Gratitude is not unique to our species. Neither is imagination, or politics, or warfare, or dancing. But the trading of gifts - at least those other than food, grooming, or sex - might just be. Here are some gift ideas for the lovers of non-human animals in your life.
Recycling means taking something used and making it once again usable. But upcycling takes something used and turns it into something even better. So why not help the environment while enjoying some beautiful animal art? Old, yellowing dictionary pages get carefully removed and printed with some beautiful illustrations. Above is our favorite, a raccoon. Though we wouldn't complain if someone got us this dapper looking walrus, either.
collageOrama on Etsy, $6.99. Buy three and get a fourth free.
We don't know how much this thing costs, but the fact that it doesn't list a price and you're encouraged to contact the artist to "discuss pricing" is telling. Still, if you've got a few spare thousands of dollars, you could do worse than buying a friend this stunning 500 pound bronze octopus coffee table, complete with hand-blown glass eyeballs. And by "a friend," I mean me.
Octopus Table by Isaac Krauss, price unknown.
Need a more affordable cephalopod-related gift? How about this neat laptop decal? The recipient of such a gift will never have to be without their many-armed love any more.
beepart on Etsy, $12.
Wouldn't a hedgehog toothpick holder be perfect for your animal loving friend's next cocktail party? My life is suddenly incomplete. I never want to use a toothpick ever again unless it was first pretending to be a hedgehog spine.
Or squint your eyes and you could call it a porcupine toothpick holder. To be honest, when I saw the photo, I thought it was a porcupine toothpick holder. So really, either way.
Hedgehog toothpick holder, MoMA, $28.
Or, perhaps more accurately, this sloth never stops hugging you. It's handmade and, well, adorable. And don't you want your friends to think "sloth" when they think of you?
After spending ten years working as an animator for Pixar, German artist Yyvonne Herbst began selling these amazingly lifelike felt animal sculptures. They're a bit pricey - this red panda goes for $150 - but they are simply stunning. There are options both for charismatic as well as some less-than-charismatic critters.
Yvonne's Workshop on etsy, various prices.
Who said that getting dressed up had to be a stuffy affair? Keep it real with these pewter rhino cufflinks. No joke, I think I'm going to get some to wear to my brother's wedding. Nothing says "stop poaching" like some rhino swag, after all. Bonus: 5% of each sale gets donated to the Seattle Humane Society!
Mancornas on Etsy, $40.
Want to attract some squirrels to your backyard? Put out a squirrel feeder. Want to make the squirrel like ridiculous while eating from your squirrel feeder? Make sure the feeder is shaped like a giant cartoony squirrel head.
If you or your friends want to get serious about making your yards a friendly place for wildlife, the trick is to give them things to eat and places to sleep or nest. The National Wildlife Federation has you covered. The right feeder will depend on which species you can find in your area. Here are a few of our favorites:
Mason bees nest in holes, but they don't carve their own; they rely on pre-existing holes. Bring some pollinators to your yard by providing them holes to nest in. Think of it as an insect hotel.
This bear-face bird-feeder fill two important needs. First, it's pretty too look at. Second, you can fill the container with just about any sort of bird seed, making it useful no matter where you live. (Or there's a fox, if you prefer.)
Let some bats make their home in your yard by giving them this wooden bat house. It's designed by the Organization for Bat Conservation, so you know it's got their welfare as a first priority.
Birdhouses and Feeders, National Wildlife Federation, various prices ($12.99-$79.99)