The hadjel or hajjel was a tigre de montagne reported from southern Chad's Guera Massif. According to anthropologist Jeanne-Françoise Vincent, it is said to be larger than a lion, with a short, hyena-like tail, a large mane, and very long fangs which make it difficult for the animal to open its mouth. Due to this, the hadjel is said to only tackle small prey, and to eat very slowly. It has very few offspring, and lives in lairs in the mountains near Temki.
Several people of Temki told Vincent that they had seen a hadjel. According to the alleged eyewitnesses, "we are scared when we meet him because of his great size, and yet he is less dangerous than a lion because of the time he takes to open his mouth!" Bernard Heuvelmans speculated that tigres de montagne such as the hadjel were the descendents of machairodontine sabre-toothed cats (~20 MYA–9 KYA) which had taken to a montane habitat to avoid competition with big cats.
Notes and references
- Heuvelmans, Bernard & Rivera, Jean-Luc & Barloy, Jean-Jacques (2007) Les Félins Encore Inconnus d’Afrique, Les Editions de l'Oeil du Sphinx, ISBN 978-2914405430
- Eberhart, George M. (2002) Mysterious Creatures: A Guide to Cryptozoology, ABC-CLIO, Inc., ISBN 1576072835
- Vincent, Jeanne-Françoise (1975) Le Pouvoir et le Sacre Chez les Hadjeray du Tchad