Cover of Les ours insolites d'Afrique

The Nandi bear drawn as a giant hyena for the cover of Les ours insolites d'Afrique.

Nandi bear baboon

The "giant baboon" concept of the Nandi bear, as drawn by Anthony Wallis.

Other names: Chemisit, chemosit, dubu, engargiyar, geteit, giant forest hyena, ikimizi, kabiniro, kerit, khodumodumo, kibambangue, kichwa mutwe, koddoelo, Mubende beast, ngargiya, ntebagarnyar, nyangau, rwujigar, sabrookoo, shivuverre.
Country reported: Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda

The Nandi bear or chemosit (Kalenjin: "devil"[1]) is a cryptid reported from the highlands of western Kenya,[1][2][3] described as a dangerous animal resembling a large hyena with a shaggy mane.[4][5][6]

Cryptozoologists have identified the Nandi bear as an amalgamation of various different animals, including perhaps two genuine cryptids: a giant hyena and a giant baboon, although identities of a chalicothere and an unknown bear have also been suggested.[4][1] There have been few or no sightings since the 20th Century, and it has been suggested that the Nandi bear, if it existed, is now extinct.[7]


The Nandi bear is named for the Nandi people who live around Kapsabet, an area where the animal was frequently seen. Geoffrey Williams, one of the first eyewitnesses, compared the animal he saw to a bear, and the name stuck.[1] However, prior to the 1930's the name "chemisit" or "chemosit" seems to have been more commonly used. In the first decades of the 20th Century it was often referred to simply as the unknown or unidentified animal of the Uasin Gishu, and later of the Magadi Railway.


According to Bernard Heuvelmans, the sightings which cannot be explained by mistaken identity all conform to a single description of an animal with a "(1) thick stocky body, (2) high withers, sloping back, (3) forequarters covered with thick fur, hindquarters smoother and barer, (4) long rather pointed snout, (5) small ears, (6) no visible tail, colour tawny to dark brown".[4]

George Eberhart further seperates the Nandi bear into two main cryptids: a large, baboon-like beast, and a hyena-like creature. He offered descriptions of both versions:[1]

  • The hyena-like animal is twice the size of a spotted hyena, with shaggy brown hair and a short head displaying red eyes, small ears, and large teeth. It has a long mane on its forequarters and a sloping back and forelegs longer than its hindlegs. It has a short tail. It leaves spade-shaped digitigrade tracks larger than those of a man, with three toes and huge, inward-turned claws, and pads.[1]
  • The baboon-like animal is a thickset animal, 3 feet 6 inches to 4 feet 6 inches at the shoulder, and 4 to 5 feet when standing on its hindlegs. It is dark brown or tawny, with long shaggy hair and a long head similar to that of a bear joine to a short neck, displaying small ears, a stumpy nose, and a pointed snout. Its front area, shoulders, and front legs are thickly furred, whilst the hindquarters are relatively bare. The withers are high and the back is sloping, and the tail is small or nonexistent. It leaves oblong plantigrade tracks 5.5 inches long and and 3.5 inches wide, displaying five clawed toes.[1]

Huevelmans also noted the difference between the tracks of the Magadi Railway animal and those of the animal which took Captain William Hichens' dog.[4]

Nandi bear hyena

The "giant forest hyena" concept of the Nandi bear, as drawn by Anthony Wallis.

The Nandi bear rests on its haunches like a true bear, is described as having a loping run or "sideways canter", also almost like a bear, and the baboon-like variety is capable of standing upright[4] but other than this, as the only detailed accounts of encounters with the animal are brief, most information on the Nandi bear's behaviour must come from native testimony. It is described as aggressive and highly dangerous, killing livestock and animals, which it will climb, leap, or force its way through[4] fences and thorn zarebas to get through. It is also said to force its way into huts during the night to kill the occupants. Various native sources as well as Captain Hichens describe its "terrifying howl" or "moaning call". Perhaps most notably, it is said to tear or smash open the heads of livestock and humans to eat their brains, a feature it shares with the Malawi terror beast.[1] Captain Hichens wrote that the Nandi bear waits in trees near roads to waylay travellers and rip their heads open, and attacks and takes away women washing clothes so often that many women will not go down to the river without armed men.[8] Captain Hichens also noted its habit of forcing its way through 6-foot thorn zarebas (mentioned above), something which he had never known even man-eating lions or leopards to do.[9]

