W is for… Wapaloosie

The Wapaloosie is a lumberwoods critter something like a squirrel, but with woodpecker feet and a distinctly caterpillarish way of climbing trees. Even dead and skinned, the wapaloosie’s climbing instincts never depart. It is also among the fearsome critters immortalized in song here!

U is for… Ugunqu-kubantwana

Ugunqu-kubantwana is the Mother of the Animals, a colossal Zulu monster who protects animals and guards a lake with water that tastes like milk. Her mouth is like a cleft in a mountain, her legs like pillars. Forests grow on her back. She is seconded by four oribis who act as her lieutenants. Like the similar Usilosimapundu she is less a creature and more a force of nature. Her name comes from the sound she makes as she moves – gunqu, gunqu, gunqu!

T is for… Trollgädda

The Trollgäddor or “troll pikes” are enormous pikes that haunt lakes in Sweden. The one in Lake Bolmen is as long as the lake is wide, and has a willow shrub on its head. One enterprising angler tried to catch it with a line baited with an entire calf and tied to a farmhouse, but the pike pulled the farmhouse into the lake.