Toy ducks for sale: Personalized Rubber Duck | Jumbo Bath Toy Rubber Duck Shop


100ct Bulk Rubber Duck Assortment

Why did you choose this?


STAFF ANSWER: Yes these will work great for a duck race. by Aaron H 12/16/2016

ANSWER: Yes, that is what we use them for and they work just fine. by Judith A 12/15/2016

ANSWER: we did just that with ours, they worked great. by Maureen W 12/14/2016

ANSWER: They float on their side or upside down by George N 12/14/2016

ANSWER: Absolutely. I used them for a duck race and they worked great. by Dustin B 12/14/2016

QUESTION: Is it really made of rubber or is it made from PVC? by None N 10/16/2016

ANSWER: I am not 100% positive, but I think they are made of vinyl. by Lola P 10/17/2016

ANSWER: Soft rubber type duck<br />Very pliable by wendy p 10/17/2016

STAFF ANSWER: These are made of rubber. by Aaron H 10/17/2016

QUESTION: How many of these would it take to fill a kiddie pool? by Annette S 2/2/2016

STAFF ANSWER: It will depend on the size of the pool, but a smaller pool would probably take about 2-300… by Aaron H 2/3/2016

QUESTION: How do I get free shipping? by None N 10/23/2015

STAFF ANSWER: You will automatically get free shipping when your order sub-total goes over $75. by Aaron H 10/26/2015

QUESTION: Are the duckies a good seller at flea markets? by None N 10/21/2015

ANSWER: I think they would be a good seller at flea markets. I purchased them for a party and put them in a tub of water for the kids to pick one and win a prize. Most of them floated upright, the kids loved playing with them more than anything! Now my kids can’t take a bath without them…LOL by Elaine O 10/22/2015

ANSWER: I don’t know. I sell them at work for a fundraiser and they sell pretty well. by Judith A 10/22/2015

STAFF ANSWER: Everyone loves a rubber duck by Aaron H 10/22/2015


ANSWER: all ducks are different colors. some may have same design. i was happy with purchase. by Irma B 7/14/2015

ANSWER: 50 at best. There are many duplicates by Keely H 7/13/2015

ANSWER: I ordered 100 ducks. I actually received like 102 ducks. There were approximately 50 unique ducks. So there were duplicates… usually 2 of each one and for a few there were 3 of each. by Brandi S 7/13/2015

ANSWER: We got 27 different ducks. by MALISA M 7/13/2015

STAFF ANSWER: there will be a different variety of ducks in each assortment, there is no way to know how many different ducks you will get. by Aaron H 7/13/2015

QUESTION: It says that they float on their “sides”. Does that mean they don’t float upright? by Shamone S 5/12/2015

STAFF ANSWER: They will not stay upright for long periods of time. by Aaron H 5/15/2015

ANSWER: They do not float upright the majority of the time. I had an issue with that since we used them for drawings and had prizes attached to the bottoms. If you set them in upright, they would stay that way for about an hour or so until they finally just tipped over. But we had them in a kiddie pool and not in a river or stream like some people do when they have Ducky Derby type events. by Michelle H 5/13/2015

ANSWER: Yes-they do not float upright. by Donnie C 5/12/2015

ANSWER: You have the answer….They are not made for floating in water. The ducks are land ducks only. Nor do they fly by Chris L 5/12/2015

QUESTION: When you say they always float on their side – do they not float upright on their bottom? by Lynda H 5/1/2015

ANSWER: Some float upright on their bottom, but many float on their side. by Bev G 5/4/2015

STAFF ANSWER: Float on their side, simply means we do not guarantee they will float upright. by Aaron H 5/4/2015

ANSWER: some of the ducks floated upright – others that were heavier sometimes tipped over. We bought them as a gag gift to fill someone’s pool for their birthday so it worked out perfect. by Tracey D 5/1/2015

QUESTION: It says there isn’t a squeaker, but is there a hole in the bottom? by P S 9/21/2014

ANSWER: Yes there is by T O 9/24/2014

STAFF ANSWER: The ones that I looked at in our warehouse had holes in the bottoms, so I am going to assume that it varies based off what other past customers are saying. by Aaron H 9/23/2014

ANSWER: No, there’s no hole in the bottom. by Bev G 9/22/2014

STAFF ANSWER: There are holes in the bottoms of the ducks. by Aaron H 9/22/2014

ANSWER: I can’t remember but much of me wants to say no, there is no open hole, because I’m sure I’d have a memory of kids squeezing water out of them and I don’t recall any of that. by C O 9/21/2014

QUESTION: Are they all different or are there some duplicated If so how many duplicates are there? by None N 1/17/2014

ANSWER: yes, their are some that are the same design. but a different color. we were very happy w the ducks. have fun by Irma B 1/23/2014

ANSWER: Some will be duplicates. by F S 1/20/2014

ANSWER: Good Morning, <br /><br />I received very few duplicates. I was very pleased with the variety. Overall a good mix. <br /><br />Best Regards by M A 1/20/2014

STAFF ANSWER: This is just a random mix, it is possible you will get all unique ducks, but very unlikely. The ducks are basically just mixed up in a large vat and then put into bags of 100. by Aaron H 1/20/2014

QUESTION: Are there any duplicates? by Rebecca H 7/30/2013

ANSWER: There are duplicates, but I don’t think the duplicaton is deliberate – more random. They are cute. by K E 9/9/2013

ANSWER: yes by David H 9/8/2013

ANSWER: Yes, all are duplicates. I only has 37 different designs & the only different in some is color. For instance I have 12 doctor ducks in 4 different colors. I have 12 princess duck that are exactly the same. I don’t know if each batch is different, but I would definitely expect duplicates by Keely H 9/5/2013

ANSWER: Yes but they are so cute who cares. Put them all over a dining table for a baby shower luncheon. Big hit! by R I 7/30/2013

STAFF ANSWER: Yes by Ian M 7/30/2013

QUESTION: Are there any duplicates in this parcel Also, any ducks religiously themed These are for a rubber ducky baby shower, and we don’t want any santas, etc. by None N 6/28/2013

ANSWER: There is no religious quotes on these. There was not many duplicates at all! They are exactly what you see in the photo! by Elaine O 10/22/2015

