Exploring the Middle Ages   | Travels in the UK   | The Merkat Cross
 
Online since 1998
About   | Site Map   | Accessibility   | Legal Matters   | Privacy   |

Melrose Abbey, Scotland, Photo © 2000 Susan WallaceArms of the King of Scotland
Melrose Abbey, Scotland

Dictionary of Heraldic Beasts

Allocamelus
Compound creature with the body of a camel and the head of an ass
Amphitere
A winged serpent
Apres
A bull with a short tail like a bear
Ass-Bittern
A cross between an ass and the bittern; a small nocturnal heron
Bagwyn
The bagwyn has the tail of a horse and the horns of a goat, which are curved backward.
Baphomet
A symbol attributed to the Knights Templar, which was supposed to feature in mysterious rites practiced by them. The baphomet is depicted as a female with two heads; one male, the other female.
Calopus
A wolf-like animal with spiked horns
Calygreyhound
Like an antelope but with the fore-legs and claws of an eagle and the rear-legs and feet of an ox
Camelopard
A graceful beast with the height and proportion of a camel but the skin of a leopard; possibly derived from an account of a giraffe.
Camelopardel
Like the camelopard, except it also possesses two long horns which curve backwards
Cat-Fish
A compound creature, part cat, part fish; not to be confused with the ordinary catfish.
Cock-Fish
Like the cat-fish, but with a cock's body and a fish's tail
Cockatrice
Half-cock, half-snake with reptilian rather than feathered wings
Dragon
The heraldic dragon has a huge body of reptilian nature covered with a mail of plate and scales and a row of extending from head to tail, ending in a great and deadly stinger. From gaping jaws with formidable fangs he belches flames. He has round luminous eyes, a dangerous spike on his nose, a forked tongue, eagle's feet and bat's wings. The dragon in heraldry is symbolic of power, wisdom and astuteness.
Dragon-Tygre
Part dragon, part tygre: a cat like creature, though unstriped
Dragon-Wolf
Compound creature, part dragon, part wolf
Enfield
Particularly associated with some Irish families, the enfield has the head of a fox, the chest of a greyhound, the body of a lion, the legs and tail of a wolf, and the talons of an eagle.
Falcon-Fish:
Along with combined bird-fish features, it possesses hound's ears.
Griffin (Gryphon)
Combining the qualities of the lion as the king of beasts and the eagle as the king of birds, the gryphon has four lion's legs with eagle's claws. The back feathers were black, the front red, the wings white and the neck a deep blue.
Harpy:
Bird with the head and breasts of a woman and the body and limbs of a vulture. Their claws were bared and they had metallic wings.
Leonine Whale
The general size and shape of a lion, with small ears, a human face, scales on its body and four lion's paws.
Lindorm
A huge snake-like creature, like a dragon or wyvern without wings.
Lions:
Heraldic lions are sometimes found with two or three bodies, or two heads and are occasionally winged.
Lybbarde
Matching the general description of a leopard, the lybbarde is supposedly the offspring of a lioness and a panther. It became the heraldic symbol of boldness.
Lympago
Half-man, half-lion or tiger.
Lyon-Poisson
Half-lion, half-fish
Melusine
A water sprite similar to a mermaid, but with two tails
Minocane
Half-child, half-spaniel
Nependis
Half-ape, half-swine
Opinicus
Similar to the heraldic griffin, with the body and four legs of a lion. It has the neck and wings of an eagle and a short camel's tail.
Pantheon:
A type of panther with boar-like hooves
Satyre Fish
A compound monster with satyr's head, fish body and wings
Sea Dogs
The body of a talbot (a large heavy mostly white hound with pendulous ears), but covered with scales over their body; they have a broad scaly tail and webbed feet.
Stellione
A lizard with a weasel's head; covered with stars
Tityron
A cross between a sheep and a goat
Tyger
A cat-like creature, though unstriped
Unicorn
Early descriptions of the unicorn characterized it as having the body of a horse, feet of the elephant, a swine's tail and the head of a stag with a four-foot horn in the middle of its forehead.
Wonderful Pig of the Ocean
Sea-pig with a quarter moon behind its head, dragon's feet, horns with eyes on each side, an eye in its belly and a fish tail
Wyvern
Flying serpent like a dragon, with two legs like an eagle's and a barbed tail
Ypotryll
A dromedary or camel.