The catoblepas is a legendary creature from Ethiopia. It is said to have the body of a buffalo and the head of a hog. Its back has scales that protect the beast, and its head is always pointing downwards. Its stare or breath could either turn people into stone, or kill them. The catoblepas is often thought to be based on real-life encounters with wildebeest, such that some dictionaries say that the word is synonymous with "gnu."