ANSWER: All are duplicates. None with religious themes except one had the text lingo OMG. I suspect, though, that each order might be different. I had 110 so I would agree with other post you could toss any you didn’t like. by Keely H 9/5/2013

ANSWER: Not that i paid attention to. Religious…nope. No devil, no Jesus and no santa clause that i remember. If you did find one or two, pull them out and throw them away. Pretty simple- didn’t mean to sound rude. They come in a big, clear plastic bag. You will have to sort them out regardless. I liked mine and I will buy more after I give all these suckers away. by S H 6/28/2013

ANSWER: There are duplicates in this parcel and if a devil is considered a religious them there are some of those–lots of options in the 500 ducks…hope this helps! by M N 6/28/2013

When 28,800 Bath Toys Are Lost At Sea : NPR

By Donovan Hohn
Hardcover, 416 pages
Viking Adult
List Price: $27.95

At the outset, I felt no need to acquaint myself with the six degrees of freedom. I’d never heard of the Great North Pacific Garbage Patch. I liked my job and loved my wife and was inclined to agree with Emerson that travel is a fool’s paradise. I just wanted to learn what had really hap­pened, where the toys had drifted and why. I loved the part about con­tainers falling off a ship, the part about the oceanographers tracking the castaways with the help of far-flung beachcombers. I especially loved the part about the rubber duckies crossing the Arctic, going cheerfully where explorers had gone boldly and disastrously before.

At the outset, I had no intention of doing what I eventually did: quit my job, kiss my wife farewell, and ramble about the Northern Hemi­sphere aboard all manner of watercraft. I certainly never expected to join the crew of a fifty-one-foot catamaran captained by a charismatic environmentalist, the Ahab of plastic hunters, who had the charming habit of exterminating the fruit flies clouding around his stash of or­ganic fruit by hoovering them out of the air with a vacuum cleaner.

Certainly I never expected to transit the Northwest Passage aboard a Canadian icebreaker in the company of scientists investigating the Arctic’s changing climate and polar bears lunching on seals.

Or to cross the Graveyard of the Pacific on a container ship at the height of the win­ter storm season. Or to ride a high-speed ferry through the smoggy, in­dustrial backwaters of China’s Pearl River Delta, where, inside the Po Sing plastic factory, I would witness yellow pellets of polyethylene resin transmogrify into icons of childhood.

I’d never given the plight of the Laysan albatross a moment’s thought. Having never taken organic chemistry, I didn’t know and therefore didn’t care that pelagic plastic has the peculiar propensity to adsorb hy­drophobic, lipophilic, polysyllabic toxins such as dichlorodiphenyltri­chloroethane (a.k.a. DDT) and polychlorinated biphenyls (a.k.a. PCBs). Nor did I know or care that such toxins are surprisingly abundant at the ocean’s surface, or that they bioaccumulate as they move up the food chain. Honestly, I didn’t know what “pelagic” or “adsorb” meant, and if asked to use “lipophilic” and “hydrophobic” in a sentence I’d have ap­plied them to someone with a weight problem and a debilitating fear of drowning.

If asked to define the “six degrees of freedom,” I would have assumed they had something to do with existential philosophy or constitutional law. Now, years later, I know: the six degrees of freedom — delicious phrase! — are what naval architects call the six different motions floating vessels make. Now, not only can I name and define them, I’ve experi­enced them firsthand. One night, sleep-deprived and nearly broken, in thirty-five-knot winds and twelve-foot seas, I would overindulge all six — rolling, pitching, yawing, heaving, swaying, and surging like a drunken libertine — and, after buckling myself into an emergency har­ness and helping to lower the mainsail, I would sway and surge and pitch as if drunkenly into the head, where, heaving, I would liberate my dinner into a bucket.

At the outset, I figured I’d interview a few oceanographers, talk to a few beachcombers, read up on ocean currents and Arctic geography, and then write an account of the incredible journey of the bath toys lost at sea, an account more detailed and whimsical than the tantalizingly brief summaries that had previously appeared in news stories.

And all this I would do, I hoped, without leaving my desk, so that I could be sure to be present at the birth of my first child.

But questions, I’ve learned since, can be like ocean currents. Wade in a little too far and they can carry you away. Follow one line of inquiry and it will lead you to another, and another. Spot a yellow duck dropped atop the seaweed at the tide line, ask yourself where it came from, and the next thing you know you’re way out at sea, no land in sight, dog-paddling around in mysteries four miles deep. You’re wondering when and why yellow ducks became icons of childhood. You want to know what it’s like inside the toy factories of Guangdong. You’re marveling at the scale of humanity’s impact on this terraqueous globe and at the oce­anic magnitude of your own ignorance. You’re giving the plight of the Laysan albatross many moments of thought.

The next thing you know, it’s the middle of the night and you’re on the outer decks of a post-Panamax freighter due south of the Aleutian island where, in 1741, shipwrecked, Vitus Bering perished from scurvy and hunger.

The winds are gale force. The water is deep and black, and so is the sky. It’s snowing. The decks are slick. Your ears ache, your fin­gers are numb. Solitary, nocturnal circumambulations of the outer decks by supernumerary passengers are strictly forbidden, for good reason. Fall overboard and no one would miss you. You’d inhale the ocean and go down, alone. Nevertheless, there you are, not a goner yet, gazing up at the shipping containers stacked six-high overhead, and from them cataracts of snowmelt and rain are spattering on your head. There you are, listening to the stacked containers strain against their lashings, creaking and groaning and cataracting with every roll, and with every roll you are wondering what in the name of Neptune it would take to make stacks of steel — or for that matter aluminum-containers fall. Or you’re learning how to tie a bowline knot and say thank you in both Inuktitut and Cantonese.

Or you’re spending three days and nights in a shabby hotel room in Pusan, South Korea, waiting for your ship to come in, and you’re won­dering what you could possibly have been thinking when you embarked on this harebrained journey, this wild duckie chase, and you’re drinking Scotch, and looking sentimentally at photos of your wife and son on your laptop, your wife and son who, on the other side of the planet, on the far side of the international date line, are doing and feeling and drinking God knows what.

