Creature Feature: Emela-ntouka

Imagine, if you will, that you’re trekking through the swamps of the Congo. Now let’s go a step further and picture yourself hacking through the undergrowth with your trusty machete. You burst through the thick vegetation and find yourself behind a brownish-gray beast as large as an elephant with short, stumpy legs, but the tail is wrong. Elephants don’t have thick, heavy tails that drag on the ground. This thing does. When it swivels its head to give you a snort you immediately notice that the face is wrong too. What you’re seeing isn’t the face of an elephant, but something more reminiscent of a rhinoceros, complete with one long horn at the tip of its snout.

The animal you’ve just encountered has many names, but the one we’ll go with is the Emela-ntouka and you’ll be lucky to get away with your life. It’s name means “elephant killer”, which it purportedly does. It’s known to be a ferocious beast that will kill anything in its path. It is said that the pygmies fear this creature more than any other dangerous animal.

Part dinosaur, part hippopotamus, part elephant, part rhinoceros. Think of a semi-aquatic triceratops without the crest and only one horn and you’ll have a pretty accurate depiction of this giant most foul.

Emela-ntouka

The creature’s horn is a subject of major debate. It the horn is ivory, then technically it isn’t a horn at all. It’s a tusk. If the horn is bone then the creature is likely reptilian. However, the horn could also be made of keratin. Without a sample to study, classifying this thing is impossible. In reality though, does classifying it actually matter? In a way yes, but not in the grand scheme of “keep that horrid monster away from me” things.

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