerable scientific interest on account of their incredible hardiness as well as fascinating locomotion (via coronal cilia), parthenogenetic reproduction. However, they’re not a group we consciously interact with much outside of the lab. Kim’s Rotifer Farm takes the microbial communities outside of the lab creating an intermediate space between the world of research labs and our everyday lives, creating a more tangible experience.

The farm is organized in a number of different circuits with different developmental stages (including those pretty pink eggs) and comes with pipettes for moving your little rotifer friends from one section to the next. Raphael even went to spend a few months with a rotifer specialist in Okinawa, where he obtained some of these incredible images and videos of rotifers feeding and glowing.

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*rugenius - 06.18.12 , 20:46 - 0 Notes

Illustrations by Sophie Alice Wiltshire

illmug0.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw as she checks out the press preview of Show RCA 2012. The show opens to the public on the 20th of June and closes on the 1st of July.

Another highlight from Show RCA 2012, is the work of ceramist and illustrator Sophie Alice Wiltshire. Wiltshire’s beautiful illustrations make gorgeous mugs and stunning tiles! Her illustrations are inspired by visits to the incredible spirit collections at the Natural History Museum, London (which are my favorite collection there too!). More photos of her beautiful natural history inspired pieces on the next page!

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*rugenius - , 16:22 - 0 Notes

Jon C Flint’s Bank of Morals

bankofmorals-3.jpg The latest from London-based editor, Justine Aw at the Central Saint Martins 2012 Degree Shows.

Jon C Flint’s Bank of Morals (Moral Wealth vessel number: bk001) caught my eye with its beautiful glass containers filled with different colored fluids and all focused on a single succulent. In addition to being visually stunning, the piece illustrates proverbial banking solutions. Jon’s moral wealth vessel is designed for the money or jade plant, whose growth is a reflection of your morals. The three vessels feed the plant different types of water depending on your spending and an imbalance between them will cause your money plant to suffer (too much spending on luxuuries and yourself, water containing toxins will flow into the vessel, but spending on hope and charity cause mineral rich water to flow into the vessel.) See lots of pictures on the next page!

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*rugenius - , 07:28 - 0 Notes

How to Hatch Your Own Eggs

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This post is sponsored by Bing. Only Bing brings the best search and the best people from your favorite social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, together to help you spend less time searching and more time doing. ┬áIt’s amazing what you can do when your friends are part of your search.

Lately, you’ve seen our Wyandotte Chicks and our Mandarin Duckling swimming ~ our incredible editor and resident zoologist, Justine Aw, has been busy adding poultry hatching and running a nursery for adorable baby chicks and ducks at home on top of her busy tasks with NOTCOT lately! So when Bing approached us to sponsor posts to share some of our expertise, this seemed like an amazing opportunity to share what the whole team here at NOTCOT has been learning about how to hatch poultry from Justine! So read on to see what she has to teach us! (As well as lots of fun pictures and videos!)

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*rugenius - 06.17.12 , 10:09 - 1 Notes

Duckling Swimming Underwater!

duckmain.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

As a little side project, I’ve been helping hatch poultry for the always wonderful Mudchute Park & Farm and our most recent arrivals have been two beautiful Mandarin ducklings. You can find out more about their incubation and see the eldest just after hatching on the Mudchute blog.

Ducklings should be introduced to water early on as these mandarins would naturally have jumped from their nest in a hole in a tree and headed straight for the water with their mom. So we got a paint tray (they’re ideal because they are fairly shallow and graded, allowing the ducklings to get in and out of the water on their own and introduced the ducklings on their first day post-hatching. I expected the little ducklings to paddle contentedly at the surface, but to my surprise, the youngest duckling dove right in and began swimming underwater (more like you might expect from a gannet, puffin or penguin!). She does it in a crazed frenzy, swimming madly around, completely submerged then leaping out of the water entirely! It’s all a mad blur in real time, but photos capture the frenzy (and mess), her expression almost reminds me of the portraits of dogs underwater. More photos of our adorable little duckling splashing around on the next page!

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*rugenius - 06.07.12 , 02:30 - 1 Notes

From Tadpole to Toadlet

toadlet-main.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

This spring, I had the opportunity to raise a number of toads from tadpole and track their development along the way! Metamorphosis is always fascinating and it’s incredible to see how much they change as they grow on their journey from tadpole to toadlet! More photos and video on the next page.

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*rugenius - 05.29.12 , 01:20 - 0 Notes

Breeding Jellyfish at the Horniman Aquarium

mainjelly.jpg The latest dose of natural inspiration from our resident zoologist and London-based editor, Justine Aw.

In addition to showcasing beautiful displays, the staff of the aquarium at the Horniman Museum and Gardens also conduct fascinating research into the species in their collection, including coral reef diseases and embryonic development. The team have shared some gorgeous photos from their research into the breeding of Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita) with us and they provide a beautiful insight into this very complicated life cycle! More photos of the beautiful and otherworldly looking phases of developing jellies on the next page.

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