Probably not Scotch. And you’re remember­ing the scene near the end of Moby-Dick when Starbuck, family man, first officer of the Pequod, tries in vain to convince mad Ahab to aban­don his doomed hunt. “Away with me!” Starbuck pleads, “let us fly these deadly waters! let us home!”

And you’re dreaming nostalgically of your former life of chalk­boards and Emily Dickinson and parent-teacher conferences, and wishing you could go back to it, wishing you’d never contacted the heavyset Dr. E., or learned of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or met the Ahab of plastic hunters, or the heartsick conservationist or the foulmouthed beachcomber or the blind oceanographer, any of them. You’re wishing you’d never given Big Poppa the chance to write about Luck Duck, because if you hadn’t you’d never have heard the fable of the rubber ducks lost at sea. You’d still be teaching Moby-Dick to American teenagers. But that’s the thing about strong currents: there’s no swimming against them.

The next thing you know years have passed, and you’re still adrift, still waiting to see where the questions take you.

At least that’s what happens if you’re a nearsighted, school-teaching, would-be archaeologist of the ordinary, with an indulgent, long-suffering wife and a juvenile imagina­tion, and you receive in the mail a manila envelope, and inside this en­velope you find a dozen back issues of a cheaply produced newsletter, and in one of those newsletters you discover a wonderful map — if, in other words, you’re me.

Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from Moby-Duck by Donovan Hohn. Copyright 2011 by Donovan Hohn.

Best 7 Websites to Buy Wholesale Rubber Ducks in Bulk (China/US/UK)

This guide will introduce everything you need to know about wholesale rubber ducks in bulk, especially some established websites and frequently asked questions.

Rubber ducks are basically toys that are mainly used as bath toys for kids.

However, even adults like to have a floating duck in their bathtub at times. Rubber ducks are a quite popular item that you can get in the market.


In case, if you run a toy store then having rubber ducks in your collection is a must. If you want to provide your customers with a wide choice of rubber ducks then you need to find the right wholesale site to get your supply from.


You can go through this article in order to get the list of the best wholesale rubber duck suppliers online. From the sites mentioned, you can all varieties of rubber ducks that you are looking for.

1. Alibaba

Alibaba is one of the most popular wholesale sites that are based in China. Here on this site, you can get all types of products at a wholesale price. If you are looking forward to ordering quality rubber ducks then you can surely rely on this site for your supply. You can get a wide choice of rubber ducks on this site. 

You can choose from the different colours that are available. You also get the freedom of either buying in bulk or ordering just a few pieces. The prices of the products are unbelievably low which makes this site one of the best among the rest. The site is also nicely maintained so you can navigate easily. In short, it can be concluded that this is one of the best sites to order rubber ducks in bulk.

2. Chinabrands

Chinabrands is a leading global drop shipping wholesaler from China.They have global reach servicing customers in more than 200 countries. 

It offers full catalogs, including cheap clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry and accessories, beauty, 3C products, household necessaries and so on that totally more than 500,000+ SKU. Also, new and trendy arrivals added every day.

It’s a very considerate supplier for covering low-end to high-end products lines at wholesale price. Such as purchase clothing from this wholesale distributor, you can buy tops in $0.29, and the quality is quite good. If you look for high-end fashion brand, it may just cost about $40. 

Besides, every purchase in the site, you receive CB points as rewards, and you can use as cash next buy. If register as a member(Click here), you can get much more discounts and CB points. Extremely low price and CB rewords points can maximize cut your cost and make exciting more profits.

What’s more, Chinabrands provides extra valuable services. 

This wholesaler offers SEO-optimized product descriptions that you can download and upload to your online stores like Amazon, eBay, shopify or any other online shopping platform. That will save much time for you to write products descriptions and help your stores rank better.

It has professional teams to choose trendy products that will sell well. Most store owners get crazy and have no idea which products should sell. Chianbrands’ team do the market search and add those data-proved hot sell in site everyday.  

Also, Unlike Alibaba is just a third-party platform for hundreds of thousands of manufacturers and suppliers, that may have poor quality problems. Chinabrands has highly trained QC teams ensure the quality of every single product manufactured by major brand suppliers.

Best-Selling Toys Wholesale on Chinabrands

More >

3. Dhgate 

If you are looking for the best quality rubber ducks then this is the site that you need to visit. We are all aware of the reputation of Dhgate as a wholesale site. You can get a variety of products on this site at wholesale rates. The best thing about this site is that you can buy rubber ducks in bulk. Also, the prices are really low. 

This basically means that you can buy more and pay less. This is one of the reasons that buyers prefer this site over any other wholesale site. The site also offers you with a discount on selected orders. The quality of the products is also great. In short, it can be said that this is one of the best sites to order rubbers ducks from.


4. Made in China 

This is yet another great site to look for rubber ducks at wholesale rates. If you are willing to supply the best quality products to your customers then you should order from this site. You can get colourful rubber ducks on this site. You can even get unique styles of rubber ducks that are not available on any other wholesale site. 

Well, that’s one of the specialties of this site and that is providing unique products to the customers. The site is known to have a huge collection of rubber ducks for you to choose from. You can buy both in bulk or order just a few pieces. The site is nicely organized so it won’t be a problem for you to browse through the products. Overall, this is a great site to order your rubber ducks.

5. Fun Express 

This site is known to have the largest collection of wholesale rubber ducks. The variety is never-ending. You can get a wide variety of rubber ducks to choose from. The site has a unique rubber duck collection which you won’t get on any other site. Well, that’s the specialty of the site. Other than rubber ducks you can also get another type of toys as well. 

So if you would like to order anything else along with rubber ducks then you can do that too. You can even request for a catalog before you place your order. But before that, you need to open an account on the site which will take you hardly few seconds. Another thing that is worth mentioning about the site is the quality of the products. 

The product quality is great so you need not to worry about it at all. In short, this is indeed a great site to order rubber ducks and other toy items.


6. Novelty Toy World 

Next on the list of the best wholesale rubber duck supplies we have the Novelty Toy World. This is also a great site to order rubber ducks and other toy items from. If you want you can buy the products in bulk or order only a few of them. The choice is yours. The prices of the products are also quite low. 

