A fictional antelope-like animal with a head at either end. The pushmi-pullyu appears in The Story of Doctor Dolittle, a book by Hugh Lofting, when he agrees to go with the Doctor to England to help him make money.
PUSHMI-PULLYUS are now extinct. That means, there aren't
any more. But long ago, when Doctor Dolittle was alive,
there were some of them still left in the deepest jungles
of Africa; and even then they were very, very scarce.
They had no tail, but a head at each end,
and sharp horns on each head. They were very
shy and terribly hard to catch. The black men
get most of their animals by sneaking up behind
them while they are not looking. But you could
not do this with the pushmi-pullyu--because,
no matter which way you came towards him, he
was always facing you. And besides, only one
half of him slept at a time. The other head
was always awake--and watching. This was
why they were never caught and never seen in
Zoos. Though many of the greatest huntsmen
and the cleverest menagerie-keepers spent years
of their lives searching through the jungles
in all weathers for pushmi-pullyus, not a single
one had ever been caught. Even then, years
ago, he was the only animal in the world with
"Well, perhaps there is something in what you say,"
murmured the Doctor. "It certainly would make
a nice new kind of pet. But does the er--
what-do-you-call-it really want to go abroad?"
"Yes, I'll go," said the pushmi-pullyu who
saw at once, from the Doctor's face, that he was
a man to be trusted. "You have been so kind
to the animals here--and the monkeys tell me
that I am the only one who will do. But you
must promise me that if I do not like it in the
Land of the White Men you will send me
"Why, certainly--of course, of course," said
the Doctor. "Excuse me, surely you are
related to the Deer Family, are you not?"
"Yes," said the pushmi-pullyu--"to the
Abyssinian Gazelles and the Asiatic Chamois
--on my mother's side. My father's great-
grandfather was the last of the Unicorns."
"Most interesting!" murmured the Doctor;
and he took a book out of the trunk which Dab-
Dab was packing and began turning the pages.
"Let us see if Buffon says anything--"
"I notice," said the duck, "that you only talk
with one of your mouths. Can't the other head
talk as well?"
"Oh, yes," said the pushmi-pullyu. "But I
keep the other mouth for eating--mostly. In
that way I can talk while I am eating without
being rude. Our people have always been very