It is also generally regarded as a nocturnal animal, hunting and attacking during the night. In all of the sightings made during the day or the morning, the animal runs away or ignores the eyewitness; whilst in nocturnal encounters it often displays aggressive behaviour, even attacking some eyewitnesses (or their dogs).[4]

Physical evidenceEdit


As mentioned above, descriptions of Nandi bear tracks are common, but the tracks themselves have never been photographed, and were only drawn once.

  • (1) Fritz Schindler sketched a track found in mud near the Magadi Railway which had been seen by several native workers. It was said to have been made by an unknown large animal, and is identified with the baboon-like version of the Nandi bear.
Nandi bear track

(1) Rough sketch of the track found by F. Schindler near the Magadi Railway.



In 1905, the Nandi people allegedly told Richard Meinertzhagen that the Nandi bear was common when the Nandi first settled in the Highlands of Kenya, which occured in or around the early 17th Century.[10] It was said to have been more common before the rinderpest epidemic at the end of the 19th Century, which decimated the populations of various ungulates including the then-cryptozoological giant forest hog.[1] During the colonial era the Nandi bear was blamed for the allegedly "hundreds" of natives who were found dead with their skulls crushed every year, probably the victims of hyenas. It was widely feared by native people, but it does not seem to have been known to Europeans or colonial officials until the turn of the century.[4]

Captain Hichens wrote that:

"one of the best accounts is that of Major Braithwaite and Mr. C. Kenneth Archer, two well-known Kenya colonists, whose experience and word are not lightly to be imputed in such matters. They saw the animal in grass and scrub and took it for a lioness; later, a side-view of its head gave the impression of a snout, the head being very large, while the beast stood very high forward, 4 ft. 3 ins. to 4 ft. 6 ins. at the shoulder. "The back," they say, "sloped steeply to the hindquarters and the animal moved with a shambling gait which can best be compared with the shuffle of a bear. The coat was thick and dark brown in colour. Finally, the beast broke into a shambling trot and made for a belt of trees near the river, where it was lost"".[9]

Some years before 1912, the Nandi killed a shivuverre after it climbed onto the roof of a hut, broke through, and killed everyone inside. The people of the village burned down this hut with the animal inside.[11] Geoffrey Williams heard of a preserved skin of a similar animal in Kabras, but was unable to obtain it.[11]

C. W. Hobley mentioned a rumour that a Nandi bear had been shot by a Boer, who left the carcass and couldn't find it again.[12]

At some point shortly before 1918, a "gadett" (geteit) appeared on the farm of Cara Buxton, where ten sheep were missing. All ten were found, seven dead and three alive, and all of them without brains. Over the next ten days the same thing happened to fifty-seven goats and sheep, of which thirteen were found alive. The locals in the area described the culprit as a beast which walked on two legs, snatched babies, and killed men. Eventually it was tracked to a ravine and speared to death, whereupon it was discovered to be a very large spotted hyena. "It had evidently turned brain-eater through some sort of madness".[13] However, Heuvelmans writes that it is not completely proven that the slain animal was the culprit.[4] The story is similar to that of the Malawi terror beast.

