Review and photos by Suspsy ; edited by bmathison1972
The perentie, Varanus giganteus, is Australia’s largest lizard and the world’s fourth largest lizard after the Komodo dragon, Asian water monitor, and crocodile monitor. Growing up to over two metres in length, they inhabit hot desert regions and feed on virtually anything they can catch and kill with their sharp teeth and claws. They are also known to use their long tails as a weapon against prey or enemies.
Southlands Replicas is one of the newest animal toy companies, and being based out of New South Wales, their main focus is on fauna from Australia and the surrounding regions. As such, they have produced what I believe is the very first figure of a perentie. From nose to tail tip, this individual measures 15 cm long, making it 1:12 scale on average. It is posed with the front half of its body raised high off the ground on its sturdy forelimbs. The hind limbs are sprawled out to the sides and the powerful tail is curling to the left. A very natural-looking pose for any monitor lizard.
The perentie can be recognized in part by its distinctive colouration, which is replicated rather well on this toy. The main colours are dark grey and beige with round spots covering the animal from neck to tail. The underside of the head and neck are covered in a grid-like stripe pattern while the belly and tail feature oval shapes that appear almost perfectly symmetrical. Such colours undoubtedly come in handy in a rocky desert environment. The eyes, nostrils, and ear holes are black and the claws are very dark grey.
This toy also features the characteristic triangular head and long neck of a perentie. The tail looks thick and powerful, but also a little too short. It really ought to have a longer, tapering tip. Mind, it’s not uncommon for lizards to lose the tips of their tails to accidents or attempts at predation, so perhaps this individual is one such survivor. Fine round scales cover the entire body, along with heavy wrinkles on the neck and flanks.
You’ve probably noticed by now that my perentie is missing a couple of toes on its left hind foot. That’s the result of allowing my two year old son to play with it. At some point, he must have dropped it on bare floor, or possibly even thrown it. It’s unfortunate, but I simply pretend that this individual is a survivor of a violent encounter with a dingo, or possibly another perentie. They are known to be cannibalistic!
Overall, I find this toy to be a beautifully sculpted and painted rendition of a very cool reptile. It’s fairly easy to find toys of kangaroos or koalas, but certainly not perenties, so kudos to Southlands Replicas for giving a nod to Australia’s largest lizard. This toy is available at MiniZoo, which is run by the same people.