So you can order more without having to spend more. The collection of rubber ducks on the site is great. Starting from bath toys to animal toys you can get it all here on this one site. In case, if you are worried about the quality of the products they won’t be because the quality is top-notch. 

The site has got very good reviews from the buyers. So you can completely rely on this site for your orders. Overall, it can be said that this is a pretty good site to order your rubber ducks from.


7. Risus Wholesale 

Last on the list we have the Risus Wholesale. This site is also quite good when it comes to ordering rubber ducks. If you have the intention to supply your customers with the best then you should consider ordering from this site. The site looks pretty sorted and thus, it will be easier for you to browse through the products. 

The best thing about the site is that the prices are really low. In fact, the prices are lower than the other wholesale sites. This is the reason why buyers prefer this site more. All you need to do is first register yourself on the site and then you can start placing your order without any problem. 

In case, if you face any problem with your orders then you can simply contact the customer support of the company. Thus, it can be said that this site too is a great choice when it comes to ordering rubber ducks.

Where to buy wholesale rubber ducks in bulk from Canada?

If you are looking forward to buying rubber ducks at wholesale rates in Canada then you can get a number of places on the list. There are a plenty of places that you can go to however, you need to choose the best. 

If you want the best then you can go to these websites Open party and Party City. These are two of the top-rated wholesale sites that you can visit in order to get a supply of wholesale rubber ducks in bulk in Canada.

Where to buy wholesale rubber ducks in bulk from Australia?

There are a number of wholesale websites that you can go to in order to get quality rubber ducks in bulk in Australia. To name a few Ebay, Au Dhgate and Discount Party Supplies. These are some of the best websites that you can go to. If you want you can get more options on the internet as well.

Where to buy wholesale custom rubber ducks in China?

In order to get wholesale custom rubber ducks in China, you can go to Dhgate and Alibaba. These are the two best wholesale sites where you can get more than just rubber ducks. The quality of the products are really good and even the prices are low. Also, you can choose to buy in bulk or just a few pieces based on your need.

Where to buy cheap wholesale rubber ducks in India?

One of the best wholesale sites where you can get cheap wholesale rubber ducks in India is Indiamart. This is a site where you can get all varieties of rubber ducks at cheap prices. The qualities of the products are quite good so you need not to worry about that. You can get more suggestions on the internet as well.

Where to buy wholesale rubber duck decorations in the US?

You can go to Amazon, Celebriducks and Fun Express in order to get a supply of wholesale rubber ducks in the US. These are the sites where you can get quality products at affordable rates.

Where to buy wholesale floating rubber ducks online?

All the sites that are mentioned in this article are known to have a collection of wholesale floating rubber ducks. So you can visit any site you want in order to get quality products at wholesale rates. Also, if you want more suggestions then you can visit the internet as well.

Now that you know about the best wholesale sites to order your rubber ducks from it will be easier for you to get quality products for your customers. If you want to grow your business by providing your customers with the best quality products then you should consider your items from the mentioned websites in the article.

Le Petit Duck Shoppe – Largest Selection of Collectible Rubber Ducks in Canada – Le Petit Duck Shoppe

Le Petit Duck Shoppe – Largest Selection of Collectible Rubber Ducks in Canada – Le Petit Duck Shoppe – Canada’s Largest Selection of Collectible & Character Rubber Ducks


      Welcome to Le Petit Duck Shoppe!


Le Petit Duck Shoppe is a unique and fun specialty shop that sells hundreds of styles of character and collectible rubber ducks.

Buy rubber duckies online or visit our store location in Montreal, Canada.


We offer a unique variety of rubber ducks for all occasions and celebrations, including wedding ducks, graduation ducks, baby shower rubber duckies, etc. Our premium ducks are perfect for rubber duck collectors offering a vast variety of music-themed, movie-themed, and celebrity-themed ducks, as well as rubber ducks that represent different occupations, sports, nations, and holidays.


Rubber duckies make the perfect gift for every occasion. Whether you use them as bath toys or display ducks, they will always bring a smile to your face!




Our Duckies in the News :



© Copyright 2021 Le Petit Duck Shoppe – Canada’s Largest Selection of Collectible & Character Rubber Ducks – Powered by Lightspeed

How does a floating plastic duckie end up where it does?

In Moby-Duck, Donovan Hohn tracks the fate of 28,800 plastic bath toys (“rubber” ducks, frogs, turtles and beavers) across the northwestern coast to their origins in China and even through the Northwest Passage. But how did these bath toys come to be spread on the shores of Alaska, Washington, Hawaii and Russia?

On January 10th 1992, the Ever Laurel, a large container cargo ship, was caught in a storm in the North Pacific with severe waves rolling her from side to side. Under the strain of the pitching rolling seas, several of the 40 foot long containers snapped their retaining links and crashed into the icy Pacific. The spill happened at 44.7N, 178.1E, about 500 miles south of Shemaya Island in the Western Aleutian Islands and 2,000 miles northwest of the Hawaiian Islands.

Within a day or two at most, the boxes and individual packaging for each set of four floating toys (one of each type) broke down enough for the toys to be set free, though likely not all of them were set free at the same time, which we’ll see later might matter. By November some of the toys had washed up on the beaches of Chickagof Island in southern Alaska’s Inside Passage region, where they were discovered by beachcombers.

The following spring the bath toys were discovered all over 500 miles of the south Alaskan coast from Kayak Island in the north to Coronation Island in the south. In the fall they began washing ashore on Shimaya Island at the western end of the Aleutian Island chain. Since 1992 ducks have washed ashore in waves on the beaches of southern Alaska. Peak numbers of toys washed ashore every 2 years at first, but as they have become weathered by sun and waves the cycle has lengthened with peaks occurring every 3-4 years.

In 1995 some of the toys were collected on Washington state’s beaches. (Figure 1) They have been recovered in Russia, on Kure Atoll (1,200 miles due south of the spill site) and Lanai Island, Hawaii. Their travels have also landed them in more than one scientific journal and at least one widely used introduction to oceanography text.

According to computer models, some of the toys could reach Australia, and South America in the Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and could cross the Arctic to be found on New England beaches or in England. Most, however, will probably be broken down by sun and waves to end up as small bits of plastic in the North Pacific

Figure 1) Confirmed landings of the First Years bath toys. Major current patterns in light blue. – Source: Eric Heupel; created in Google Earth, currents hand drawn over Google Earth; bathy, rubber duck icon created in photoshop.