Charles Stoneham saw what his friends believed was a Nandi bear near the Kipsanoi River in Sotik. He described it as being the size of a lion but moving differently, with a pig-like snout, and an enormous tail the size of a tree trunk. Its ears were large, circular, and transparent.[14] He rushed indoors to grab a rifle, but by the time he returned the animal was fleeing.[1] Although his friends said he must have seen a Nandi bear, he himself believed it was some form of mutant or hybrid aardvark.[4]

Ivan T. Sanderson wrote that there was a brown shaggy skin in London's Natural History Museum which may have belonged to the Nandi bear.[4]


The first recorded sighting of the Nandi bear was made in 1905 by Geoffrey Williams, who was with the Nandi Expedition to the Uasin Gishu in western British East Africa. He saw a 5-foot-high animal around 30 yards away, sitting like a zoo bear, with a long head and small, pointed ears. It ran with a sideways canter.[1]

"I was traveling with a cousin on the Uasingishu just after the Nandi expedition, and, of course, long before there was any settlement up there. We had been camped ... near the Mataye and were marching towards the Sirgoit Rock when we saw the beast ... I saw a large animal sitting up on its haunches no more than 30 yards away. Its attitude was just that of a bear at the 'Zoo' asking for buns, and I should say it must have been nearly 5 feet high ... it dropped forward and shambled away towards the Sirgoit with what my cousin always describes as a sort of sideways canter. I snatched my rifle and took a snapshot at it as it was disappearing among the rocks, and, though I missed it, it stopped and turned its head round to look at us ... In size it was, I should say, larger than the bear that lives in the pit at the 'Zoo' and it was quite as heavily built. The fore quarters were very thickly furred, as were all four legs, but the hind quarters were comparatively speaking smooth or bare ... the head was long and pointed and exactly like that of a bear ... I have not a very clear recollection of the ears beyond the fact that they were small, and the tail, if any, was very small and practically unnoticeable. The color was dark ..."[11]

This sighting was not published until 1912.[4]

Ricky Ngeny of the Koitalel Samoei Nandi Foundation suggested that the body of Koitalel, a Nandi leader assassinated by Richard Meinertzhagen in 1905, was eaten by a Nandi bear.[15]

circa 1910'sEdit

During the surveying of the area where the Magadi Railway was to be built, Clifford Hill's Dutch boy encountered a large animal on the Koora Plains. He was unable to described it, but when shown a book of animals selected the bear as being the most like the animal he saw.[16]

A sub-contractor, Mr. Caviggia, saw the animal along the Magadi Railway track. His description tallied with that of G. W. Hickes.[16]

C. W. Hobley wrote that several workers during the construction of the Magadi Railway saw the tracks of a strange animal in the muddy ground around a water outflow. Fritz Schindler saw and sketched this track.[12]


In 1912 a Major Toulson encountered a long-haired black beast on the Uasin Gishu, which had just attempted to raid his camp's kitchen. It ran with a shuffling walk and was around 18 to 20 inches at the shoulder[1] He later described his encounter to anthropologist C. W. Hobley:

"It was getting dark when one of my boys came into my room and said that a leopard was close to the kitchen. I rushed out at once and saw a strange beast making off: it appeared to have long hair behind and was rather low in front. I should say it stood about 18 in. to 20 in. at the shoulder; it appeared to be black, with a gait similar to that of a bear--a kind of shuffling walk. Unfortunately it was nearly dark at the time and I did not get a fair view of the head."
Several Dutchmen had asked me a few days before what the strange animal was on the plateau; they said it was like a bear, but they had only seen it at dusk; it turned on their dogs and chased them off. They described it as a thick-set beast and it was making a peculiar moaning cry."[12]


There were two sightings of the Nandi bear in March 1913. The first of these, which lacks a specific date, was made by N. E. F. Corbett, the District Commissioner of Eldoret in British East Africa:

"I was having lunch by a wooded stream, the Sirgoi River, just below Toulson's farm ... to my surprise I walked right into the beast. It was evidently drinking and was just below me, only a yard or so away ... it shambled across the stream into the bush ... [I] could not get a very good view, but am certain that it was a beast I have never seen before. Thick, reddish-brown hair, with a slight streak of white down the hindquarters, rather long from hock to foot, rather bigger than a hyena, with largish ears. I did not see the head properly; it did not seem to be a very heavily built animal."[12]

