- Other names: Rainbow jaguar, rainbow tiger
- Country reported: Ecuador
The tshenkutshen is a cryptid felid reported from Ecuador, specifically "the Trans-Cutucú region, Sierra de Cutucú and the Sangay Volcano area near Chiguaza." It was described by Spanish cryptozoologist Angel Morant Forés.
The tshenkutshen has the size and basic morphology of a regular jaguar, but with a few major deviations. Most noticeably, the cats chest is patterned with multicoloured stripes of red, yellow and white. Other than these stripes, its pelage is described as being very similar to that of another Ecuadorian cryptid, the shiashia-yawá, which is described as "a spotted cat white in colour" (although some artists including Tim Morris have depicted the tshenkutshen as black). Other unusual features include flat-palmed hands that are remarkably simian-like except for having claws instead of nails, and a large hump on its forequarters.
The tshenkutshen is extremely aggressive, and largely arboreal. It can leap from tree to tree with astonishing ease, and is considered by the Shuar Indians to be the most dangerous of all the jungle animals. Its name does not end in yawá, the Shuar word for "tiger" and their usual suffix for all cats.
An animal matching the description of the tshenkutshen was allegedly shot and killed in 1959 by Policarpio Rivadeneira, a Macas settler, while walking through the rainforest of Cerro Kilamo. It leaped through the trees towards him, and, fearing for his life, he shot it. Upon examining it, he discovered it to be a mainly white jaguar-sized animal, with a hump, rainbow-coloured chest, muscular arms, and monkey-like hands with "flat rather than round palms".
Further cryptozoological reading
- Shuker, Karl (2012) Cats of Magic, Mythology and Mystery