You’ve never seen pet rocks like these before. Artist Akie Nakata transforms rocks into animals of all kinds—dogs, cats, chimpanzees, slow lorises, tree frogs, and more. Her detailed brushstrokes make them look stunningly lifelike, especially their eyes. One look at one of her creatures and you’ll want to protect it at all costs. Just look at this sweet baby bear.
Nakata doesn’t carve the rocks she works with, instead using their natural shape as inspiration for her animals’ poses. The typical shape of stones means lots of adorably curled-up animals…
…but with her creative eye, Nakata finds plenty of unusual poses and animals.
Occasionally, on Instagram, she shows her process, revealing what one of her stones looks like with just a sketch of the final animal drawn on its surface. Here, she shows a mother and baby giraffe in an early stage.
And the same animals, finished and fully colored.
With this Japanese macaque mother-and-child stone, she shows even the naked rock before any material has been applied. We can see how this one appeared to want to become a monkey.
And here’s the final stone. Look at this realistic fur!
While the mother-and-child pairs are especially touching, some of Nakata’s stones are hilarious, like this cat with a stubby tail. This one’s natural texture lends itself perfectly to the cat’s long coat.
Nakata’s animals don’t always cover entire stones either. This one has just a little bush baby clinging to its edge.
On this one, a Japanese giant salamander appears to be crawling toward whoever is holding it. Impressive, but also a little creepy.
Nakata has been painting stones for years. In this photo, you can see how much her technique has evolved since 2013.
You can find more of Akie Nakata’s work on Instagram. She exhibits her creations in galleries in Japan and sells some of them on Facebook. If you adopt one of these cuties, you’ll have a pet for life.