The second sighting, perhaps the most famous, was made by railway engineer G. W. Hickes at around 9 A.M. on 8 March. He observed the animal from 50 yards away. Whilst travelling on a motor trolley he saw what appeared to be a hyena straight ahead. Wondering why a hyena would be out so late in the morning, he looked closer and saw that it was not a hyena:

"It was almost on the line when I first saw it and at that time it had already seen me and was making off at a right angle to the line ... As I got closer to the animal I saw it was not a hyena. At first I saw it nearly broadside on: it then looked about as high as a lion. In color it was tawny--about like a black-mained [sic] lion--with very shaggy long hair. It was short and thickset in the body, with high withers, and had a short neck and stumpy nose. It did not turn to look at me, but loped off--running with its forelegs and with both hind legs rising at the same time. As I got alongside it, it was about forty or fifty yards away and I noticed it was very broad across the rump, had very short ears, and had no tail that I could see. As its hind legs came out of the grass I noticed the legs were very shaggy right down to the feet, and that the feet seemed large..."[16]

Hickes realised afterwards that the animal was the unknown "bear" which had been seen, and considered stopping to pursue the beast, which he could still see in the distance, before remembering that the other engineers were waiting for him. He intended to return to the spot during the return journey to examine the tracks, but they were washed away by rain.[16]

Not long afterwards a native servant of another engineer, Mr. Archibald, saw an animal very much like the one described by Hickes, but standing on its hind legs. It stared the servant down and refused to run away.[5][16]


A Nandi bear is said to have been killed near Kapsowar in around 1914. After it killed several people,[4] villagers tricked it into attacking a dummy man in the doorway of a hut, then shot it to death with arrows. Eberhart writes that this happened in 1914; Blayney Percival, himself writing in 1914, described it as happening "fairly recently".[1][3]


In 1925 Captain William Hichens was sent out to investigate depredations made by the animal in a village in the Kenya Colony. The latest victim was a 6-year-old girl, snatched after the monster forced its way through an 8-foot zareba.[14] During the night his tent was attacked by something which gave a terrifying roar and carried off his pet dog.[1]

"...the whole tent rocked; the pole to which Mbwambi [his dog] was tied flew out and let down the ridge-pole, enveloping me in flapping canvas. At the same moment the most awful howl I have ever heard split the night. The sheer demoniac horror of it froze me still...I heard my pi-dog yelp just once. There was a crashing of branches in the bush, and then thud, thud, thud, of some huge beast making off. But that howl! I have heard half a dozen lions roaring in a stampede-chorus not twenty yards away; I have heard a maddened cow-elephant trumpeting; I have heard a trapped leopard make the silent night miles a rocking agony with screaming, snarling roars. But never have I heard, nor do I wish to hear again, such a howl as that of the chimiset. A trail of red spots on the sand showed where my pi-dog had gone. Beside that trail were huge footprints, four times as big as a man's, showing the imprint of three huge clawed toes, with trefoil marks like a lion's pad where the sole of the foot pressed down. But no lion ever boasted such a paw as that of the monster which had made that terrifying spoor."[8]

Hichens followed the tracks and spent a week in the forest searching for the animal, but never found it or his dog.[6]

circa 1930'sEdit

Captain F. D. Hislop, district commissioner of Kapsabet, saw a bear-like animal 3 feet high at the shoulder, with a small pointed head. It ran off on all fours. Hislop was sure that the animal was neither a hyena or a baboon.[1][17]

Also in the 1930's, Gunnar Anderssen reported that an unknown animal had killed a forest hog at Kaimosi. The animal was described to him by locals as "very big, with long black hair and a long tail carried like a dog's".[17] Anderssen also discovered some ambigious, leopardlike tracks nearby.[1]

