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a depiction of a bonnacon, from a medieval manuscript.
|Last reported||c. 77–79|
|Habitat||Open grassy fields|
The Bonnacon (also called the Bonacon or the Bonasus) is a mythical animal from Asia. It has curled horns and when startled sprays acidic dung that burns on contact with skin "like a kind of fire". The legend may be based on a type of bison in reality. Some suggest that it had some resemblance to the European bison, which went extinct in 1919. A supposed representation of it appears on the Coat of Arms belonging to the Hollingshead Family, possibly alluding to a legendary confrontation between one of their ancestors and this beast.
The animal was described by Pliny in his Naturalis Historia: "There are reports of a wild animal in Paionia called the bonasus, which has the mane of a horse, but in all other respects resembles a bull; its horns are curved back in such a manner as to be of no use for fighting, and it is said that because of this it saves itself by running away, meanwhile emitting a trail of dung that sometimes covers a distance of as much as three furlongs [604 m], contact with which scorches pursuers like a sort of fire."
There is no evidence to suggest that the Bonnacon has ever existed. Some researchers believe that the creature could have been a form of Bison which may have once lived in central Asia.
There have been no sightings of the Bonnacon since the time of Pliny the Elder.
- Book 8, 16
- Folio 12r Translation and Transcription