Review and photos by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
In 1798, a specimen of a most unusual Australian animal perplexed a great many scientific minds in Great Britain. Some even went so far as to suspect that it was a hoax. And really, who could fault them for being suspicious of a small, furry mammal with a duck-like bill, a beaver-like tail, otter-like feet, venomous spines, and the ability to lay eggs like a reptile? But such is the incredible yet humble platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus).
Given that the focus of Southlands Replicas is “animals from around and south of the equator,” and particularly Australian ones, it makes sense for them to have produced a figure of a platypus. And wow, what a tiny one it is! From the tip of its bill to the end of its tail, this miniature monotreme measures merely 5 cm long, making it approximately 1:9 on average for a female (see below). While this does put it in scale with the other SR figures I’ve reviewed here, which is certainly nice, it also means that it wouldn’t be safe to allow very young children to play with it, as it could present a choking hazard. The small size also means it can be lost very easily.
This toy’s size hasn’t prevented it from being beautifully crafted. The nostrils are visible on the smooth bill, the webbing on the feet is well-defined, and the fur covering the body has a sleek, wet appearance to it. The platypus is coloured dark brown on top and white on the bottom. The bill and feet are black and the tiny eyes are glossy black.
In terms of accuracy, this toy is as good as it gets. Both the bill and the tail have the correct shape and the stubby limbs are properly positioned on the sides of the body as opposed to underneath. The platypus is posed with its body held straight and its head raised, making it appear decidedly cute. According to SR, this individual is a female. Males can be distinguished from females not only by their larger size, but also by the presence of venomous spurs on their ankles. Males have been observed using their spurs in combat during the mating season, but they’ll also think nothing of using them on predators or unwary humans as well. The venom isn’t strong enough to kill a person, but it causes excruciating pain!
Overall, I find this to be an exquisite little platypus toy, but again, I would caution parents against buying it for their very little ones. I will be keeping mine on my desk for a few more years before passing it on to my son. If you’re in search of a larger version, I would recommend checking out the ones by CollectA and Safari Ltd.