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The Leucrotta was a magical beast that resembled a moose in appearance.[1]

Description

The Leucrotta resembles a large moose with very long, jagged antlers and an impossibly huge mouth in respect to its head and face.[2]

Behind the scenes

  • Leucrotta (also spelled Crocotta, Leucrocotta, and Crocuta) are creatures mentioned in medieval Bestiaries, such as the Aberdeen Bestiary, as the offspring of a hyena and a lion. They are said to be able to mimic the voices and sounds of those around them. They have no teeth, but a long sharp bone, and are sometimes combined with the bestiary mention of hyenas which were said to change sex on alternating years.
  • Pliny the Elder wrote that the offspring of a crocotta (hyena) and a lion was the leucrota, which could imitate the sound of a human voice. The leucrota was said to be a cloven-hooved animal the size of a male donkey, yet swift and fierce. Described as having the haunches of a stag; the tail, chest, and neck of a lion; and the head of a badger, its mouth was said to open back as far as its ears. Instead of teeth, it had ridges of bone that could crush anything. It was said to never close its eyes, and its backbone was said to be so rigid that it had to turn around to see what was behind it. Many classicists believe that the source of Pliny's description was Ctesias' description of the cynolycus. Others believe that he may have been repeating a mangled description of the hyena.[3]
  • The Byzantine scholar Photius summarising the book Indica, by the Greek author Ctesias, writes: "In Ethiopia, there is an animal called crocottas, vulgarly kynolykos [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."
  • Later bestiaries of the Middle Ages confounded these various accounts, so that one finds the largely mythical creature given differing names and various characteristics, real and imaginary. Among the characteristics not found in the ancient sources was the idea that the eyes of a crocotta or leucrota were "striped gems that could give the possessor oracular powers when placed under the tongue".
  • Local folklore about hyenas often gives them powers such as gender switching (males and females are difficult to distinguish), shape shifting, and human speech—all of which encourages the belief that the hyena may have contributed to the original myth of the crocotta, and in turn, the leucrota.
  • With large and unequal horns, the Leucrota looks like a moose. At first glance, there is nothing special about this creature...until it opens its mouth. His oral cavity is so large that to brush the animal's teeth, Newt Scamander and his assistant Bunty manage to put their whole heads and shoulders inward.

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. https://ew.com/movies/2018/08/09/fantastic-beasts-baby-nifflers/
  2. "Beware! New Beasts Ahead in “Crimes of Grindelwald”
  3. Mike Ferguson, James Jacobs, Hal Maclean & Sean K Reynolds. (2008). Bestiary. A Memory of Darkness, p. 86. Paizo Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-60125-130-5. URL: <http://www.worldsofimagination.co.uk/monster%20Leucrota.htm>