Crested Gecko (Incredible Creatures by Safari Ltd.)

Before we begin the review, I would like to extend my gratitude towards Safari Ltd. for kindly sending along this figure as a review sample. The figure itself is not yet available but will be shortly and I hope my review helps you decide if this figure is a good fit for your collection. Should this review encourage you to place an order with Safari make sure you use my discount code (GWANGI15) at the checkout to save 15% on any Safari branded item. The discount is good until June 10th and remember that Safari also offers free shipping on orders over $50 in the United States.

The Safari crested gecko (Correlophus ciliatus) is new for 2022 and part of their Incredible Creatures line. It’s a fitting addition too. The crested gecko is only found on the island country of New Caledonia. Specifically, on the southern portion of the island of Grand Terre and on Isle of Pines. It was first described in 1866 but went undetected for so long afterwards that it was believed to be extinct until its rediscovery in 1994. Now, the crested gecko is one of the most popular pet reptiles in the world. Easy and affordable to keep, plentiful in the pet trade, and available in a staggering assortment of captive bred color morphs, we no longer have to ask if the crested gecko is extinct or not. Incredible creature indeed!

I keep and occasionally breed crested geckos myself and currently have three in my collection. As such, I was keen to take a closer look at Safari’s model. One of my geckos, Big Red, will be helping along with this review. She’s the easiest to handle of the three and although I would have liked to use all three, I wasn’t enthusiastic about wrangling them all for the photoshoot. Readers of my reviews will know that this isn’t the first time I’ve compared a toy animal to its living counterpart.

The Safari crested gecko measures 4.25” (10.7cm) from nose-to-vent and measures about 9.5” (24cm) in total length. The actual crested gecko measures 6-10” (15–25 cm) so this figure is in 1/1 scale and represents a larger individual.

Crested geckos are nocturnal and arboreal, preferring to live in the forest canopy and sleeping during daylight hours. They’re omnivorous and feed on various insects, fruit, nectar, and pollen. As such, feeding them in captivity is pretty easy as they’ll take a range of prepared foods. Crested geckos are capable of caudal autotomy (dropping their tail), but their tails do not grow back. Most wild crested geckos usually end up losing their tail, eventually.

My initial reaction to the Safari crested gecko was one of pure amazement. This toy looks like the real deal. It looks so much like my gecko, Big Red, that I was able to fool my daughter with it twice the same night. She’s only 7, but I know I’ll be able to prank a few adults with it as well. I don’t know who sculpted it but I daresay that they must have some crested geckos themselves, or access to some at least. They’re certainly familiar with the species.

The entirety of the toy is covered in fine, granular scales which in life give the animal a soft and smooth texture. Labial scales are sculpted along the lips and the hair-like projections that give the gecko its name are present running above the eyes, along the sides of the head, and down the back to the base of the tail. Loose skin can be seen stretching from the ankles to the base of the tail and this is edged in fine scales, giving it a serrated texture.

At the base of the tail and behind the vent are two small bumps and these are its cloacal spurs. Both males and females have these spurs but I would say that this gecko is a female, as it lacks a hemipenile bulge and the femoral pores that males have.

The toes are phenomenally detailed with a small claw on each and when flipped you can see that each toe has sculpted lamella which look like skin folds. In life, each lamella is covered in hair-like setea. On the ends of the setea are flattened pads, called spatulae. All of this is what allows the crested gecko to climb virtually any vertical surface, even glass.

The eyes of the figure are enormous and painted with a glossy finish. They’re so well executed that they could almost pass for glass and give the toy much of its realism. Each eye is yellow with an elliptical pupil and orange striations. Crested geckos have a transparent scale that covers and protects each eye. They’re able to clean them off with their tongue but since the eyes are technically covered, they aren’t licking their eyeball directly, contrary to popular belief.  

The figure is predominantly painted orange and is accurate to one of the many wild color variations that exist for this species. Wild crested geckos can be red, orange, yellow, olive green, brown, or gray. The lips and underside of the toy are painted white, and the underside of the feet are gray. The tail is a combination of red and white. Crested geckos can change their color from pale to dark and when “fired up” my Big Red looks very much like the Safari crested gecko but alas, she didn’t want to get fired up for the photo shoot.

Big Red, fired up and looking like the Safari crested gecko.

The Safari crested gecko is a masterpiece, a meticulously sculpted and anatomically flawless figure that I think you’ll agree is essential to any collection of 1/1 scale animals. It is as much an educational model as it is a kid’s toy too, with many possible uses as a teaching aid or in dioramas. The Safari crested gecko is new for 2022 and will be available online soon. It retails for $13.99.

The Safari crested gecko with other 1/1 scale Safari figures.

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