Holiday Gift Guide: Aquasaurs
December 6, 2011Posted by andrew |
How'd you like to have your very own dinosaur? Sounds neat, until you start thinking about all the details, not the least of which is that it's totally impossible, since dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years. There is a way to have your own prehistoric pet, though, with Aquasaurs!
What are Aquasaurs? They're a commercial name for a water-dwelling creature with three eyes called a triops or tadpole shrimp (Triops longicaudatus). Triops have been around since the Devonian period, roughly 350 million years ago, and are still going strong in vernal pools and seasonal ponds in North America.
They're kind of like Sea Monkeys (remember those?), which are in fact brine shrimp and not monkeys at all. What's more, they're dehydrated, and can be rehydrated and brought back to life.
Aquasaurs are bigger and therefore cooler, and operate on a similar principal. In this case, you rehydrate their eggs, and they hatch within 24 hours. You can get your very own Aquasaurs kit, containing food, eggs, and a habitat, from Uncle Milton, who has a few different version available: the Deluxe Aquasaurs Habitat, the Star Wars-branded Naboo Sea Creatures kit (both list for $29.99), and the plain old Aquasaurs kit ($19.99), which does boast some neato plastic volcanoes in the habitat. (The Deluxe Aquasaurs Habitat can be found online, including at Amazon.com, for much less than $29.99, by the way.) There are a few other manufacturers that offer triops kits under the critters' proper name, too.
Santa brought us an Uncle Milton Deluxe Aquasaurs Habitat a couple Christmases ago. It was a snap to set up and, contrary to some of the grumpy reviews on Amazon, we found it quite simple to get the critters to hatch. Just remember to fill the tank with bottled spring water and make sure there's a heat source close by, as per the instructions.
It was a fun and easy science experiment and a cool pet to have around for a short period of time—triops only live for 20 to 90 days, so don't get too attached… There are enough eggs included in the set to grow at least two batches of Aquasaurs, though. Oh, and they have the tendency to eat each other, too, but then that's just frosting on the cake for most gross-stuff-obsessed kids.