Heuvelmans equates the Nandi bear with the khodumodumo,[4] an unseen animal which carried away livestock in South Africa during the 1930's, attacking silently and leaving round tracks with 2-inch claw-marks. Posses tried to catch the beast, but nobody ever caught a glimpse of it.[9]

1957 or 1958Edit

Douglas Hutton shot two animals on the Chemomi Tea Estate in Kenya in either 1957 or 1958. They stood 3 feet 3 inches at the shoulder and had sloping backs and heavy manes, with short, broad heads and small ears. Hutton ran into one in his car during the night and shot both it and its companion. The bodies were layed out in the factory to be viewed by the staff, and the remains were left to be stripped to the bone by ants. One staff member described the animals as being dark with black spots, whilst another described it as grey-brown with white-tipped fur. All the men said they had never seen such a creature.[18] The bones were sent to Nairobi, where they were identified as "giant forest hyenas".[1]

circa 1960'sEdit

Engineer Angus McDonald was awoken in Kipkabus by an animal which invaded his hut through a window and chased him around for 5 minutes. McDonald said that it was 7 foot tall, with an apelike face, and ran as well on two legs as it did on four. Its tracks were round. The villagers identified it as a chemosit.[14]


In 1962, an animal twice the size of a spotted hyena was shot by the father of hunter Jamie McLeod. It had long shaggy brown hair which was "dirty on its belly", a lion-sized skull with large carnivorous teeth, and only a very slight slope of the back. Coincidentally, McLeod referred to the animal as a "giant forest hyaena".[7] This account was forwarded to Karl Shuker by McLeod.[19]


In July 1981, a large hyena-like animal was seen in the same area where Hutton shot the "giant forest hyenas" in the 1950's.[1] The witnesses, who were emphatic that the animal was not a hyena, a boar, or a baboon, gave a description that tallied with that given by the Chemomi Tea Estate workers.[18]

"At one group of huts the womenfolk said that a strange animal had been around their huts but they were unable to describe it, however at a second group of dwellings an old man described how the creature had walked round his hut in the early morning and then it lopped off across his shamba and so into the next whore somebody threw a rungu at it and it disappeared into the maize. His description was quite vivid and tallied with that of the old men who had seen the bodies at the tea factory. He simply said the creature was a 'nyanau' [sic], a wild animal, but it was not a 'fisi' or hyaena and he was most indignant when we suggested it could have been a baboon or pig. He knew the latter well as they destroyed his maize. He had never seen a 'nyangau' [Swahili: "dirty dog" or "bloody brute"] before. Asked what would be the reaction of dogs he replied that they would certainly not go near the creatures. Where did it live in the forest and what did it feed on? "Oh, stray cattle, sheep and goats". His imagination was running away with him but he stuck to his story of the creature walking round his hut."
"When the creature was first reported Ken Archer was shown a foot print which he photographed. This had been obliterated by rain at the time of my visit, so we have to await the photograph."


2010 (Destination Truth)Edit

This section needs expanding with relevant information.


The Nandi bear is almost certainly an amalgamation of various animals, probably including hyenas, ratels, aardvarks, and African hunting dogs, as well as at least one genuine cryptid - and, according to one theory, ritual murders carried out by witch-doctors. Bernard Heuvelmans wrote that the classification problem began when Geoffrey Williams compared the animal he saw in 1905 to a bear. When Hickes saw a similar animal, the Williams sighting came to mind, and rumours spread of a bear-like animal in Kenya, prompting others who had seen unidentified bear-like animals to come forwards.[4] As early as 1914, Blayney Percival wrote that the Nandi animal and the Magadi Railway animal were different and should not be confused.[3] The identity of the "real Nandi bear" is speculated to be a giant baboon, a giant hyena, a surviving chalicothere, or an unknown bear.

Mistaken identityEdit

Black ratel

Ratels (Mellivora capensis) turn completely black as they grow older and larger, as drawn by Philippe Coudray. Many sightings of the "Nandi bear" described as black and small are probably sightings of large, unfamiliar black ratels.

