Released in 2014 as part of their Incredible Creatures series, Safari released what may be a very long overdue figure–a piranha. This is especially surprising given how this fish is very well-known to aquarium keepers, fish and river enthusiasts, and horror and adventure story fans. And of course viewers of the show River Monsters, where piranhas make frequent appearances.
What is especially surprising is how long it has taken to get a wide-release, well-made figure of these notorious fish.
This isn’t to say there are not any. I am aware of at least a few that I don’t have that aren’t particularly great. I also personally have two other small figures, both available pretty much only in Japan (this is often true of obscure or unique animals). One is a ‘bottlecap’ figure made by Kaiyodo as part of their Capsule Aquarium line. It is a great little scene, with a little bit of river bottom to give it character. They’re hard to find, and aren’t exactly toys, better suited for displays.
The other piranha I have is a different species, the Piraya or Man-Eater Piranha. It is a small figure like the Kaiyodo, but unlike the Kaiyodo it would be considered a toy. This figure is part of a card-collecting game out of Japan called (I think) Animal Kaiser. Some of them are futuristic and strange looking, but the piranha is fortunate in being mostly realistic. I’m not really sure about the game or how the cards work (I don’t have any) but the small fish I have is a decent figure.
So that brings us to what is likely the best–and only–true toy currently made of these iconic fishes, the Safari Ltd. Incredible Creatures Red-Bellied Piranha. It is a nice, big figure, with lots of detail. It stands well on a shelf or floor, so it’s great for playing or displaying. It is also a good floating figure (I tested it), and seems made for bath time or pool play, although it won’t float upright (it will lie on its side). The bright belly will make it easier to find on the surface of the water.
The figure is about 5″ long or so, and is described as 1:2 scale, so about half the full grown size of a real adult piranha. Even then, the big teeth are clearly visible (but not as sharp as the real thing, of course) with a bright, watching eyes, just like the real thing.
I have been involved with aquariums for nearly 30 years, which means that I am of course familiar with piranha–and I think this Safari figure may be more fun than the real thing. No chance of getting bitten, and much easier to care for! Plus, while a school could be fun, this particular figure won’t mind being solitary.
It is great to see Safari finally start making some really unique freshwater animals for any of their lines–the Incredible Creatures line is a good fit because of the larger size and improved playability inherent to that series. And best of all, Safari isn’t stopping here–in 2015 they are bringing out another major freshwater fishy predator, a Largemouth Bass, that we are hoping to have in stock soon as well!
You can find it for sale on the site here, in the Safari Ltd Incredible Creatures section.