The name Kaprosuchus means ‘boar crocodile,’ and that pretty much says it all about this fantastic and frightful crocodyliform from Late Cretaceous Africa.
Papo’s 2016 Kaprosuchus figure is positively massive, far more so than I originally anticipated. It measures 22 cm long and is slightly over 10 cm tall due to its raised tail. Incidentally, the first length estimate of Kaprosuchus–which is known only from a single skull–was six metres, right up there with the dangerous saltwater crocodile of today. Later estimates, however, have placed it at slightly over three metres long, which is the same size as an average American alligator. Not exactly what you’d call a giant, but still big enough to kill and eat you.
Unlike modern alligators and crocodiles, this Kaprosuchus is standing high and proud off the ground on large, powerful legs. The big tail is flailing about in the air, ready to knock something right off its feet. Although only a skull of Kaprosuchus has been found, paleontologists have determined that the eyes were positioned laterally and somewhat anteriorly. This strongly suggests an animal that lived mainly on land as opposed to the swamps. As well, the robust snout with its bulbous tip indicates that Kaprosuchus used its head as a battering ram, knocking out its prey before chomping down with those terrifying teeth. Unfortunately, the head of this figure is missing both of those distinct features. It does have the two rugose horns jutting out at the back, but overall, it looks more like a saltwater or a Nile crocodile’s head, aside from the teeth, of course.
And what teeth! The sculptor definitely got the Kaprosuchus‘ dentition correct, with multiple sets of huge caniniform teeth in the upper and lower jaws. It doesn’t take much imagination to envision how deadly these would be in real life! Like many of Papo’s prehistoric carnivores, the mouth on this one is hinged, allowing for fun play or impressive display. The main colours on the toy are dark grey, light grey, and light brown with tiny cream accents on the back, grey claws, gold eyes, an off pink mouth, and ivory teeth. The hide has been painstakingly modelled after that of a modern crocodilian’s, with countless heavy scales and multiple rows of osteoderms. We don’t know for sure that Kaprosuchus possessed such armour, but it’s within the realm of possibility.
So how does this walking fang factory compare to the one from Wild Safari? Well, as far as sheer sculpting detail and scariness are concerned, victory definitely goes to the Papo Kapro. But in terms of scientific accuracy, the Safari ‘suchus wins due to its better placed eyes and its more bulbous snout. It’s also way less expensive–especially given that Papo has jacked up their prices this year. Bottom line, these are both great toys.
Indeed, the Kaprosuchus is now one of my favourite Papo figures. Like the Baryonyx and the Feathered Velociraptor, it’s got some noticeable anatomical errors, but it’s just so big and detailed and impressive that you’re willing to overlook the shortcomings. Highly recommended.