African hunting dog

Heuvelmans identified the African hunting dog (Lycaon pictus) as the likely subject of the 1913 Corbett sighting.


The sighting made by Charles Stoneham may have been of an aardvark (Orycteropus afer).

Several scientists including I. R. Pocock, Superintendent of the London Zoo, wrote that the Nandi bear was a misidentified hyena, specifically an erythristic (red) spotted hyena, which would be fairly unfamiliar in Kenya.[20] Pocock was sent an erythristic spotted hyena skin by a man who claimed it came from a Nandi bear. Additionally, Charles Stoneham wrote that in 1930 he was given a skull said to belong to a Nandi bear which had been killing livestock. It was examined and it turned out to belong to a brown hyena.[4]

However, Captain Hichens wrote that hyenas are so common around African villages that a villager confusing one with the Nandi bear would be like an Englishman confusing a rabbit with a fox. He also pointed out that hyenas drag their victims; they do not leap over 6 foot fences with calves in their mouths. Heuvelmans concluded that the Nandi bear could not be any known species of hyena.[4] However, he and others have noted that the "Nandi bear" could have been blamed for many killings actually carried out by hyenas.

The sightings in which the animal is described as black and relatively small are likely to be of misidentified elderly honey badgers or ratels.[20][4] They are famously aggressive, and in old age, when they are at their largest, they may turn entirely black, which would disguise their identity from eyewitnesses. Blayney Percival wrote that an animal reported from the Sotik country, very similar to the Nandi bear and said to be the size of a pointer, turned out to be a honey badger. Heuvelmans identified a black ratel as the subject of the Toulson, Hislop, and Anderssen sightings, and thought it could explain sightings of the "too".[4]

Heuvelmans was almost certain that the animal seen by Charles Stoneham was an aardvark (Stoneham himself believed it was a mutant or hybrid aardvark) in light of his description of its tree trunk-like tail and round, transluscent ears.[4] Hobley wrote that sceptics during the first wave of sightings in the 1910's believed the animal seen by Williams and Hickes to be an aardvark,[12] but, "as one researcher ever so delicately put it, aardvarks do not eat women and small children and even if they wanted to it would physically impossible". Heuvelmans also suspected that the animal seen by Corbett, lightly-built with round ears and reddish-brown with a white streak, was an African hunting dog.[4]

George Eberhart also mentions the African civet and the giant forest hog as possible candidates.[1]

Giant baboonEdit

The giant baboon hypothesis was first suggested by Bernard Heuvelmans in On the Track of Unknown Animals, although Captain Hichens had earlier written that "some of us who have hunted the brute share the view that it may be an anthropoid", and Blayney Percival wrote that "the resemblace to a monkey of sorts is very noticeable". As early as 1905, the same year as the first recorded sighting, Richard Meinertzhagen believed the animal was an anthropid which had recently become extinct due to infrequent rainfall.[10] The Mau, Nandi, and Wa-Pokomo people also referred to the chemosit, kerit, and koddoelo as enormous baboons.[4]


Reconstruction of the giant baboon Dinopithecus.

Heuvelmans noted that the unusual gait described by early eyewitnesses was the so-called "pithecoid" gallop, "so characteristic of monkeys in a hurry", and points out that the animal which climbed onto the roof of a hut was probably not a lion or a hyena. Regarding the Nandi bears habit of killing women, he also speculated that this was due to the women's resistance to sexual assault, which baboons are notorious for. He also noted that a lion or hyena would not be capable of walking on two legs. He concluded that the description of the Nandi bear is also perfectly consistent with an enormous baboon.[4]

Richard Meinertzhagen, who in the 1950's claimed to have interviewed several Nandi tribesmen on the subject in 1905 (before the publication of the Williams sighting), was allegedly told that the animal sometimes stood on two legs. When asked by him to draw an outline of the animal, the tribesmen always drew it standing upright.[10]

Theropithecus, a prehistoric relative of the gelada which was the size of a female gorilla and could not climb trees, is the usual animal identified as the "giant baboon", but another very large fossil baboon, Dinopithecus, was discovered in South Africa in the 1930's and could grow as large as 5 feet tall.[1]

Supporters of the giant baboon theory include Bernard Heuvelmans,[4] Loren Coleman, and Mark A. Hall.[5]

Giant hyenaEdit


Reconstruction of the giant short-faced hyena.

