Looking for a ‘starter’ pet for the kids (or yourself)? A Dino Pet is a living, interactive ‘pet’ that photosynthesizes (makes energy from light) during the day and glows brilliantly when you play with it at night. The extremely cool blue glow emitted by the Dino Pet is bioluminescence emitted by the microscopic sea life known as dinoflagellates.
A Dino Pet is a clear plastic micro-aquarium shaped like an Apatosaurus. The Dino Pet contains living, bioluminescent dinoflagellates (microscopic marine plankton). These dinoflagellates (unicellular protists of the division Dinoflagellata, species Pyrocystis fusiformis for you scientific types) luminesce (light up) in response to light agitation (gentle shaking).
The Dino Pet is completely non-toxic, requires minimal care (indirect sunlight and weekly feeding). It doesn’t shed, claw the furniture, poop or require twice-daily walks. A Dino Pet teaches kids responsibility without the parents having to worry about the responsibility for the pet falling back on them. Dino Pets require feeding (every couple of weeks) and protection from extremes of temperature. Added bonus: Dino Pets are a great way to get even the youngest kids interested in science.
The lifespan of the dinoflagellates will vary based on their exposure to sunshine, external temperature and how quickly they require/receive new nutrients (feeding). Typically, a Dino Pet will live for approximately 1 to 3 months on nothing but a little indirect sunlight. If you want to extend the life of your pet, simply add a little bit of BioPop Dino Food 2.0 to the mix and you can extend their life forever (with regular feeding, the dinos can reproduce indefinitely).
Dino Pets are shipped as an Apatosaurus micro-aquarium (roughly 6”X3”X6”) filled with dinoflagellates, a container with enough DinoPop 2.0 food to keep the Dinos glowing for 1-2 months, and a complete care manual. Refills of Dino food can ordered from the BioPop website. BioPop ships via an expedited delivery service (FedEx or USPS Priority Mail). This is particularly vital to the health of the Dino Pet when shipping to extremely warm or cold destinations.
More information on dinoflagellates, bioluminescence and caring for the Dino Pet can be found on the Dino Care page. The complete Dino Pet Care Manual can be found here, and there’s also a story book. A Dino’s Tale takes children on a bioluminescent quest of discovery with a brave little Dino and his lightening bug guide, Lampy. The Dino sets off to discover who he is, and what it takes to make him glow…and the book teaches kids how to care for the Dino Pet without even knowing they’re learning!
Author’s note: the only drawback I find is the fact that obviously one has to make room in the micro-aquarium in order to add the nutrients (which are suspended in sterile saline solution). This requires dumping out perhaps 20% of the contents of the micro-aquarium, which contain dinoflagellates. The thought of dumping the living organisms down the drain makes me unhappy (yes yes, I know we’re talking about marine plankton here). My concern is whether this would promote the idea with young children that pets are disposable? I did note on the Dino Pets website that some Dino Pet owners are keeping all the Dinos by simply pouring the excess bioflagellates into another container; thus no dinoflagellates are harmed in the process (smile). This seems like a very good solution (hah!) to me.