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Leucrocotta

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Image of a Leucrocota, from Aberdeen Bestiary manuscript c. 1200

The Leucrocotta (or Leukrokotta or Corocotta) was a creature that was native to Africa. It had the body of a stag, the neck of a lion, hooves, and a very wide mouth that had a sharp ridge rather than teeth.

Textual ReferenceEdit

"In Aithiopia (Ethiopia) there is an animal called Krokottas (Crocotta), vulgarly Kynolykos (Cynolycus, Dog-Wolf), of amazing strength. It is said to imitate the human voice, to call men by name at night, and to devour those who approach it. It is as brave as a lion, as swift as a horse, and as strong as a bull. It cannot be overcome by any weapon of steel."--Ctesias, Indica (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 72) (trans. Freese) (Greek historian C4th B.C.)

"It seems that the Hyaina (Hyena) and the Korokottai (Corocottae), as they call it, are viciously clever animals. At any rate the Hyaina prowls about cattle-folds by night and imitates men vomiting. And at the sound dogs come up, thinking it is a man. Whereupon it seizes and devours them. I shall now relate the villainy of the Korokottai, of which I have actually heard. It conceals itself in thickets and then listens to woodcutters calling one another by name, and even to anything they say. And then it imitates their voices and speaks (though the story may be fabulous) with a voice that sounds human at any rate, calling out the name which it has heard. And the man who has been called approaches: the animal withdraws and calls again: the man follows the voice all the more. But when it has drawn him away from his fellow-workers and has got him alone, it seizes him and kills him and then makes a meal of him after luring him on with its call."--Aelian, On Animals 7. 22 (trans. Scholfield) (Greek natural history C2nd A.D.)

In Modern CultureEdit

The Leucrocotta appears in Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus "The Demi-God Diaries"

TriviaEdit

  • The Leucrocotta was most likely an exaggerated explanation of a hyena.
  • The Leucrocotta was said to be able to imitate the voices of people to lure them as their prey.

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Beasts: AmphisbaenaBasiliskEaleKatobleponesLeucrocottaManticoreEthiopian PegasiEthiopian Bulls
Related Articles: MonstersIndian Beasts

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