Pick the literature of any country or literature no matter how ancient or new it is you will be able to see the mention of several creatures that are a work of imagination and do not exist in real life. It is a complete work of fantasy. Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction involving magical elements, typically set in a fictional universe and sometimes inspired by mythology and folklore. Most of the literature that we read is somehow related to real-life but some of its parts can take you to a whole new world. And mythical animals or creatures are an important part of literature. They are either a whole new species or are a mixture of some existing or imaginary animals.
The world of mythology and fantasy is vast and every culture or literature has a beauty of its own. In this article, we are going to talk about what are mythical animals and some of the most famous creatures that exist in imagination or real life.
- What are Mythical Animals?
- Origin of Mythical Animals
- What is Cryptozoology?
- Different Categories of Mythical Animals
- 10 Mythical Animals and where to find them in Literature
- 8 Mythical Looking Animals that Actually Exist in the Wild
- Scariest and Creepiest Mythical Animals Around the World
- Final Thoughts Related to Mythical Animals
What are Mythical Animals?
Mythical animals or also referred to as legendary creatures are a type of fictional entity, typically a hybrid, that has not been proven and that is described in folklore, but may be featured in historical accounts before modernity. In simple words, it can be said that they are the animals that exist in only imagination and fantasy. They mainly appear in different tales and mythological literature.
Different creatures are of different types some are completely unique. Some are a mix-up of two different animals, some are half bird half reptile, some are half-horse, half-human, and the list can go on. But they have a unique set of powers with them and are different from normal animals in a lot of terms.
Not only they are in the literature with the term entertainment or to add a newness but in religious literature or mythological literature they have a value of their own the animals of good powers are referred to as a representative of God and animals with bad powers are considered as a representative of villain. But they do take you to a whole new world.
Origin of Mythical Animals
The is no clear evidence that shows at what point literature about the world of mythical animals began to emerge. But they have been prominent from ancient history. Some mythical creatures — such as the dragon or the unicorn — have their origin in traditional mythology and were at one time believed to be real creatures. Other than that Greek mythology is a thing that has a lot of mentions of animals of different kinds. In a lot of religions, they are also seen in relation to God.
They are a part of folklore and tales and have been passed on from generation to generation.
What is Cryptozoology?
In one line cryptozoology means the study of mythical animals. They are believed to have existed but there is no conclusive evidence about them. They not only include mythical creatures but also legendary creatures and animals that have gone extinct. The main aim behind this study is to give legitimacy to all the animals who have ever walked this earth or are believed to have.
Different Categories of Mythical Animals
There are many different partitions in the types of mythical animals. Mentioned below are some common types of mythical creatures:
Birds and Serpents
Creatures that have wings and look like extended members of the bird family fall in this category. Some have huge wings, some have huge beaks, some can throw fire from their mouths, and many other features. Examples of this type of animal are Basilisk, Dragon, Phoenix, etc.
These are animals who are huge in size and have an image of a monster attached to them. They look dangerous and have the capability to destroy things. Some of its examples are Behemoth, Griffin, etc.
Creatures that fall in this category are half-humans and half some other creatures. They can have a face of a human and the body of some other creature or vice versa. Some examples of this category are Harpy, Fauna, Gorgon, etc.
The last category is in which creatures look like humans but can take the look of some other creature and have superpowers with them. Some Humanoid creatures that you need to know about are Goblin, Fairy, Elf, Nix, etc.
10 Mythical Animals and where to find them in Literature
Mentioned below are some of the most common mythical animals that are found in the literature.
The very first creature is Hydra. It is a multi-faced animal and looks like a mix of snakes and dragons. The power that he has is that when you cut off his one head two new heads will appear at that place. You can see his mention in some of the works of Rick Riordan.
Who hasn’t heard about dragons? They are flying beasts and can throw fire from their mouths and have huge wings. They have never existed in real life but are a part of numerous mythologies all around the world. You can see their mention in Greek mythology and in some works of Naomi Novik’s.
Unicorns are yet another very popular creature. They look like ponies and have a horn on their head. They are associated with spring and are very beautiful and popular among kids. The catch is that they are not only beautiful but can also fly. You can read about them in Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.
Another flying beauty that we have on our list is Phoenix. They have also never existed in real life but are a very prominent part of mythologies and fantasy all around the world. They are a universal symbol of resurrection, whether representing a character’s spiritual resurgence or their literal return from the grave. You can read a lot about them in Greek mythology and Roman mythology.