But how did the the toys come to be on those beaches from Shimaya to Lanai?

When each of the bath toys popped free of their containers and packaging and set off on its journey, that journey was controlled by the same four forces that drive the surface currents of the ocean circulation: wind, friction, the Coriolis force and pressure gradient force (essentially gravity).

The process begins as the winds blow across the water. Friction transfers some of the energy from the winds to the surface layer of water setting it in motion, generally at about 2% of the wind’s speed. A sustained wind of 20mph could generate up to a 0. 4mph current.

The water, however, does not move directly with the wind. Because of the Earth’s rotation, the surface layer of water is deflected from the direction of the prevailing wind. This is the Coriolis force in action. The amount of deflection depends on how far north or south of the equator one is and the direction depends on which hemisphere the movement is happening. On average, the surface skin of water will be deflected 45° to the right or left of the wind direction in the Northern or Southern hemisphere respectively.

As the energy is transferred to deeper layers of water it becomes weaker and continues to be turned by Coriolis forces. Over the surface 100 to 150m of water, the net transport of water is 90 degrees to the right of the sustained average winds (known as the Eckman transport, Figure 2).

Because of the longterm average pattern of winds – easterly trade winds in the tropics, westerlies in the mid latitudes and easterlies again in the polar and sub-polar region – and the effects of Eckman transport, water is piled up in the center of mid-latitude gyres creating a hill or high pressure zone. Similarly, the wind patterns cause low pressure gyres in the sub-polar region. Because Coriolis forces are very weak in the tropics and 0 at the equator, gyres do not form in those regions.

Figure 2) Schematic of Eckman Transport. Image Public Domain, crated by NOAA. Available at

In many ways, the high and low pressure gyres in the ocean are just like the high and low pressure systems in the atmosphere. Just like winds circle high pressure cells clockwise and low pressure cells anti-clockwise in the northern hemisphere (and the opposite in the southern), geostrophic currents form around high and low pressure cells in the ocean, flowing clockwise around high pressure cells and anti-clockwise around low pressure cells.

In the North Pacific there are two gyres that have affected the travel of the bath toys. The North Pacific Gyre has currents rotating clockwise around a high pressure zone and forms the dominant gyre of the North Pacific. Above the North Pacific Gyre, the Sub-Polar or Aleutian Gyre rotates anti-clockwise around a low pressure zone. (Figure 3)

Figure 3. Major currents and gyres of the North Pacific – A crop into an image from the Wikimedia Commons: http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/File:Ocean_currents_ 1943_(borderless)3.png. Original source:  Ocean Currents and Sea Ice from Atlas of World Maps ,  United States Army  Service Forces, Army Specialized Training Division. Army Service Forces Manual M-101 (1943).

These surface gyres provide the major long term (months to years) average movement of surface currents and the bath toys, but details are important for each of the individual toys. Winds change direction and force constantly, which will affect the hour to hour tracks of each toy. Since the toys ride high in the water, at least when new, they can also be pushed directly by the wind.

The more of the toy that floats above the water, the more sail area the wind has to act upon. The more the wind pushes the toy directly, the faster the toy will move and the more the toy’s direction of movement will be closer to the true direction in which the wind is blowing. The toy will also respond to changes in wind direction rapidly when floating high in the water.

Changes in the local wind field also affect the surface currents making them divert from the average current path either in speed or direction or both. These changes in wind and current create turbulence and eddies in a range of energy and size scales and change the paths of each individual toy.

It is also likely that the toys obtained their freedom from their packaging over a period of several hours. It may not matter for the average current and gyre analysis, but it could make a difference for a floating toy whether it turns north or south at the end of the North Pacific Drift current. If it turns north does it continue to cycle in the sub-polar gyre or wash ashore on Chickagof Island or Shimaya Island? Or maybe it travels into and through the Bering Sea and on to the Arctic?

Maybe due to the timing of the release and the small variations in wind and current, the toy will turn south at the end of a loop through the North Pacific Drift current. It could then wash ashore in Washington State as several did in 1995. Perhaps having turned south it will remain afloat all the way through California and enter the North Equatorial current, which will carry it south of Hawaii, to the Philippines and Japan.

Anywhere along the way, another storm or variation in the wind could break it out of the gyre loop and into another current system, perhaps to visit Australia, or it could travel deeper into the interior of the gyre where it may remain for an eternity slowly breaking up and degrading to smaller pieces, new flotsam trapped in the most infamous of the garbage patches.

As for why these floating toys – and countless other accidental floats such as Nike shoes, basketballs, and even computer monitors – are important, it comes down to money and time. Scientists have been performing drifter experiments for quite some time now and in general there are two basic options: cheap and plentiful, or expensive and sparse.

The first option is to use cheap drifters, usually a message in a bottle, and release hundreds of them of them hoping for decent returns (usually 2-3%). The advantage is that drifters are cheap, so many more of them can be used. Ship time is something that can be done relatively cheaply (1-2 days) or it can be piggybacked with other missions that are paying the boat time for longer cruises to more remote starting points. The downside is low rate of return (1-3%) even when rewards are offered.

The second option is to use instrumented drifters or hi-visibility drifters and track them by boat or air. The instrumented drifters are far more expensive so fewer can be used for a given budget, though these drifters can also do oceanographic sampling (temperature, salinity, etc.) and either store the data or phone it home.

Accidental drifters releases like the bath time toys, however, when the time and location of their release is known, can provide literally 10s to 100s of thousands of drifters. Even with a 2% return rate, this is still thousands of data points that can be analyzed to continue to refine our surface ocean models which are used to model and predict oil spill flow, fisheries recruitment, and plankton distribution and transport.

