In the depths of the Indian jungles, a creature lurks, hungry
for prey. Its head is that of a man with a long beard, but its
body is that of a mighty lion. The mighty beast has a
magnificent tail that stretches out behind it. The tail
resembles that of a scorpion and has many stings which it
uses like arrows to render its prey defenseless. This terrible
beast lurks in the reeds and appears to its victims as an old
man until it is too late. When it strikes, no evidence is left
behind. It is …….. The Mighty MANTICORE.
What is a Manticore
A manticore is a mythological
creature that was said to be
unconquerable. The mighty beast is
best known for its strange but
magnificent features. It is often said
that the beast had the head of a man,
the body of a lion, and the tail of a
scorpion. It was one of the mightiest
of all beasts and capable of devouring
every animal in the jungle except for
elephants because elephants seemed
to be able to evade even the most
powerful of the manticores.
The Manticore According to Legend
The word manticore itself is an adaption of the Persian
name for the beast – martichoras. This means ‘man
eater.’ According to Persian myth, the creature was able
to devour any beast (except elephants of course)
without leaving any remains behind. However, despite
its dominance in the jungle, the manticore had an
especially intense hunger for human flesh. It was
rumored that the manticore was able to kill three men at
once without issue and devour them all if the opportunity
The manticore was seen as a predator that couldn’t be
matched by man. It was known to have incredible
speed that not even the fastest man could compete with
in a chase. The body of a manticore was similar to a lion
so it had long, sharp claws that could use to tear apart
its victims. It was capable of ripping a man apart with
one swipe of its mighty paws.
The tail of the beast resembled that
of a scorpion and had several large
‘stings’ and one sting that was at the
tip of the tail. These stings were
poisonous and could be used to prick
a victim. Distance, however, didn’t
bring much more safety to a potential
victim of the manticore. It was said
that the mighty beast had the ability
to shoot these stings from its tail like
arrows. When one sting had been
shot, it was replaced by another .
These stings would inject the victim
with poison and cause them to
become paralyzed. The beast was
then free to devour the victim without
In addition to eating all of its victims remains, it also ate their
clothing, money, and other possessions. Because of this, there was
often little evidence that the manticore had struck aside from trace
amounts of blood. This is also part of the reason the beast was
feared by so many. Whenever a person went missing and searches
failed to return any trace of their body or possessions, it was
blamed on a manticore attack.
It was claimed that the manticore lured people in by laying in tall
grass or reeds. This would hide its magnificent body and show only
the head of what appeared to be a bearded man. Many victims
were said to have ventured too close to the beast, only to be
devoured by its three rows of sharp teeth.
Can a Manticore be Overpowered or Killed?
There were measures that could be taken to ensure that these
beasts were not able to grow into predators. It was believed a
manticore could be hunted while it was young in order to prevent
the development of one of its most fearsome attributes – its tail.
Skilled hunters were able to track down the young manticore cub
because its tail hadn’t yet developed the deadly stings, capture it
and stomp on its tail hard enough to deform it.
Other than this, fighting the manticore was thought to be futile. It
was believed that the fur of the manticore was impenetrable and
any weapon used against the body of the beast would be hopeless.
The only place a manticore was vulnerable was in its mouth.
However, even if a manticore were able to be killed with a fatal blow
to the mouth, it is thought that the creature would simply resurrect
as it is thought to have mythical powers.
Other than this, fighting the
manticore was thought to be
It was believed that the fur of
the manticore was
impenetrable and any weapon
used against the body of the
beast would be hopeless.
The only place a manticore
was vulnerable was in its
mouth. However, even if a
manticore were able to be
killed with a fatal blow to the
mouth, it is thought that the
creature would simply resurrect
as it is thought to have
Explanation of the Myth
Many who study the story of the manticore compare the beast
to a tiger. It is thought that the story was used to describe the
biggest and mightiest of the tigers that inhabited the jungles of
It is likely that the story also originated to explain the many
missing persons who entered the jungle and never returned. It
was easier to write off the disappearance of loved ones as being
at the hands of an unconquerable beast instead of a vicious
forest animal. These stories helped to save part of the
population by preventing too many inexperienced travelers or
hunters from going too far into the woods alone, as well as
curbing the curiosity of young children.
• Dimitris Papaioannou • Thodoris Mousoulis
• Marios Vrinios • Maria Koutoulia