You might have heard a lot about mythical creatures like birds, dragons, horses but a humanoid version of a scorpion is rare. Aqrabumelu is a mixture of scorpions and humans and has many legs. They are super powerful and are best known for guarding the gates of the sun god in different epics. They were the creatures of ancient Mesopotamia. You can read about them in Gilgamesh and also in Mummy returns.
Another jungle beast that we have heard of time and again are Werewolves. They are powerful versions of wolves and have long nails and teeth and are similar to witches in a lot of terms. They are popular in mythologies all around Europe. And now they have become classic characters of the horror world.
Not all mythical creatures are scary, some are beautiful like mermaids. They are half-human and half-fish that live in water and rule the underworld kingdom. They are seen as both menaces and potential lovers to those who travel by sea. You can get a lot of glimpses about them in Greek literature.
Goblins are also a very popular part of the fantasy world and are similar to fairies in terms of their power. But they are ugly and have characteristics like greed, a short temper, and a penchant for mischief. You can see them in The Seeing Stone and many other TV series.
9. Loch Ness Monster
The Loch Ness Monster is also part of the underwater kingdom and several people believe that it exists in real life. A popular part of folklore, this creature has been seen in several children’s adventure movies.
The last animal that we have are Centaurs. They are half-human and half-horse. Centaurs have long served as antagonists in Greek mythology, falling victim to classical heroes like Heracles and Theseus. They are also popular in a lot of other mythologies around the globe.
This video will help you understand a lot better about what are mythical creatures and the top 10 mythical creatures all around the world according to the culture, literature and folklore of different cultures and nations.
8 Mythical Looking Animals that Actually Exist in the Wild
You will be surprised to know that there are few mythical animals that actually exist and can be found in the wild.
This animal is a mixture of a lot of animals as it has a height of a horse, a long neck like a giraffe and its legs are like that of a zebra. At first glimpse, you can not tell which animal it is. Now they are considered a national symbol of pride for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
2. Red Uakari
They look very similar to monkeys but have bright red faces which make them look very appealing. They can be found in the darkness of jungles. Red Uakari is social like monkeys and moves in large groups. Interestingly, if their face gets pale it means they have ill-health.
3. Glaucus Atlanticus
This aquatic animal looks like it has come straight out of a world of fantasy. It looks like a fish and lizard with wings at the same time and has a beautiful lining of blue and white all over the body.
4. Vampire Deer
Can you even imagine a vampire in the real world? Vampire Deer is one of a kind. They are normal musk deers but have super natural-looking teeth with them which make them look like vampires. And this is how they got their name.
5. Thorny Devil
This animal is straight from the land of Australia. They are huge lizards with long tails and rock-like structures all over their body. These lizards look like a mini version of dinosaurs and are super scary to look at.
6. Superb Bird of Paradise
You might have seen a lot of birds but they are something different. They are black beauty with a ring of blue feathers all around them. They have huge wings and look like birds from paradise. These birds are a beautiful site to look at while flying.
7. Streaked Tenrec
Streaked Tenree is a small hedgehog and is similar to a tenrec. The thing that makes them different is a quilt of black and golden hair all over their body. They have some mentions in Madagascar and are the only mammals to communicate through stridulation.
Narwhal is like water beats who look like dolphins with huge horns. In fact, they are ivory teeth and can grow up to 9 feet. These aquatic animals are a very rare sight to look at.
8. Saiga Antelope
The saiga antelope has a proboscis-like mouth, giving the impression of an anteater, that actually works as a sort of air filtration system. They are on this planet since the ice age and have kicked back a lot of times from the verge of extinction.
Mentioned below is a video that will help you know about some really rare and different looking animals and creatures that actually exist in the wild in different parts of the world
Scariest and Creepiest Mythical Animals Around the World
All animals look different from others. Mentioned below are some of the scariest and creepiest mythical creatures that have ever existed.
1. Ushi-oni of Japan
Japanese mythology is popular all around the world and has all types of creatures in it from fairies to monsters. And they do not lack in creepy creatures as well. Ushi-on is one such creature and is known for scaring water animals. It has a lot of legs and huge nails with a pair of horns on its head.
2. Chimera of Greec
Greek mythology is number one when it comes to giving mythical animals. Chimera is a kind of a wolf with the face of a lion on his chest and a snake coming out of his tail. It is a fire-breathing hybrid monster.