This section needs expanding with relevant information from Shuker, Karl (1995) In Search of Prehistoric Survivors.

Put forward by Karl Shuker, the other main theory regarding the Nandi bear is that it is an unknown giant hyena, specifically a surviving descendant of the giant short-faced hyena (Pachycrocuta brevirostris), which is known to have lived in East Africa.[Expansion needed][1]

Shuker notes that the short-faced hyena's muzzle made its profile more bear-like than that of a regular hyena, whilst the rest of its body was "indisputibly hyeanid", just larger and more robust. Fossil evidence also suggests that the short-faced hyena was both solitary and a more active hunter than the modern hyena.[19]


The third theory regarding the unknown animal behind the Nandi bear sightings, originally suggested by Charles William Andrews, and reported by Heuvelmans, is that it was a surviving species of African chalicothere.[4] These horse-sized animals, with sloping backs, bear-like heads, long claws, and short tails, agree very well with physical descriptions of the Nandi bear – and the forefeet of a chalicothere, with three toes and inward-turned claws, would also be somewhat consistent with the "hyena-like" Nandi bear identified by Eberhart. Chalicothere fossils have been found in an area where chimiset attacks were reported, and Heuvelmans noted that if the okapi, a relative of certain giraffids contemporary to chalicotheres, could survive in Central Africa to the present day, there is little reason why a chalicothere couldn't.[4] Shuker also noted that rinderpest, which the Nandi said decimated chimiset populations at the end of the 19th Century, principally kills ungulates, not carnivores.[21]

Anisodon grande models

Reconstructions of a pair of European chalicotheres, Anisodon, in Basel.

However, if the Nandi bear were a chalicothere, it could not be a vicious predator, as chalicotheres were certainly herbivorous,[4] which would make hyenas and ratels responsible the attacks blamed on the Nandi bear.[7]

More evidence that chalicotheres may have survived into modern times comes from a Scythian tomb in which two gold belt plaques were found, which show a horselike animal with clawed feet.[1] Supporters of the chalicothere theory include palaeoanthropologist Louis S. Leakey,[22] Karl Shuker,[23] and chalicothere expert Christine Janis.[23] Captain Hichens suggested a similar identity for the chipekwe.[1]

Unknown bearEdit

Dale Drinnon suggested that the Nandi bear really was a true bear, noting that the early sightings described an animal which sounded very much like a bear, and the animal's spoor somewhat resembles bear tracks. The Nandi bear's reported habit of killing with a swipe of its paws is similar to how bears fight. Bears were reported as living in Ethiopia in Roman times, and in 1668 O. Dapper wrote that bears were known to live in the Congo. Drinnon also discovered a "bear skull from Tanzania" for sale online in 2006, although it may actually have been a lion skull.[24]

Heuvelmans did not believe the Nandi bear was an actual bear, as all known bears "are remarkably evenly covered with fur", and, although eyewitnesses described it as walking like a bear, nobody ever described is as ambling with the specific, unmistakable gait of a bear.[4]


Richard Meinertzhagen also claimed that during the coronation of Edward VII (in 1902), five men of the King's African Rifles, one of whom was a Nandi, were brought to London, where, upon seeing a chimpanzee in London Zoo, the Nandi soldier supposedly exclaimed "there is the Nandi bear!".[10]


Patrick Bowen suggested to Frank Lane that the Nandi bear was a scapegoat for native witch-doctors carrying out massacres. Heuvelmans notes that witch-doctors are skilled at imitating calls and tracks in order to steal cattle and revenge themselves on their enemies. He speculated about a secret society similar to the Aniota of Nigeria and the Congo, disguising their murders by faking tracks and killing people with clawed weapons.[4]

