Giant Microbes

Looking for an affectionate gift for the science nerd who has everything? Try one of these warm—and pathogenic—fuzzies. Giant Microbes are plush toys that, except for the eyes and a few other details, approximate real, microscopic life-forms. Choices start with a prion, or “mad cow” to the layperson (complete with black-and-white Holsteinesque patches), and also include an ebola virus, a common cold virus and even flesh-eating bacteria (an eager fellow with his own little knife and fork). But be careful. The object of your affection might not want to snuggle with Yersinia pestis, otherwise known as the Black Death. You know, plague. Toys come with a photo of the actual microbe, along with a few choice facts. They’re small, inexpensive and cuddly, if you’ve got the stomach for it.