Latin name: Leucrota
Other names: Leucrocuta
A composite beast with a mouth that stretches from ear to ear
The leucrota is a swift beast that lives in India. It is a composite animal, the result of a mating between a hyena and a lioness, the same size as an ass, but with a horse's head, chest and legs like a lion, hind quarters like a stag, and cloven hoofs. It has an extremely wide mouth, that stretches from one ear to the other. It does not have individual teeth, but only a single bone where teeth should be. Like the hyena, the leucrota can make sounds that resemble human speech.
|Sources (chronological order)|
Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 8, 30): The leucrocota is the size of an ass, and has the neck, tail and breast of a lion, the haunches of a stag, cloven hooves, a badger's head, and a mouth that opens from ear to ear, with ridges of bone instead of teeth. It is the swiftest of wild animals, and is said to be able to imitate the human voice.
The leucrota is generally illustrated to show its most unusual feature, the mouth that opens from ear to ear.