The Catoblepas is a large mythological beast
, supposedly living in Ethiopia
. It is described as a sluggish
beast, having the body of a black buffalo
, and a long, thin neck similar to a length of intestine
. At the end of this neck is the head of a hog
, but far too large for the neck to support. As a result, the Catoblepas usually droops its head. In fact, Catoblepas is greek
for "that which looks downward
". Its head is hidden by mane of stiff bristles
, and its body is covered in scales hard as iron
The catoblepas is a fairly peacable beast, prefering solitude over confrontation. It will defend itself if attacked however. Its diet of poisonous plants allows it to exhale a cloud of noxious vapors, and its gaze causes instant death.
The Catoblepas is often placed in the group of mythological beasts known as Gorgons. The Catoblepas may have been inspired by foreigners seeing a gnu for the first time, as the gnu's head is usually drooped. The beast also received a resurgence of popularity when TSR put it in the Monster Manual for Advanced Dungeons and Dragons.