Similar cryptidsEdit

  • The booaa, a large hyena reported from Senegal in West Africa, suggested as a western population of the Nandi bear by George Eberhart.
  • The khodumodumo, a clawed bush monster of South Africa, connected with the Nandi bear by Bernard Heuvelmans.
  • The koddoelo, an aggressive giant baboon-like animal of Kenya, connected with the Nandi bear by Bernard Heuvelmans and others. Possibly simply a regional name for the Nandi bear.
  • The Malawi terror beast, a large hyena or hyena-like animal responsible for several deaths in Malawi.
  • The mngwa, a mystery cat reported from the same areas as the Nandi bear. George Eberhart suggests that attacks by this animal are blamed on the Nandi bear.
  • The too, a small black bear like-animal of East Africa, believed to be a black ratel by Bernard Heuvelmans.

Further cryptozoological readingEdit

  • Williams, Geoffrey "An Unknown Animal on the Uasingishu", Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 4 (1912)
  • ickes, G. W. "Notes on the Unknown Beast Seen on the Magadi Railway" Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 6 (1913)
  • Hobley, C. W. "On Some Unidentified Beasts", Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 6 (1913)
  • Hobley, C. W. "Unidentified Beasts in East Africa", Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 7 (1913)
  • Percival, A. Blayney "The Chemosit", Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 8 (1914)
  • Hichens, William "On the Trail of the Brontosaurus: Encounters with Africa's Mystery Animals" Chamber's Journal (1927)
  • Leakey, Louis S. (1935) Does the Chalicothere, Contemporary of the Okapi, Still Survive?
  • Heuvelmans, Bernard (1955) On the Track of Unknown Animals
  • Shuker, Karl (1995) In Search of Prehistoric Survivors
  • Heuvelmans, Bernard & Grison, Benoit & Barloy, Jean-Jacques (2015) Les ours insolites d'Afrique

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 Eberhart, George (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology
  2. Hobley, C. W. "Unidentified Beasts in East Africa", Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 7 (1913)
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Percival, A. Blayney "The Chemosit", Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 8 (1914)
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 4.19 4.20 4.21 4.22 4.23 4.24 4.25 4.26 4.27 4.28 Heuvelmans, Bernard (1955) On the Track of Unknown Animals
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Coleman, Loren & Clark, Jerome (1999) Cryptozoology A to Z
  6. 6.0 6.1 Shuker, Karl (1995) In Search of Prehistoric Survivors
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (2007)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hichens, William "On the Trail of the Brontosaurus: Encounters with Africa's Mystery Animals" Chamber's Journal (1927)
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Hichens, William, "African Mystery Beasts" Discovery 18 (1937)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Meinertzhagen, Richard (1957) Kenya Diary 1902-1906
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Williams, Geoffrey "An Unknown Animal on the Uasingishu", Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 4 (1912)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Hobley, C. W. "On Some Unidentified Beasts", Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 6 (1913)
  13. Buxton, Cara "The 'Gadett' or Brain-Eater" The Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 13 (1918)
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Newton, Michael (2009) Hidden Animals
  15. Murder that shaped the future of Kenya - The East African
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Hickes, G. W. "Notes on the Unknown Beast Seen on the Magadi Railway" Journal of the East Africa and Uganda Natural History Society 6 (1913)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Report of the Game Department of the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya (1932-34)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Someren, G. R. Cunningham van "The Nandi Bear", EANHS Bulletin (1982)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Shuker, Karl (1997) From Flying Toads to Snakes with Wings
  22. Leakey, Louis S. (1935) Does the Chalicothere, Contemporary of the Okapi, Still Survive?
  23. 23.0 23.1 Shuker, Karl (2014) The Beasts That Hide from Man
  24. Frontiers of Zoology: Is The Nandi Bear Actually a Bear?