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Submitted on
November 19, 2013
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Nov 18, 2013, 5:38:55 PM
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Realistic Narwhal Plushie by cutekick Realistic Narwhal Plushie by cutekick
*** Etsy *** Tumblr *** FAQ ***

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Please reblog do not repost, thank you.

This entry was made for #CRArtisanCrafts's challenge for November with the theme Unicorns.

I decided to make the only real unicorn in the world, the unicorn of the sea. Well, there is that unicorn deer in Italy (google it if you are curious) but whatever! Narwhals still win. 

I wanted a plushie that was much more realistic than all the others you see around. Most are just whales with horns sewn on and well, Narwhals are NOT whales!

This guy...this guy took about 10 pattern revisions until I was happy and I hand dyed him 3 different ways before I defaulted to this. His body measures in at about 10 inches with a 3.5 inch horn. He is hand painted with fabric paint. There was no way to get the coloring right otherwise. All the spots and everything are completely done by hand.  His coloring is not symmetrical because real narwhals are not. It is a little hard to see in the photos but his tusk is not only spiraled but I gave it a double helix spiral. He has two tiny safety eyes. I bough the tiny eyes on a whim, I am so glad I have a use for them. Really, 4.5mm safety eyes? Not sure what I was thinking. Glad I had them though, they worked great!

I am quite happy with how the spotting came out. It took a really long time to spot him all over as I did, especially his underbelly. I used Starfy as a size reference again because I don't have any other water themed games to use. 

I hope you like him!

Interesting Narwhal facts!

Narwhals are not whales, they are porpoises and most closely related to belugas.

The narwhal horn is not a horn but a tusk or tooth. They are born without it and it grows from inside their mouth poking through the gum until it protrudes from their head.

Narwhal tusks were sold as unicorn horns in the middle ages and beyond. They were not deemed "fakes" because they are real ivory.

Some believe the narwhal and miscommunication from Norse people to be the origin of the Unicorn myth but no ones knows for sure.

Narwhals are born gray and turn black and white. Younger narwhals are mostly black, as they get older they become more and more white. The coloring can be used to estimate age.

No one is sure what narwhal tusks are for but a recent study suggests that the nerves within the tusk can be used to "taste" the saltiness of the water. This would allow them to more easily find paths in the ice as is breaks up and they travel. It could also be used to help determine the safeness of a path. 

Males narwhals always grow the long tusk. There are conflicting studies about females and how often they also grow it, if at all.

In rare cases narwhals have grown two tusks.

Native Inuit people still hunt narwhals because their skin provides the peoples main source of vitamin C.

Anyone else have some fun narwhal facts?

Sir Tentacat Views by cutekick Mini Land Shark by cutekick Grumble the Tyrannogoard Rex by cutekick
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oakozz47 Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014

So... I hate to be all contradictory on what is a truly excellent plush (it's clearly a tusk, not a horn!  WOoooo!  And the flukes are marvelous!), but I really do get irked when I see misinformation spread like this, especialy with marine biology (or dinosaurs, but that's another matter).


There are two things I take issue with, here:


1.  The bigger mistake is calling Narwhals porpoises; Narwhals are not porpoises.  They are in the order Monodontidae, along with (as you mentioned) belugas.  Porpoises are, by definition, members of the order Phocoenidae.  Now, these two orders are very closely related, it is true.  But one is not part of the other, in either direction.  If you need proof, just google "beluga skull" or "beluga teeth."  One of the things that makes a porpoise a porpoise is its spade-shaped teeth, narrow in cross-section.  Despite being closely related to porpoises, a beluga's teeth are cylindrical, like a dolphin's.


2.  In addition, the word "whale" doesn't exactly work that way.  If you want to be taxonomically accurate... well, since there are both tooth-bearing and baleen-bearing cetaceans which are unquestionably called "whales," there is no scientifically valid way to use the term without including the entire clade.  Yes, including dolphins and porpoises ( as "small whales").  Personally, this is how I use the term when I'm being precise; That is, when I say "whale," I include dolphins and porpoises, unless I say otherwise.  But this is not, I understand, a popular way to use the term at the monent, so I'll go with the only other way that has any reason too it; Size.  I have heard people argue that "whale" should be understood as "cetaceans above a certain size."  What size?  I've never heard anyone give a precise number, but fortunately, we don't need one here.  The "-whal" in "narwhal" does indeed mean "whale," in Old Norse.  So people have been comfortable with narwhals meeting the size criterion of "whale" for hundreds, perhaps over a thousand, years.  Indeed, they are part of how the English word came into existence.  Given all that, I do not see how we can possibly not consider them "whales."


