The mapinguari (or mapinguary) (IPA: /mapiŋgwa'ri/) is a legendary ground-dwelling sloth-like creature with red fur living in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia. According to some native accounts the creature has a series of unnatural characteristics related to other fantastic beings of Brazilian mythology, like long claws, caiman skin, backward feet and a second mouth on its belly. These characteristics are not shared by all accounts of the creature.


According to legend, it is slow, but ferocious and very dangerous due to its ability to move without noise in between the thick vegetation, its only weakness being that of avoiding water bodies (which limits its movements in a region where so many rivers, brooklets and lagoons exist, especially during the rainy season). Most accounts state that the creature is carnivorous -- though not necessarily man-eating. When it smells the presence of humans it stands up on its back feet, becoming as tall as two metres, a movement similar to Grizzly bears.


Many cryptozoologists are intrigued by reports of this creature, though some have dismissed it as a folkloric/mythologic creature, or a long-preserved folk memory of the giant animals that existed in South America in the Pleistocene, in particular the giant ground sloth Mylodon.

Among the many researchers who have tried to find evidence for the existence of the Mapinguari is the ornithologist David Oren. During his various expeditions, he has collected a range of material some of which was later shown to be agouti fur, anteater feces, and casts of tracks that were inconclusive. Nevertheless, Oren still considers the creature to be real, but highly elusive, and nowadays extremely rare, avoiding contact with humans whenever possible.

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