About the Author: Eric Heupel worked in Satellite communications, computers and design for many years, but returned to school to pursue his early love of marine sciences. He is curently working on his Masters in Biological Oceanography at the University of Connecticut’s Avery Point Campus. Eric also blogs at The Other 95%, photo-blogs at Larval Images, has a personal site at Eclectic Echoes, he tweets as @eclecticechoes, and his images are available on Flickr.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Related at Scientific American:

Slabs, Sneakers, Gyres and the Grotesque By Matthew Garcia

Overboard: 28,000 toys and one man, lost at sea By Lindsey Hoshaw

A True Duck Hunt: interview with Donovan Hohn By David Manly

How does a floating plastic duckie end up where it does? By Eric Heupel

Rubber duckie, you’re the one–If only we could find you in the Arctic ice, says NASA By Jordan Lite


Thousands of rubber ducks to land on British shores after 15 year journey

They were toys destined only to bob up and down in nothing bigger than a child’s bath – but so far they have floated halfway around the world.

The armada of 29,000 plastic yellow ducks, blue turtles and green frogs broke free from a cargo ship 15 years ago.

Since then they have travelled 17,000 miles, floating over the site where the Titanic sank, landing in Hawaii and even spending years frozen in an Arctic ice pack.

And now they are heading straight for Britain. At some point this summer they are expected to be spotted on beaches in South-West England.

While the ducks are undoubtedly a loss to the bath-time fun of thousands of children, their adventures at sea have proved an innvaluable aid to science.

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The toys have helped researchers to chart the great ocean currents because when they are spotted bobbing on the waves they are much more likely to be reported to the authorities than the floats which scientists normally use.

And because the toys are made of durable plastic and are sealed watertight, they have been able to survive years adrift at the mercy of the elements.

Boxes of the bathtime toys – made in China for the U.S. firm The First Years Inc – were washed overboard in the eastern Pacific Ocean one stormy January night in 1992 and broke open.

In the intervening time an oceanographer, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, has devoted his retirement to tracking the little yellow ducks and their friends over 17,000 miles, and it is he who has predicted that this summer they will land in the

West of England. Mr Ebbesmeyer said: ‘We’re getting reports of ducks being washed up on America’s eastern seaboard.

“It is now inevitable that they will get caught up in the Atlantic currents and will turn up on English beaches.

“Cornwall and the South-West will probably get the first wave of them.”

Mr Ebbesmeyer said the toys will be easy for British beachboardcombers to spot because they have largely faded to white and have the words “The First Years” stamped upon them.

George Bush Snr was still US President when the toys from The First Years Inc. were made in China, packed into a container and put on a ship for the US.

But after falling overboard, the sea water corroded the card-packaging and the toys floated free. They circled the northern Pacific once before being washed up on the Alaskan shore, then all down the West coast of Canada and the US.

Mr Ebbesmeyer saw immediately how valuable the little toys would be to scientific research of the great ocean currents, the engine of the planet’s entire climate.

He correctly predicted what many thought was impossible – that thousands of them would end up washed into the Arctic ice near Alaska, and then move at a mile a day, frozen in the pack ice, around their very own North-West Passage to the Atlantic.

It proved true years later and in 2003, the first “Friendly Floatees” were found, frozen and then thawed out, on the eastern seaboard of the U.S. and Canada.

So precious to science are they that the US firm that made them is offering a £50 bounty for finding one.


10 JANUARY 1992: Somewhere in the middle of the Pacific Ocean nearly 29,000 First Years bath toys, including bright yellow rubber ducks, are spilled from a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean.

16 NOVEMBER 1992: Caught in the Subpolar Gyre (counter-clockwise ocean current in the Bering Sea, between Alaska and Siberia), the ducks take 10 months to begin landing on the shores of Alaska.

EARLY 1995: The ducks take three years to circle around. East from the drop site to Alaska, then west and south to Japan before turning back north and east passing the original drop site and again landing in North America. Some ducks are even found In Hawaii. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) worked out that the ducks travel approximately 50 per pent faster than the water in the current.

1995 – 2000: Some intrepid ducks escape the Subpolar Gyre and head North, through the Bering Straight and into the frozen waters of the Arctic. Frozen into the ice the ducks travel slowly across the pole, moving ever eastward.

2000: Ducks begin reaching the North Atlantic where they begin to thaw and move Southward. Soon ducks are sighted bobbing in the waves from Maine to Massachusetts.

2001: Ducks are tracked in the area where the Titanic sank.

JULY TO DECEMBER 2003: The First Years company offers a $100 savings bond reward for the recovery of wayward ducks from the 1992 spill. To be valid ducks must be sent to the company and must be found in New England, Canada or Iceland. Britain is told to prepare for an invasion of the wayward ducks as well.

2003: A lawyer called Sonali Naik was on holiday in the Hebrides in north-west Scotland when she found a faded green frog on the beach marked with the magic words ‘The First Years’. Unaware of the significance of her find she left it on the beach. It was only when she was chatting to other guests at her hotel that she realised what she had seen.

Thailand protests: What do the large yellow rubber ducks symbolise?

Since protests started in Thailand in July this year, seeking the removal of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and demanding reform of the Thai monarchy, the movement has seen protesters adopt different mascots to get their message across; everything from singing the Thai version of one of the 1980s musical Les Misérables’ principal songs “Do You Hear the People Sing?” to dinosaur costumes to displaying the three-finger salute.

The latest addition to this compendium is the use of large inflatable pool ducks. But over the past week, these inflatable ducks have become more than just a mascot at the protests.

Why are protesters using inflatable ducks?

News reports quote protesters saying that these inflatable ducks had initially been brought out onto the streets as a joke, while some protestors have told news publications that the rubber ducks were used to mock the government and the monarchy.

But they took on a new role as the Thai government’s crackdown on the protests intensified. According to a Reuters report, these yellow rubber ducks had first made an appearance on Tuesday this past week, when protesters had gathered outside the police headquarters in Bangkok, on what was the day of the most violent of demonstrations.

The protestors had used these ducks as shields and advanced towards police lines when police forces began firing water cannons. In recent photographs and videos from the protests, protesters can be seen carrying large yellow plastic ducks hovering above the crowds.

Demonstrators use inflatable rubber ducks as shields to protect themselves from water cannons during an anti-government protest as lawmakers debate a constitution change, outside the parliament in Bangkok, Thailand, November 17. (Reuters/Athit Perawongmetha)

What are these yellow inflatable ducks?

Observers say that this yellow inflatable rubber duck has been inspired by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s series of floating sculptures titled ‘Rubber Duck’ that has been exhibited in several cities around the world, including Hong Kong, Baku and Sydney.

