Scales and Tails
It’s hard to deny a good cat or dog puzzle, but do you struggle with all that fur? For a change of pace, I decided to try out some scales instead and picked up some puzzles featuring reptiles. I’ve actually spent quite a bit of time with reptiles when I worked on my PhD, which focused on the impacts of stress in lizards. (Yes, lizards get stressed out too!)
After five years working with eastern fence lizards (pictured above), it’s probably no surprise that I was first drawn to a lizard puzzle. This 500-piece round puzzle titled Mimbre Journeys from Sunsout features several species of lizards.
I started with the inner patterns and found myself working outward. The shift from yellow to blue meant that the background wasn’t too tricky. I enjoyed looking at the different patterns and textures in each of the lizards as I pieced them together. A few other lizard puzzles that caught my eye were Super Deep 3D Gecko Magic in 300 pieces from RoseArt and some fabulous high society lizards illustrated by Edward Gorey in The House Party from Pomegranate.
Another commonly featured lizard in puzzles are chameleons, and I loved the purples in the background in Colorful Chameleon, a 1000-piece puzzle from Turner Puzzles (Lang). I had not previously done a puzzle from Turner, and I liked that they included a resealable bag inside. The white-board pieces were very similar to other Lang puzzles.
I was a little intimidated by the background on this one and so I thought I would start with the chameleon. But once I sorted and saw my overflowing tray of chameleon pieces, I changed my mind and started with the purples and leaves instead. I actually ended up putting together the entire background first and saved the chameleon for last! The background was a bit of a challenge at times, but thankfully there were enough colors to keep me interested.
Chameleons are so fascinating, and there are quite a few puzzles that feature their unique eyes, for example Veiled Chameleon in 1000 pieces from All Jigsaw Puzzles and Chameleon Eye in 500 pieces from Buffalo. I also like this smaller piece count shaped puzzle aptly titled Chameleon in 150 pieces from Djeco.
Next, I went for a larger reptile–a crocodile! I’ve been eyeing up Tiger and Crocodile in 500 pieces from Buffalo Games for quite a while because I really like the artwork by Asia Orlando. I started with the colorful flowers and filled in the leaves and animal faces before finishing up the greenery and tiger. This was a great size puzzle for this image, and the variety in the greens meant it came together very well. For another charismatic crocodile, check out the illustrated Crocodile Tears in 500 pieces from New York Puzzle Company. I also like this mini 140 piece American Alligator Minipix puzzle from Pigment & Hue.
In addition to the more classic reptilians, there are soooo many great puzzles featuring turtles. I’m not sure how I didn’t manage to do one for this post, but at the top of my wishlist are Turtle Island in 500 pieces (pictured below) and Tranquility in 1000 pieces, both from the Indigenous Collection by CAP. I love how CAP so prominently features information about their artists on the back of their boxes.
There are so many great turtle puzzles to suggest, but some others that really appeal to me are these adorable baby turtles in Turtle March in 550 pieces from Heritage Puzzles, these fantastic scientific illustrations of Turtles in 1000 pieces form NYPC, and some great underwater colors in Turtle Voyage in 1000 pieces from Crown Point Graphics.
Lastly, I wanted to recognize our snake friends, and I chose this wonderfully colorful illustration titled Draco in 1000 pieces from JacaRou Puzzles. This was my first JacaRou, and I was pleased with the piece quality and that they also included a resealable bag. I absolutely loved all the colors in this one! Each of the sections was a joy to work on, at least until I got to the section with the bubbles, which was particularly tricky.
I know snakes aren’t everyone’s favorite, but they really are fascinating creatures. Most snakes prefer to be left alone—and won’t bother you if you do—so I think it’s fun to appreciate them through puzzles. There aren’t too many puzzles with snakes, but I really like this whimsical illustrated snake with a giraffe in The Lover in 500 pieces from Clementoni. There’s also a colorful illustrated snake alongside a sloth and leopard in the 500-piece In the Jungle by Willow Creek Press.
A lot of reptiles are also featured in combined scenes, like World of Animals Reptile Friends in 100 pieces from MasterPieces, Frogs and Lizards in 100 pieces from MudPuppy, and this illustrated round rainbow of Animals in 500 pieces from Ravensburger.
Just as puzzles can be a great way to visit places we haven’t been or to experience nostalgia, they also allow you to see details we can’t always appreciate up close. I hope these puzzles may give you a new appreciation for our scaly friends. What underappreciated animals would you like to see on a puzzle?
- Gail, @jiggies_and_gems