Not Slimy, but FluffyGross-Cute Giant Salamander Is a Hot Topic
Is a body with mottled skin cute or gross? Giant salamander stuffed toys, a souvenir of Kyoto Aquarium, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, have gained a reputation as "gross but cute." The XXL toy, the largest of the five sizes, is 170 centimeters long. They have become a hot topic on the Internet due to store staff loudly greeting those who buy the plushies.
Giant salamanders are one of the world's largest amphibians and can be up to 150 centimeters in length. The aquarium keeps and displays 21 giant salamanders. Although they are not as popular as penguins and dolphins, it is reported that the salamander stuffed toys' sales are way ahead in the aquarium's museum shop annex.
The plushies come in five sizes from 19 to 170 centimeters long. Each toy faithfully reproduces the giant salamander's brown and black mottled body, forelegs, hind legs and round, black eyes.
Unlike a real salamander, the stuffed one is not slimy, but fluffy. The aquarium's spokesperson said with a smile, "The stuffed toys are good as body pillows or cushions."
When a customer buys an LL-sized (90 centimeters long) or XXL-sized stuffed toy, clerks express their appreciation in a loud voice, saying, "Thank you for purchasing a giant salamander!" However, "the customers react in various ways: some are surprised, while others feel embarrassed," according to a clerk.(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)