But a few weeks after it was installed in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour in May 2013, China’s government began imposing censorship on online discussions of the term “Big Yellow Duck” after activists started photoshopping images of the duck into the iconic photo of the Tank Man from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests. Since then, this yellow duck has become an unusual symbol of protests around the world. 📣 Click to follow Express Explained on Telegram

Where else have these ducks surfaced in protests?

In 2016, groups that were calling for the impeachment of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff began using the rubber duck as a mascot. But at that time, Hofman, the artist, had claimed that the use of the figure by these protest groups amounted to copyright infringement.

Rubber Duck by Dutch conceptual artist Florentijn Hofman is pulled by a tugboat at Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour, with the island skyline looms at the background May 2, 2013. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

Versions of these rubber ducks were seen during the 2017-2018 anti-corruption protests in Russia, where among other demands, protestors called for the resignation of Vladimir Putin and his government.

The ducks also surfaced during protests last year in Hong Kong, where protesters confronted police and were photographed carrying these small plastic ducks. One iconic image from these protests in Hong Kong shows a battalion of police standing on one side of a road with a small yellow rubber duck placed on the ground in front.

What happened in Thailand?

Social media platforms were flooded with images of these inflatable rubber ducks from this week’s protests in Thailand. Several of these images show deflated rubber ducks stained with purple dye that protesters said had been projected from water cannons launched by Thai police.

Demonstrators attend a protest calling for the impeachment of Brail’s President Dilma Rouseff at Paulistra Avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 13, 2015. (Reuters/File)

Thailand’s youth quickly turned the yellow rubber duck into a symbol of the protest movement by creating related artwork available for purchase online. One poster shows the rubber duck as a shirtless muscular man, protecting young protesters from a hail of bullets, presumably fired by Thai police. Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong who has been a vocal supporter of Thai protesters had tweeted “Creativity wins. Long live rubber ducks.”

Apart from #policebrutality, the world should also pay attention to #Thaiprotestors‘ creativity. Probably the first place where the powerless citizens use #RubberDuck to fight against tyranny.

Creativity wins.
Long live rubber ducks.#whatishappeninginthailand #MilkTeaAlliance

— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) November 18, 2020

Thai social media users around the world have also taken to various platforms to share content related to the protests using the hashtag #RubberDuck and other related hashtags that have been used since the protests started earlier this year.

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90,000 Rubber ducks – toys that conquered the world!

What are the most popular children’s toys? Dolls – parents of girls will say, cars – mothers and fathers of boys will answer them. However, both options are incorrect, at the very beginning of the list of the most popular toys, rubber ducks have long and firmly settled down. And this is not a joke, everything is more than serious.

When did the duck live in the bathroom?

It is believed that rubber ducklings, intended for play while swimming, appeared on the market in the 30s of the last century.The modern shape of the toy in a classic design was patented in 1949. The first rubber ducks necessarily had a squeaker that made a funny sound when pressed. However, today, not all symbols of domestic swimming are able to make some special sounds. However, this is not so important. The yellow duckling has won popular love for a long time. Such toys are bought for newborns, and many adults do not part with them. It is unlikely that someone from the older generation will admit to you in their warm relationship with the rubber duck.Note, however, that it is not uncommon for a positive toy to be seen in the bathroom in a home where there are no children at all.

The secret of success

When evaluating the popularity of a classic bathing toy, you involuntarily think: “Why a rubber duck for a bath?” Frogs, crocodiles, fish and other animals are also produced in the series of waterfowl entertainment. However, other animals cannot compete with the yellow duckling. The duck figurine consists of two balls, does not have sharp protrusions and angular places.This shape is soothing and pleasant to hold in your hands. The design also deserves special attention. The ducklings look very positive due to their bright colors. Such a toy cannot cause negative impressions, on the contrary, one glance at a smiling bathing companion is enough – and all sad thoughts pass. Bath ducks are perfect for kids of all ages and adults.

Traveling ducklings

You will be surprised, but rubber ducks swim not only in baths. An unusual accident happened in 1992.During an ocean storm, the ship was wrecked, and 29 thousand rubber ducklings set off for free sailing. Desperate travelers are seen after the inhabitants of the coastal regions of Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Canada, Japan and South America. However, this incident made it possible to study ocean currents. The experience was incredibly rewarding. And very soon, rubber ducklings again became assistants to scientists, this time they were specially released near the shores of Greenland to track the melting of glaciers.The results of these studies have been published. And perhaps it was thanks to this that very soon the ducks were able to go on a large-scale voyage again. Duck races are regularly held in many countries around the world. Yellow rubber figurines are released in large bodies of water in Argentina, Singapore, England, USA and Germany. Often up to 250 thousand toys take part in such events. Sometimes even the winners of the duck races are awarded good prizes.

Modern rubber duck: photos of the most unusual toys

Today you can find ducklings on sale, made in a classic design: a yellow body and a red / orange beak.More original ducks are also popular. Modern manufacturers offer creative variations to all lovers of positive bathing. Rubber ducks can be in costumes of superheroes, fairy-tale characters or representatives of different professions. If you wish, you can collect a whole collection of toys for bathing, united by some specific theme. And yet there are real champions among the yellow rubber ducklings. Florentin Hoffmann, a Dutch artist, launched a 32-meter figurine weighing 600 kilograms.The giant duckling set sail in Port Jackson Bay. According to the author, the meaning of this entire installation is simple: sending the symbol of joyful swimming into the ocean, the artist only wanted to remind that all people on earth are brothers swimming in one big bath.

“Even Queen Elizabeth II has her own duck in the bathroom”

Rubber duck and chess entered the American Toy Hall of Fame. To become a member of this closed club, the toy must survive several generations, change the gaming market and become literally a cultural icon.The yellow rubber duck went around bubbles, a ninja turtle and even a scooter. Details – from Aelita Kurmukova.