3. Baba Yaga of Russia
Next comes from the land of Russia. They are portrayed as an old, skinny witch with dark magic and flies on a mortar instead of a broom. They are used to scare people and have long hair all over their faces.
4. Manananggal of Philippines
Manananggal is a western hideous, vampire-like creature. She has a long tongue, a lean physique, and long nails with weird eyes which makes her look creepy.
5. Bai Ze of China
A supernatural beast from Chinese mythology, and is the creepiest on the list. It is a four-legged animal with three eyes and horns. It has six eyes and four horns on its humps and a long hairy tail. What makes it look scarier is its huge ears.
FAQs Related to Mythical Animals
Q1. Which is the rarest mythical creature?
There are some imaginary creatures that are mentioned in the literature, movies, and books over and again while there is some creature that is very rare to be found. Mentioned below are some of the rarest mythical creatures and all of them have a unique set of powers with them:
- Pegasus of Greek mythology
- Karkadaan of Persian mythology
- Basilisk of Europen mythology
- Bake-kujira of Japanese mythology
- Kelpie of Scottish Folklore
- Amarok of Innuti mythology
- Hippocampus of Greek mythology
- Selkies of Norse and Celtic mythology
Q2. Which is the coolest mythical creature?
Most of the time when you look at a creature you are able to recollect that they resemble some other creature. Some creatures are very beautiful while some are scary to look at. But there are some mythical creatures who look fascinating and have abilities that make them interesting:
- Baby Norberta
- Newt Scamander’s Niffler
Q3. Which mythical creatures are immortal?
In the world of fantasy, anything can happen, there can be any creature, they can have their own set of powers and weaknesses and anything can take place in this world. And some creatures can be immortal as well. There are four animals that are considered immortal:
- Outer God
Q4. Which mythical creature is reborn?
Most of the time in books there are mentions that a creature keeps on living for thousands of years and this gives a question in the mind of people are these animals reborn or not. Well, the fact is most of the creatures are not reborn again and there is only one animal named Phoenix that is considered to be reborn. It’s a bird that is reborn after every death it suffers through. It rises from its ashes and is a symbol in some religions, due to its similarity to Jesus’ resurrection.
Q5. Literature of which nation has most numbers of legendary creatures in it?
Every country has its own literature and has several mythical creatures in it. But so far it is believed that the literature of Greece, Japan, and China has the mention of most mythical creatures in it. They are very different from each other and are believed to have a lot of powers with them.
Q6. Can Zombies and Vampires be considered as mythical creatures?
There are no certain criteria that a thing needs to pass through to be considered as a mythical creature. Zombies and Vampires are also a work of fiction and quite different from the normal creature. They are very popular in movies and TV series these days as well. The only thing is that they are nowhere mentioned in ancient literature. But if we look at their powers and their structures they can be considered mythical creatures.
Q7. Which are some interisting movies that have a mention of mythical creatures in it?
Well, fantasy is a very popular genre these days be it movies or books because they give something new to their audience. So if you are also planning to watch something that has mythical creatures or animals in them so here are some movies or series that you can watch:
- The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
- Spirited Away (2001)
- Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
- Beauty and the Beast (1991)
- The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Q8. Which is the weirdest mythical creature?
If we talk in general then most of the mythical creatures are weird in one way or other the only difference is in the level of their weirdness. Mentioned below are some of the most bizarre and wried mythical creatures:
- Amarok (from Inuit mythology)
- Aqrabuamelu (from Mesopotamian mythology)
- Camazotz (from Mayan mythology)
- Erymanthian Boar (from Greek mythology)
- Ghatotkacha (from Indian mythology)
- Gogmagog (from Anglican/Celtic mythology)
Final Thoughts Related to Mythical Animals
Isn’t the drive-through of the world of fantasy or mythology really interesting as it takes you to a whole new world and shows you things that you can’t even imagine in real life? Some creatures of this world are scary while some are full of beauty, some have the power to save the world while some have the power to destroy it. But the fact is that each creature has its own importance and place in the story they are. And if some literature has a religious or cultural value to it then these animals or creatures will have that too. Some of them are referred to as a subordinate of God who helps in making the life of people better. And some creatures also have a villainous power or image attached to them.
The world of these creatures and animals is so huge that you can see a whole new type of thing with your every step. This article will succeed in telling you about mythical animals up to some extent and how they are different from other types of creatures.