Unidentified HYENA-like animal of North Africa.

Etymology: Arabic, "she-wolf." Variant names: al-Salaawwa, Salawa, Silawa. Physical description: Like a large hyena. Beige or black fur. Long muzzle. Prominent fangs. Tail like a wolf s.

Behavior: Nocturnal. Attacks and kill humans, especially children. Habitat: Desert areas.

Distribution: Armant, in southern Egypt; the Cairo suburbs.

Significant sightings: In October 1996, Egyptian police shot two wild dogs that had killed four children and wounded twenty-eight others in Armant, Egypt.

Savage dogs attacked twenty-three children in Qattamiya, an eastern suburb of Cairo, Egypt, in March 1997. The Egyptian press published photos showing the disfigured children, some of whom had lost both eyes. On April 7, twenty-three-year-old Sayeda Abbas and other residents stoned to death a wolflike creature. A preliminary postmortem indicated it was a dog-wolf hybrid.

Possible explanations: Feral Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), Common jackals (Canis aureus), and Striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena) are all found in the area, though they do not usually attack people.

Sources: "Egyptian Police Shoot Unidentified Beasts," San Francisco Chronicle, October 9, 1996; "Desert Animal Terrorises Cairo Suburb," Daily Telegraph (London), April 4, 1997; "Creature Attacks Children in Cairo Suburb," Middle East Times (Cairo), April 6, 1997; "Beasts Terrorize Town," Middle East Times (Cairo), April 13, 1997; Loren Coleman, "Al-Salaawa," Fate 52 (January 2000): 7, 58.

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