Spielwarenmesse: Fancy animal world

Choose language


Frau mit Einhorn Hausschuhen


Fancy animal world

from Maria Costa

The toy industry is getting a great source of inspiration from the world of animals, beyond traditional ones like cow, horse or pig. Nowadays, kids are getting acquainted with very unique and rare animals from all parts of the world, from several cultures and environments. Toy companies can definitely take advantage of this approach to get a broad range of interesting ideas.


Plush Llama
Lama, Club Petz/ IMC toys

This mammal has been used as a domestic animal by the habitants of the Andes Mountains for centuries. Llamas, a relative of the camel, have mainly been used for transportation and to convert their wool into different fabrics. And if we checked the toy aisle a few years ago it would have been very unusual to find anything related to them, but over the last couple of years the options have multiplied. This animal from South America is clearly one of the growing trends in the industry.

Now children can enjoy Llamas in almost all categories of toys. For instance, for Arts and Crafts, the company Ann Williams has in the market “Craft-tastic Yarn Llama Kit”, Alex Toys “DIY Knot-a-Llama Plush”, Klutz “Sew Your Own Furry Llama Pillow”, Avenir “sewing llama”, just to name a few. There are many other examples in other categories from baby toys, to interactive characters, plush toys and more. Some particularly well though-out are “Who’s your Llama” by Jakks Pacific and the new Pikmi Pops Surprise “Pajama Llamas & Friends” as they respond to other trends as well like collectibles and the Wow Effect trend.


Narwhals are also known as the unicorns of the sea (and unicorns are still hot!). They are a species of whale that live in Arctic waters and are singular as the males have a very long helical tusk. Even if they are not well known in many countries so far, this might change thanks to the toy industry. As seen at the last Spielwarenmesse, narwhals are a topic being used in several new toys and games.

Some examples of products in the market in 2019 are Fingerlings “Light Up Narwhal Nelly” by WowWee with a horn that lights up, Teeny Ty Nelly the Narwhal Soft Toy, “Narwhal Popper” toy by Hog Wild, “Littlest Pet Shop Ambrosia Narwhalz” by Hasbro, or “Octonauts Action Figure Rescue Kit - Peso and the Narwhal Playset” by Fisher Price.

Light Up Narwhal Nelly, WowWee


Sloths are mammals found in South America and Central America. They are usually hanging from trees and are notorious for how slow they move. They have been introduced into children’s world with movies such as Ice Age and Zootopia. In the last one, the little ones could really appreciate their lethargy in the slow funny exasperated sequence in which they appear. Most of the companies mentioned above in this article have sloths in their catalogs, and it seems like other companies are going to continue the trend in the future.

To get an idea of some of the products in the market, check the interactive “Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth” by Fisher Price, or the “Hanging Three Toed Sloth Plush” by Wild Republic. Sloths are also featured in board games such as the “Sloth in a Hurry” by EeBoo, costumes like the “Animal Cosplay Costume New Sloth Adult Pajamas” by Wotogold, collectives such as “Zoops Electronic Twisting Zooming Climbing Toy Disco Sloth Pet Toy” by Hasbro, and so on.

Plüschversion des Dreifingerfaultiers

Suricates or meerkats

Wooden bowling set featuring Meerkats
Meerkat Bowling/ Plantoys

This animal living in the African deserts of Kalahari and Namib is getting popular. And its importance is probably going to increase with the new Lion King movie coming out in July this year. Schleich and Steiff are just a few examples of relevant brands that already have suricates in their product lines. In the last Spielwarenmesse, other companies presented new toys and games based on this mammal. ‘The fun game of bowling “Meerkat Bowling” by Plantoys features these cute animals.

Rare animals are on the rise

To conclude, rare animals are on the rise. That is good news for the industry as there are tons of exceptional animals in the world that can serve as an inspiration to create innovative toy and games that appeal to children and parents. Llamas, narwhals, sloths and suricates are just some examples. Think about animals and other beings that are totally un-known or just not too exploited by toy companies e.g. peacocks, hedgehogs, draco lizards, deep-sea jellyfish, axolotls, hickory horned devil, Venezuelan poodle moth, glaucus atlanticus called Blue Dragon, et cetera. Then, while improving your business you will be contributing to educating children in the vast fauna that populates our loving earth.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spielwarenmesse eG.

Expert knowledge, the newest trends and latest developments of the industry. Stay well-informed with the monthly visitor newsletter of Spielwarenmesse®: subscribe now


Author of this article:

Maria Costa, AIJU

Tags in this article:


Stay informed with trends and developments of the toy market. Register for one of our newsletter.



Stay informed with trends and developments of the toy market. Register for one of our newsletter.