Encyclopaedia of Cryptozoology

The begare was a cryptid reported from what is now Costa Rica in 1502, during the fourth voyage of Christopher Columbus.[1] In a letter sent to the King and Queen of Spain in 1503, Columbus wrote of how:[2]

A crossbowman had wounded an animal, which appeared to be an ape, except that it was much larger and had the face of a man. The arrow had pierced it from the neck to the tail, and as a result it was so fierce that it was necessary to cut off an arm and a leg. When the hog saw it, it bristled up and fled. When I saw this, I ordered the begare, as it is called there, to be thrown where the hog was; coming within reach, although it was on the point of death and although the arrow was still in its body, it twisted its tail round the hog’s snout and holding it very firmly, seized it by the nape of the neck and with its remaining hand struck it on the head, as if it were an enemy. This action was so novel and such a delightful sight that I have described it.

Herbert Wendt suggested it may have been a now-extinct species of cat.[3] George Eberhart, also describing it as a cat-like animal, discounts suggestions that it may have been a spider monkey or a kinkajou.[1] Columbus' original description of the animal, as quoted above, makes no reference to any cat-like features; he describes it as a prehensile-tailed man-faced ape, not an ape-faced cat.

It has been suggested that begare was the native word for the peccary, not for the animal that Columbus was describing.[4]

Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Eberhart, George M. (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, ABC-CLIO, Inc., ISBN 1576072835
  2. Christopher Columbus' Letter to the Sovereigns (1503)
  3. Wendt, Herbert (1959) Out of Noah's Ark
  4. Donkin, R. A. (1985) The Peccary: With Observations on the Introduction of Pigs to the New World