The rubber duck, according to some sources, is more than 300 years old. At least the first mentions of it are in the early 1800s. True, then it was a duckling who could not swim. A yellow rubber duck with a squeak, with which almost all children splashed, was patented only in 1949 in California. And she made a splash. The secret of popularity was simple: the duck, unlike hedgehogs, hares, kept afloat and did not sink.Since 1991, according to the American Marketing Association, the duck has been one of the twenty most popular gifts. Even Queen Elizabeth II has her own duck in the bathroom. In 2001, after its recognition, sales of rubber ducklings grew by 80%. Excellent PR for rubber duck manufacturers. In Soviet times, the rubber duck was at the peak of sales, said Nadezhda Kisileva, head of the public relations department of Detsky Mir Group.

“The yellow rubber duck was cult in Soviet times.No bathing was complete without this wonderful yellow face. There is also a photograph in my family archive of me sitting in the bathroom with this duckling. It’s such a beacon, like a tumbler, “she said.

The modern duckling, if we consider the issue of a patent for the production of a rubber toy, is already 55 years old. And during that time, the duckling became a billionaire, perhaps overtaking Scrooge McDuck in his fortune. Although the hero of “Duck Tales” tops the Forbes list as the richest fictional character.Journalists counted him $ 65.5 billion. The yellow rubber duck is included in the Guinness Book of Records. Rather, the owner of a collection of nearly 3 thousand ducklings. The rubber duck is now a member of the American Toy Hall of Fame. And he overtook the ninja turtle and soap bubbles among the nominees. And this will bring additional income to rubber duck manufacturers, says Antonina Tsitsulina, president of the Children’s Products Industry Association.

“America’s National Hall of Fame will boost the sales of this toy. They are collecting toys that have a proven track record and have a long history and experience.”This yellow duck is included in the so-called list of reference toys. Children and your grandchildren are likely to have such a yellow duck in their toy library. My friends, I also have a collection of several ducks, “she said.

The yellow duckling has had ups and downs. But more swims. In 2007, the world learned about the giant duckling – an installation by the Dutch sculptor Florentin Hoffmann. His 18-meter duckling has swam in Japan, China, Brazil and even New Zealand. Rubber duck races are held in many countries around the world. In London, the 2009 Great British Race saw 205,000 rubber toys. And in Singapore until 2007 there was a lottery with a prize of 1 million Singapore dollars (now it is $ 805 thousand). This amount was received by the owner of the duck, which was the first to come along the river to the finish line.

90,000 First a cult product, then a symbol of protest – Company secret

50-year-old Wolf did not think that this idea would become a matter of life for him, but one order decided everything. In January 2002, a duck, similar to basketball player Allen Iverson, was exhibited at the stadium of the NBA Philadelphia 76ers, and it was shown on TV all over America.The business flourished thanks to the likes of the 76ers, corporate clients. In just six months, the company increased its production (orders were filled by a Chinese factory) three times – up to 1000 rubber products per week. CelebriDucks’ revenues exceeded $ 3 million that year.

CelebriDucks have not become less popular in ten years. They are featured on the popular Entertainment Weekly’s Top 100 Gifts list, and companies like Disney sometimes order batches of up to a million toys. Some of the products are manufactured at the company’s American factory.In 2011, Wolf rebuilt an abandoned New York factory that had released Ernie’s duck from Sesame Street 40 years earlier.

Ducks against corruption

“A rubber duck is a duck-shaped toy, usually yellow in color. It can be made of rubber or foam. The yellow rubber duck has become associated with bathing, ”explains Wikipedia. This is true, but in the past few years, the duck has become associated not only with the bubble bath, but also with political protests.

In 2013, a popular meme on the Chinese Internet was the photo-toad of the classic picture “Unknown Rebel”, in which tanks traveling to Tiananmen Square were replaced with four giant yellow ducks. The author of the photo toad used a photo installation by the Dutch artist Florentin Hoffmann, who in 2007 sent a yellow duck 26 m high to swim along the Loire River. “The rubber duck knows no boundaries, does not distinguish between people and does not carry a political connotation,” – said later about this Hoffman.Nevertheless, the toy quickly became a symbol of freedom, and local authorities had to not only block the pictures, but also prohibit search engines from issuing links for the query “big yellow duck.”

90,000 How Rubber Ducks Became Evergreen’s Major Failure – Almost 30 Years Ago

Yesterday, March 29, Egypt resumed traffic on the Suez Canal, which was blocked for six days. All because of the grounded Evergreen container ship.Social networks recalled another loud and absurd incident associated with it: in 1992, 28 thousand rubber ducks fell into the sea. We will tell you how it happened.

In 1992, near the Aleutian Islands in the subarctic front zone, characterized by strong winds and storms, during which the wave height reaches 10 meters, the ship Ever Laurel of the Greek company Technomar Shipping sailed with the cargo of the Taiwanese company Evergreen Marine Corporation. He was caught in one of these storms and lost 12 containers with cargo at sea.

Such a story seems commonplace – from 2000 to 10,000 containers are lost at sea every year. But this time the load was special. More than 28 thousand rubber toys for children got into the ocean: ducklings, frogs, beavers, turtles. Many of them still float in the ocean, and those found sometimes appear for sale on eBay.

Ahem! I think you’ll find @sciencemuseum has the best duck: this is one of nearly 30k plastic ducks swept overboard in North Pacific in 1992 + washed up in Sitka, Alaska.It was used by Curtis Ebbesmeyer + other oceanographers, to track drift patterns

– Dr Elizabeth Bruton (she / her) 🏳️‍🌈 (@lizbruton) January 4, 2019

“Hey, British Museum, show us your best duck!” / “Ahem! I think the Science Museum has the best duck. It is one of nearly 30,000 rubber ducks that fell overboard in the North Pacific in 1992 and washed ashore in Sitka, Alaska. It was used by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and other oceanographers to track drift patterns. “

Thirteen years after the incident, journalist Donovan Hon decided to find out what happened to the ducks.Initially, he planned to conduct several interviews with oceanographers, talk to those who comb beaches in search of valuables, and write about open swimming of bath toys without leaving home.

But in the end, he had to make several flights, from Hawaii to the Arctic, to track the path of the ducks. And the story formed the basis for Moby-Duck: The True Story of the 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea, as well as Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, including the author, who set out to find them.

In the book, he tells how the team managed to catch one of the ducks and a rubber beaver and trace their route across the ocean from the accident site to the find.

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