Dino Care

Download the Dino Pet Manual for information on how to take care of your Dino Pet.

How to set up your Dino Pet //

Super Important Info//

Pacific Time Zone

Since your dinoflagellates have been on Pacific Time (San Diego), they are accustomed to bioluminescing between 5pm (PT) and 5am (PT).  Depending on where you live, do the time conversion and view your Dino Pet during these hours (i.e. if you live in the Eastern time zone (Boston, for instance), you should view your Dino Pet in the dark after 8pm (ET) and before they see light the next morning.

Your Dino Pet will adapt to your schedule over time (see the circadian rhythm section in the Dino Pet Manual for information on this).

To know the time difference between your place and San Diego, please check here.

Shake It On

Your Dino Pet lights up in response to mechanical stimulation — shaking!  Give your Dino Pet a little shake to see the beautiful bioluminescence of the dinoflagellates within. 

Make sure to play with your Dino Pet in the darkest room possible. Even a small bit of ambient light can mask the bioluminescence. 

(Important note: Dino Pet only lights up when shaken...at night...in a dark room.)

Frequently Asked Questions //

Should I put the dinoflagellates pouch in the fridge?

Please don't! Nothing included in your shipment should go in the fridge. The dinoflagellates are living organisms that need a precise temperature range to live (63-77° F or 17-25° C). As soon as you receive the package, follow instructions on page 01 of the Dino Care Manual.

If for some reasons you are unable to fill your Dino Pet with the dinoflagellates upon delivery, take the dinoflagellate pouch out of the box and give it the lighting and temperature conditions as described on page 01 of the Dino Care Manual. The dinoflagellates can live in their pouch with the right conditions for several days.

How full should I fill my Dino Pet?

Your desired fill level depends on the effects you want to see, and how you'd like your Dino Pet to look during the day. Below is a reference image for you. If you choose to fill it all the way to the brim it is difficult to agitate the dinoflagellates within, but gives a subtle starry-night type effect when you shake the Dino Pet. If you leave a small bubble, the dinoflagellates will be easier to agitate, and you'll see more light. A large bubble will result in an even brighter light show. The coolest part is you can always unscrew the cap to let a little liquid out to create a large bubble, or fill it up with a little Dino Food to reduce the bubble size, so have fun experimenting and discovering which fill level you prefer.

I just received my Dino Pet and it is not bioluminescing, why?

Your Dino Pet may not light up on the first or even second night. The shipping process can be a little rough. You may need to give the Dino Pet a day or two of light before you will see any bioluminescence. If your Dino Pet doesn't light up after a couple of nights, shoot us an email at contact@biopop.com so we can help you troubleshoot and/or send you a healthy refill!

What's the ideal temperature for my Dino Pet?

Keep your Dino Pet at a temperature range between 63-77° F (17-25° C).

Where should I place my Dino Pet?

Place your Dino Pet in a well lit room for around 12 hours (but avoid direct sunlight and light bulbs that get too hot). Turn off the lights or move the Dino Pet to a dark area, to ensure your Dino Pet spends 12 hours in darkness.

At night, leave your Dino Pet in complete darkness for at least 30 minutes before you start playing with it. (Important note: The longer you wait to shake your Dino Pet, the more intense the bioluminescence will be.)

Where should I keep my Dino Food?

Your Dino Food pouch can be kept at room temperature.

Do these Dinoflagellates need air?  Do I need to open the cap once in a while to allow air exchange?

It doesn't hurt to open the cap once in a while to allow air exchange but this is not necessary.  We have observed healthy dinoflagellates in closed systems for several months.  Dinoflagellates produce CO2 at night when they metabolize the glucose generated during photosynthesis.  And during the daytime, they produce O2 as a byproduct of photosynthesis.

How often do I need to feed my Dino Pet?

To extend the life of your Dino Pet, feed it with BioPop Dino Food every 7-10 days. That said, these dinoflagellate cultures have been known to grow for several months without anything except adequate lighting.

How many feedings are in a package of Dino Food?

Depending on how hungry your Dino Pet is, there are about four feedings in a bag of Dino Food.

Isn’t it cruel to keep shaking living creatures around for your own enjoyment?

Not at all! Dinoflagellates exist in tumultuous environments in the natural world. They’re used to cruising with the currents and crashing with the waves, so a little shake is nothing they aren’t well accustomed to.

Also, they’re photosynthetic plankton. That means, they’re much more akin to the lettuce on your salad plate than they are to the dog in your yard. Dinoflagellates don’t have brains, nerves, pain receptors or anything of the sort. If you still think the Dino Pet is cruel, then you should probably avoid beer, wine and even bread for that matter. Millions of microorganisms (yeast) die in the making of every delicious brew you drink, and sandwich you eat.

What are dinoflagellates?

The dinoflagellates used in the Dino Pet are a species of marine plankton that have the ability to bioluminesce in response to mechanical agitation, also known as shaking. If you want to get all Science-y about it, they are unicellular protists of the division Dinoflagellata and of the species Pyrocystis fusiformis.

What is the life expectancy of the Dino Pet?

