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, or Succarath is a ferocious beast that lives in the cold, wild country at the tip of South America (Patagonia).

Woodcut, from Cosmographie universelle. In Les Singularitez de la France antarctique, by Thevet


Description

Half tiger and half wolf, the Sù has the head of a beautiful but malicious woman. Its tail looks like a large, flat, green palm leaf.


Behavior

Jesuit priest Pedro Lozano described as such:

"Towards the Patagones, a very fierce animal can be found. It is called a sú or according to others Succarath and it is usually found on the river banks. It has a hideous figure, at first sight it seems to have the face of a lion or even that of a man, because from its ears grows a beard with hair that is not too long; its body narrows towards the rear, its front end is very large; its tail is long and very hairy, and with it, it hides its pups that it places on its back. This does not prevent it from running swiftly away. It is carnivorous and is hunted by the local natives, who are interested in its fur, because, being of a cold climate; they protect themselves from the weather with it. The usual way of hunting them is to dig a deep hole which they cover with branches; the unwary beast falls into it with its brood and seeing no way out, either out of generosity or anger, tears them apart with its claws, so that they do not fall into the hands of men; roaring at the same time, to terrify its hunters, who coming close to the mouth of the pit, pierce the beast with their arrows."


History

The fierce beast was first evoked by André Thevet (1500-1597), French Franciscan priest who traveled to Patagonia. Ambroise Paré mentioned it in 1585, before Edward Topsell’s The Historie of Four-Footed Beastes (1607).

Later, in 1892, Argentine Paleontologist, Florentino Ameghino used the Succarath to support his theory that giant sloths (Mylodons) were still alive somewhere in Patagonia by implying that they were the same creature. However, sloths are not swift and live in the tropical regions of South America, far from the cold Patagonian steppes.


Quote

"The Su, i. e. water, becauʃe living by rivers moʃtwhat, is found among the Patagons. Some call it Succarath. It hath a fierce Lions looke, yet is bearded from the eare like a man, ʃhort-haired, the belly ʃtrutting out, lank flanked, the tail large and long, as a ʃquirrells. The giantlike men there, the climate being not very hote, wear the skins, for which, when hunted they laytheir young on their back,and cover them with their tail, and ʃo run away, but are taken, whelps, and all in pits covered with boughs. Being faʃt in, for rage, or generouʃneʃʃe they kill their whelps, and cry hideouʃly to fright the hunters; they ʃhoot him dead with arrows, and ʃlea him. Some fain that they in fondneʃʃe carry their young to medows, and there they dreʃʃe each other with garlands of faire ʃweet flowers."

Jonstonus, Joannes, 1603-1675 / A description of the nature of four-footed beasts : with their figures :engraven in brass (1678). Chapter IV. Of the stinking beast, the graffa, and caoch, p. 112.