Review and photographs by Suspsy; edited by bmathison1972
Crocodiles are some of the most awesome and ancient predators on Earth, and as such, they have proven quite the mainstay in the world of animal toys. Indeed, it is probably fair to say that they are the most popular and frequent reptiles to appear in toy form. In this review, I’ll be examining Schleich’s 2015 figure.
Although this toy is simply billed as “Crocodile,” its overall appearance, along with the fact that it is depicted alongside African fauna in Schleich’s advertising, makes it safe to conclude that it is a Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus). Mature males of this species are known to measure over six metres long and weigh more than a ton. This makes the Nile crocodile both the biggest reptile and the biggest carnivore on the African continent, as well as the second biggest reptile in the world after the saltwater crocodile.
For its own part, this toy measures a very respectable 18.5 cm long, making it 1:15-1:28 in scale [editor’s comment: scale based on ATF walkaround by brontodocus]. Main colours are muddy brown, with a darker shade covering the dorsal region and a lighter shade for the ventral one. Very dark brown spots adorn the flanks and the tail. The claws are dark grey, the tiny eyes are pale yellow, and the white teeth and pale pink mouth are covering with grey wash to give them a dirty appearance. Hardly what you’d call a pretty ensemble of colours, but precisely what you’d expect on a big old croc.
This croc is posed in an active stance with its deadly head held high and turning to the right, its left arm extended back with only the tips of the digits touching the ground, and its tail curled in an S-shape. Looks as though it’s right in the act of bursting from the shallows to lunge at unsuspecting prey. And for added play value, this toy features a hinged lower jaw that opens to a maximum angle of roughly 40 degrees. That’s not nearly as wide as a real croc’s gape, but it’s certainly enough to allow this toy to chomp down on the legs of other African animals in your collection. In addition to fish and other reptiles, adult Nile crocodiles eat almost anything that ventures into the water or to its edge: birds, baboons, warthogs, antelopes, zebras, buffaloes, giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas, humans, and very occasionally, lions. There have even been incidents of Nile crocodiles chomping on the trunks of elephants, but this is probably due to them mistaking the trunk for a much smaller animal. Rhinos also appear to be too big to attack on a regular basis, and hippos have been known to kill crocodiles that cross them.
The scales and osteoderms covering our croc’s body are well-sculpted and generally accurate. There are multiple rows of triangular osteoderms running along the back that eventually merge into a single row near the end of the thick, powerful tail. Smaller scales adorn the head and limbs while large ones cover the sides of the tail as well as the entire underbelly. The head is unmistakable for a crocodile: long and relatively narrow with both the upper and lower teeth visible when the jaws are closed. It should be noted, however, that this toy has only around 30 teeth, whereas a real adult Nile crocodile has 64 to 68. As well, there ought to be bigger osteoderms on the back of the neck.
To be perfectly frank, I do not consider this toy to be the best representation of its species. Both Mojo Fun and Papo offer ones with better sculpting detail, and CollectA also has a Nile crocodile with an articulated jaw and a dynamic pose. Nevertheless, the Schleich version is still a pretty solid toy, and also relatively cheap and widely available. It is for those reasons that I selected it for my son’s growing animal collection. And he’s quite happy with it!