Hear me. The ships of Braavos sail as far as the winds blow, to lands strange and wonderful, and when they return their captains fetch queer animals to the Sealord’s menagerie. Such animals as you have never seen, striped horses1, great spotted things with necks as long as stilts2, hairy mouse-pigs as big as cows3, stinging manticores4, tigers that carry their cubs in a pouch5, terrible walking lizards with scythes for claws6. Syrio Forel has seen these things.

A Game of Thrones

Please help me identify the animals.

  1. Clearly a Zebra
  2. Clearly a giraffe
  3. No idea
  4. It's a scorpion substitute in ASOIAF
  5. What?
  6. Dinosaurs?
  • 3
    Zebras, Giraffes, Capybaras(?), Scorpions, Thylacines (Tasmanian tigers)(?), and maybe a Komodo Dragon.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 20:10
  • 5
    Note that this is a world where various fantastical animals exist. Forel may not have been referring to a mundane creature from our world for any of them; Zorses (striped horses), for example, are found in Essos, as are manticores; gameofthrones.fandom.com/wiki/Animals_and_Plants
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 20:13
  • I suspect 3 is the Tapir and 6 is more or less a Velociraptor, or at least the Jurassic Park version. "Walking" probably means upright or bipedal rather than crawling on all fours, unless Syrio sees a lot of legless lizards and distinguishes them from snakes.
    – Nolimon
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 21:02
  • @Valorum or since this has the book tags this would be a better link awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Bestiary
    – Skooba
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 21:19
  • Capybaras indeed partially fit the description, but they are nowhere near the size of cows, they're much, much, smaller. An adult Capybara has, roughly, the size of a big (but not very big) dog. Commented May 29, 2019 at 12:03

2 Answers 2

  • 1 A small correction... it is not a zebra on Planetos but a Zorse

A pair of Jogos Nhai presented her with one of their striped zorses, black and white and fierce. (A Clash of Kings - Daenerys III)

  • 2 Yes, believed to be a giraffe and not given any other name.
  • 3 It is not known.
  • 4 Yes, basically a scorpion with bonus features.
  • 5 Believed to be a thylacine, also known as the "Tasmanian tiger" or "Tasmanian wolf"
  • 6 Probably a "tattooed lizard" which might have have a similar look to dragons

    Farther south lie the regions known as the Green Hell, where beasts even more fearsome are said to dwell. ... Tattooed lizards stalk the jungles, running down their prey and ripping them apart with the long curved claws on their powerful hind legs. (The World of Ice and Fire - Beyond the Free Cities: Sothoryos)

    Like as not, the girl would prove to be some pock-faced slattern with teats slapping against her knees, her "dragons" no more than tattooed lizards from the swamps of Sothoryos. (A Dance with Dragons - The Iron Suitor)

Further Reading (since you tagged this with ASOIAF) can found at the Bestiary

  • Planetos?
    – Valorum
    Commented May 28, 2019 at 21:34
  • 1
    Perhaps the "mouse pig" is Phoberomys pattersoni, perhaps the largest rodent ever discovered. Estimated to be 1,500 pounds, so sounds about cow sized. alchetron.com/Phoberomys-pattersoni some artist renditions of it seem somewhat piglike as well.
    – Kai
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 15:38
  • @Kai Seems to be the correct answer.
    – Vizima
    Commented May 29, 2019 at 18:11
  • Perhaps 3 is the tapir?
    – user60155
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 15:56

5 is presumably a thylacine or Tasmanian tiger, a striped carnivorous marsupial.

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