Earth Hound

Mystery rodentof Scotland.

Variant names: Yard dog, Yird swine.

Physical description: Ratlike. The size of a ferret. Brown. Long, doglike head. Prominent snout like a pig's. Large incisors. Molelike feet. Short, bushy tail.

Behavior: Burrows in graves. Eats corpses.

Habitat: Graveyards and alluvial plains.

The EARTH HOUND, a mystery mammal of northeastern Scotland, said to be found in graveyards. (William M. Rebsamen/Fortean Picture Library)

Distribution: Aberdeenshire. Significant sightings: About 1867, a Scottish gardener plowed up an Earth hound, killing it after it bit and cut his boot. He took the carcass home.

In 1915, an Earth hound was turned up by a plow and killed in the parish churchyard of Mastrick, Aberdeenshire. It was about the size of a rat but had molelike feet.

Sources: Walter Gregor, Notes on the FolkLore of the North-East of Scotland (London: Folk-Lore Society, 1881), p. 130; Alexander Fenton and David Heppell, "The Earth Hound: A Living Banffshire Belief," Scottish Studies 31 (1992-1993): 145-146; Karl Shuker, Mysteries of Planet Earth (London: Carlton, 1999), pp. 28-29.

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