Review and photographs by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
Spider monkeys, which belong to the genus Ateles, live in the jungles of Central and South America. They derive their popular name from their long, spindly limbs and prehensile tail. Such adaptations make them superbly agile climbers despite their relatively large size.
Safari’s spider monkey was originally released all the way back in 1998 (back when the Wild Safari Wildlife line was known as Wild Safari Jungle!), making it one of their oldest animal figures still in production. It is posed walking on all fours with its tail curled high over its back, giving it a height of nearly 8 cm and a length of 7 cm. It is coloured dark brown on its dorsal half and medium brown on its ventral half with light brown for its face and ears. Black is used for the mouth and nostrils and the big round eyes are black with white dots. I’m honestly not sure if these are supposed to be light reflecting off the eyes or actual pupils, but either way, they end up giving this monkey a rather cartoonish appearance.
This figure’s colour scheme does not match that of any of the seven known species of spider monkey, although in the toy animal community it has been refereed to as the red-faced spider monkey, A. paniscus. It honestly appears as though whoever picked the colours simply assumed that, since monkeys are usually coloured brown in pop culture depictions, a spider monkey must be no different. Needless to say, while some of the species do indeed possess brown fur, none of those ones are as plain as this figure. It is disappointing to say the least. I wasn’t collecting any animal figures back in 1998, but apparently Safari’s standards for accuracy were considerably lower back in those days compared to now.
Which isn’t to say that this monkey is all bad. The fur covering the entire body is fairly well-sculpted. The raised tail looks strong and prehensile, as do the gangling arms and legs. The hands and feet are elongated as well. Looking at this toy, it’s quite easy to see how the term “spider monkey” originated. And there is certainly something undeniably cute about it. Children are especially likely to find it appealing.
So, in conclusion, while this Safari spider monkey doesn’t score well on colour accuracy, it is still pretty recognizable as a member of Ateles. Indeed, if Safari were to simply apply a better colour scheme, this 20+ year old simian would really shine.