(incidentaly, the "nar-" means "corpse."  Presumably on account of their greyish, deathly, palour.)


So there you have it.  If you disagree, feel free to respond with your reasons.  And I do apologize.  It really is a wonderful plush.  I wish I could have one, honestly.

cutekick Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you for the corrections. It would seem my information was out dated. I admit it was just from memory so I may just have remembered wrong. I did know I was technically using the word "whale" wrong but when explaining this to the average person they will not accept that a dolphin is a whale so it is easier to just say "not a whale" instead of a explaining that they are a subcategory. I wrote it on the spot so I admit I could have done a better job explaining things.

I also knew about "nar-" meaning corpse or corpse like. Ah, vikings, they had such a lovely way of naming things.

Really, no worries about the corrections. I would rather be corrected than have the information in my head wrong. Things are constantly changing and new things are discovered so I am always interested in things like this. I have no problem being corrected sometimes I remember things wrong, or the documentaries I watched were wrong/outdated. It happens.  Well, as long as you aren't snobby when you correct me. Haha, but most people don't like to be corrected that way. I am no expert in this so it only makes sense that others would know more than me.

I am very glad you like the plush. I spent such a long time getting him right. I have been looking into simplifying his coloring so that I may be able to sell some in my Etsy shop but it is still uncertain at this point. The amount of time it took to put on all his spots was quite a lot and makes him not really worth selling in his current state.
oakozz47 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014
P. S.  Looking at my post, it would appear I somehow forgot to put this in so many words;  It seems that you acctualy knew everything I was trying to say, so I am very sorry for being presumptuous.  Cheers!
oakozz47 Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014

Thank you for takning my post so well, and I am very, very sorry if I came across as snobby.  I know I do sometimes, and I know it's a fine line between "flaunting how much I know," and "marshalling enough evidence to be convincing," all while respecting the other party's intelligence and knowledge.  I walk it as best I can.  It was your misfortune that your plush caught the eye of someone who has a passion for both cetaceans and taxonomy, I suppose!  Sorry I went a little overboard.

Those Vikings did have a way with words, didn't they?

I suppose all the effort you've put in to him would be part of the reason I've never seen one for sale at the aquarium I volunteer at.  I've only seen them stock things that are at least mostly accurate, and no commercial product I've seen does Narwhals justice.  Ah, well.  It's good to see that someone has taken the time to do so.  It was late when I finished my post last night, so now I'd better go take a look at the rest of your gallery!

cutekick Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Oh, no you didn't come across as snobby, I was just saying that no one likes to be corrected by someone who acts snobby when they know more. I fully understood that you were just passionate on the subject while still trying to make it known that you clearly knew what you were talking about. I have been on the internet long enough to know that when correcting someone you seem to need to provide solid proof otherwise people will just declare you wrong and themselves right without doing the research. It can get rather tiring. 

I am always disappointed with the plushies at zoos/aquariums and the like. They never look very realistic, I guess that is what we get for mass production. When I was starting this guy I did a search to see if others have made them more realistic and less generic cartoon whale with a horn and I did find one that was decently shaped but the coloring was very wrong (if I remember correctly it was yellow with orange spots). I don't currently have any other realistic plushies in my gallery (you are welcome to see me totally not at all realistic ones though XD) but I am working on a realistic humpback whale currently. 
cooley Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So adorable - congratulations on the win!
cutekick Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks! I was so surprised when I won. It really made my week :D
Icedeb Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Hey! Congratulations for winning the challenge! I am a dummy!  It was a very clever idea! Clap 
cutekick Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thanks! I wasn't sure they would actually let me enter him. >_>  Congrats to you too. I was pretty sure your Keldon was going to win, he is a super cutie.
Icedeb Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
of course they would, it was an awesome idea! Narwhals are the real unicorns xD  This was my favorite entry actually ^^
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