The Catoblepas was a legendary creature from Ethiopia described by the ancient Greeks. It was a mid-sized beast with a black, buffalo-like body and the head of either a gnu or a hog. In some descriptions it had scales that ran down its back, protecting it. The head of the Catoblepas was too heavy for it to support, and so it usually was bent downwards, resting on the creature's chest. This is fortunate for travelers in the area, as the gaze of the beast, like that of a basilisk, was lethal. The death-gaze of the Catoblepas withered the vegetation in the area around the creature, often leaving it with nothing to eat. The creature was known to chew on its own legs and hair when hungry. The Catoblepas myth is probably based on the gnu, a similar-looking animal from Africa's savannah. Visitors to the area may have been confused by the prescence of the gnu in the desolate savannah and invented a myth to explain it.