The lifespan of the dinoflagellates will vary based on their exposure to sunshine, external temperature and how quickly they require new nutrients to be supplemented. Typically, a Dino Pet will live for approximately 1 month on nothing but a little indirect sunlight. Extend the life of your pet by routinely adding a little bit of Dino Food to the mix and you can prolong their life, forever…  Seriously, by regularly adding Dino Food, the dinos can potentially reproduce indefinitely. If you accidentally forget to feed them and they all expire, you can also purchase refills of the dinoflagellates for your Dino Pet from BioPop (now available with zero guilt trips!).  If this is all getting a little overwhelming, don’t worry — a complete care manual is included with the shipment of your Dino Pet.

BioPop guarantees that your Dino Pet will arrive alive and healthy. If the dinos are not alive upon arrival, we will issue a replacement order, free of charge. Please contact us immediately, and we will process the new dino shipment right away.

What is the Dino Pet made out of?

The outer shell of the Dino Pet is made from an ABS plastic.

Why does your apatosaurus not have a tail?

That’s a tactless question, and now you’ve hurt his feelings.  Unless you meant 'tale'...because he definitely has one of those!

Will you explain the light/dark cycle of dinoflagellates?

So it works like this: much like plants that produce vegetables, dino’s harness the sun’s energy and convert it into chemical energy through good ol’ photosynthesis. Instead of using the chemical energy to produce delicious foodstuffs, however, dinos use it to produce light through bioluminescence. Because the dinos have a circadian rhythm based on light and dark cycles, this bioluminescence is only visible at night.

What makes this a good pet for kids?

Do you think pets are too dangerous, too messy, or too much responsibility for your little one? If you said ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to any of those things, then the Dino Pet is perfect for you. It’s completely non-toxic, requires minimal care (indirect sunlight + a meal once a week), and doesn’t even poop! It’s the perfect entry-level pet to teach kids responsibility without having to worry about the crushing burden falling back on you.

Does this make a good present?

We’re pretty sure you’re pulling our leg, but in case this is a serious question… of course it makes a great present! The Dino Pet is easy to care for, unique, and affordable. Plus, do you know anyone who has living, glowing pet?

Do I have to find a dinositter if I go on vacation?

Even though the creation of a whole new industry would be of great help to the economy, your Dino Pet will do just fine on it’s own. Just make sure to leave it in a sunlit room out of direct sunlight

Where did dinoflagellates originate? Where are these Dinos naturally found?

Although some species of dinoflagellates live in fresh water, the particular dinos we sell are found naturally in the deep blue sea.  BioPop collected a few dinoflagellates from the ocean to start our original culture.  Today we grow dinoflagellates in a 'greenhouse' like environment in our lab so as not to impact the environment.

Where is the opening on the Dino Pet to insert the food?

Have you heard the saying ‘the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his belly’? Well, it’s kinda like that. The quickest way to the inside of a Dino Pet is through its belly.

How long do the dinoflagellates bioluminesce after shaking?

The dinoflagellates need continuous shaking to maintain an intense glow, but the show doesn’t end when the shaking stops. Before the dinos have a chance to settle, they will continue to move through the water lighting up as they bounce off of one another making for a light show similar to a meteor shower.

How are the Dino Pets shipped?

BioPop ships via an expedited delivery service (FedEx or USPS Priority Mail). This is particularly vital to the health of your Dino Pet when shipping to extremely warm or cold destinations.

What happens if I drink the dinos?

You will magically be transformed into a Stomachsore-us Rex! While we recommend that you do not drink the dinoflagellates because they live in salt water that will probably give you a tummy ache, the Pyrocystis fusiformis species of dinoflagellates we use are nontoxic and completely safe for children.

How do I care for the pet?

It’s way easier than caring for yourself, we promise. All you have to do is leave the dinos in a sunlit room during the day, making sure to keep them out of direct sunlight. Don’t worry Seattleites, if you don’t have any sunlit rooms to speak of you can simply leave them under a low-wattage bulb for 10 to 12 hours a day. If you want your dinos to live a long and happy life, keep them in a room that stays between 63-77° Fahrenheit (17-25° C). (Don’t forget: this is all spelled out in the detailed Dino Pet Care Manual included with each Dino Pet.)

How fast do these Dinos grow?

Dinos don’t really grow, but they do reproduce. Asexual reproduction to be exact, meaning you don’t have to worry about teaching your youngsters about the birds and the bees… yet. The rate at which they reproduce is entirely dependent on the amount of available light, dark, and nutrients. You’ll be in charge of making sure the dinos get enough playtime in the light and sleep in the dark, but BioPop sells the Dino Food to make sure your dinos are flush with nutrients to extend their life.

Can you please explain how this beautiful container works?

While it’s definitely the coolest container you’ve ever handled, it works much like all of the other containers you’ve used in your life. Pour something in, close the lid, and there it shall remain. If your dinos get hungry or need to be replaced, the cap in the Dino Pet’s belly can be unscrewed for easy access.

Seldom Asked Questions (SAQ) //

What happens if my Dino Pet comes to life in the middle of the night and starts attacking me like something out of Night at the Museum?

Run! It’s probably too late to do any good, but run anyway.

What is a persimmon?

We’re not experts, but we’re pretty sure its that one tree-fruit that looks like a tiny pumpkin.

Do you have questions?

Let's us know below and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.

Warranty Information

Please visit the warranty information page here.

Beautiful art through Biology for the Popular Culture.