Kids' Animal Station

For kids who love animals by a kid who loves animals

The Anatomy of A Monster: The Chimera

You may have noticed that I’m just a little obsessed with mythical creatures, monsters, and cryptids (I know, I know, I just might have a problem). In any event, my intense interest has inspired me to start a new series! Let’s dive into the anatomy of some really cool “hybrids”—mythical creatures made up of the parts of several different animal species–sometimes including human parts as well. Let’s talk about a classic: the Chimera!

An illustration of a classic Chimera by Jacopo Ligozzi, c. 1590

What is a Chimera?

In classical Greek mythology, the Chimera was a fearsome, fire-breathing and 3-headed monster terrorizing the countryside before being slayed by the hero Bellerophon. Although some variation of the Chimera’s details is common across time and location, the Chimera typically has the head and body of a lion, a goat’s head rising from its back, and a serpent for a tail. Other variations, seen in the illustration above, a pair of leathery wings, a goat’s swinging front legs, and more dragon-like scales and back claws. You may be shocked to know that the Chimera is actually always identified as female! But female lions in the wild are the main hunters of their species, after all.

A Real Life Chimera?

Of course there’s little to no chance of a Chimera in real life, but the unique combination of these three fearsome animals is sort of interesting to imagine. Capable of a bite strength of up to 1,000 psi (pounds per square inch) and up to 300 pounds, the “King of the Jungle” is a surefire choice if you’re preparing for a battle of the most deadly animals. Also, a serpent, much less a dragon, poses an incredible and immediate danger to human beings and several animal species alike, despite the fact that only 200 of the 3,971 snake species on Earth have enough venom to kill a human being. But a goat?! Not the animal I’d choose, unless it was a competition for fainting when overexcited and funny videos of them yelling.

But considering that cows are more deadly to Americans annually than sharks, perhaps we need to start questioning how sage our livestock friends really are! Intact male goats are considered the most aggressive, chasing and charging human beings who threaten them. Yet I don’t think that anyone would argue that goats are the most dangerous aspect of a Chimera’s anatomy.


This entry was posted on February 25, 2023 by in Animal Facts, Fiction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .

Wise Words

"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if a person or animal is at stake."
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter."
— Translation of African Proverb

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