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Many strange animals and creatures exist in the world of mythology. Almost every culture in the world has stories about some sort of mythological animals. Here is a guide to some of the more fantastical creatures found in both Eastern and Western myths. This list focuses on mythical beings that are entirely animalistic in their appearances.
The Exotic Mythological Beasts
Baku - These creatures are the head of an elephant, body of a lion, tail of a cow, and the legs of a tiger. They are found in Chinese and Japanese myths. The baku eat bad dreams or nightmares. Historically, their images or the word “baku” was placed on pillowcases to help ensure good sleep.
Chimera- The head of a lion, body of a goat, tail of a serpent, and it breathes fire. This is an extremely fanciful creature, and often symbolizes unique combinations or eclectic energies.
Gryphon (Griffin) - The body of a lion, the head, wings and talons of an eagle, and the ears of a horse. This creature is associated with the sun and they were thought to guard places where there was gold.
Read About Mythological Animals
Drawing a Gryphon
About fantasy and mythological animals
- Baku (spirit) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In Japan evil dreams are believed to be the result of evil spirits, and the supernatural creature called Baku is known as Eater of Dreams.
In Greek mythology, the Chimera is a monster, depicted as an animal with the head of a lion, the body of a she-goat, and the tail of a dragon (sometimes it has multiple heads).
- D Is For Dragon
Dragons are mythological creatures which some people say were inspired by the reality of dinosaurs.
- Hippogryph, Hippogriff -Creatures of Mythology- Hippogryphs, Hippogriffs
The hippogryph, living far beyond the seas in the Rhiphaean Mountains, is the result of the rare breeding of a male gryphon and a filly.
- Legend of Pegasus
The myth of Pegasus, plus info on the constellation and more.
Hippocampus - This creature is the upper body of a horse, and the lower body of a fish or dolphin.
Hippogriff - This creature has the head and feet of an eagle, with a feathered horses body, the result of a mating between a gryphon and a horse. You can see one depicted in the film “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”
Pegasus - A beautiful winged horse. In Greek mythology, this creature is the offspring of the god Poseidon, who took a horse form for his earthly dalliance.
Unicorn - A beautiful horse, with a single spiral horn on it’s forehead, the beard of a goat and the tail of a lion. Unicorns are almost universally depicted as being all white in color. They have long been considered a symbol of purity in Western culture, backed up by the claims that only a virgin woman could lure the beast to capture.
Creatures Of Fire
Dragon - A serpent or lizard-like creature, often shown with four taloned legs, a scaled body, and large leathery wings. Most dragons are believed to be fire-breathing. In Asian myths, dragons tend to not have wings, but do have manes and beards, and are portrayed as being benevolent as well as malevolent. Dragons can be associated with any of the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) due to their complexity and are often symbols of power and natural forces.
Phoenix - A bird with beautiful plumage which lives an exceedingly long time, only to burn to death and then be reborn from it’s own ashes. References to the phoenix can be found in Egyptian, Asian and European myths. The Egyptians associated the phoenix with the sun and the god Ra. In Western culture, it’s often a powerful symbol of rebirth and new beginnings.