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A leocrotta, q, is a type of monster that appears in NetHack. The leocrotta is an omnivorous quadrupedal animal that has two claw attacks and a bite attack, and moves faster than an unburdened player at fast speed.

Chatting to a leocrotta causes it to imitate you.


Leocrottas are always generated hostile. A leocrotta can be generated by the summon nasties monster spell.


At 18 speed, the leocrotta is the fastest monster among the quadrupeds, and hits hard enough to easily maul even mid-level characters. Low-level characters - especially those that do not specialize in melee - are well-advised to escape using any means possible, as a leocrotta often appears before they are fully prepared for it; strong ranged attacks can even the odds, but the leocrotta may be able to close the gap before it can be put down.

Thankfully, leocrottas have no resistances and a minimal MR score of 10, making wands and spells effective at immobilizing or killing them. A wand of cold, fire or lightning can get a leocrotta off your back fairly reliably, and a wand of sleep or slow monster enables you to outrun a leocrotta or else bring it down with ranged attacks or wands as above. Engraving or burning Elbereth can also scare leocrottas away from you.

Fast speed or better, high-damage weapons and decent AC are ideal in the event you are forced into melee combat with a leocrotta. Improved AC and better speed can significantly reduce the amount of damage a leocrotta deals, as can slowing them down with the wand (or spell) of slow monster; as with many other difficult monsters, you can also fight them from the stairs and walk up or down them to escape and heal as needed.

As a pet

A leocrotta is not especially remarkable as an "exotic" pet, though it is a decent steed due to its high movement speed and attacks, and its omnivorous diet makes it easy to keep fed. A warhorse still outperforms a leocrotta in most aspects, especially in terms of speed (24 base speed for a warhorse vs. 18 for a leocrotta) and ease of taming with vegan and vegetarian food.


The leocrotta first appears in Hack for PDP-11, a variant of Jay Fenlason's Hack, and is included in the initial bestiary for Hack 1.0.

From Hack for PDP-11 to NetHack 2.3e, the leocrotta used the l glyph. In NetHack 3.0.0, leocrottas and other quadrupeds (many of which were newly-introduced in this version) were moved to the q glyph.


An oil painting of a leucrotta

The leucrocotta is a creature that originates in the writings of Pliny the Elder. It is based on the crocotta (also known as a corocotta or crocuta) of Indian and Ethiopian folklore: a mythical dog-wolf that is described by Strabo as a deadly enemy of men and dogs. The leucrocotta is described in Pliny's Naturalis Historia as "the swiftest of all beasts, about the size of an ass [donkey], with a stag's haunches, a lion's neck, tail and breast, badger's head, cloven hoof, mouth opening right back to the ears, and ridges of bone in place of rows of teeth—this animal is reported to imitate the voices of human beings".

Both the leucrocrotta and crocotta are likely based on the spotted hyena, an animal known for scavenging and digesting a wide range of foods that is capable of unnervingly human-like vocalizations, such as its famous 'laugh' - its scientific name (Crocuta crocuta) is derived from the crocotta, and local folklore attributes shape-shifting abilities and mimicry of human speech to hyenas. Pliny's description for the leucrocrotta is used for the creature's appearance in Dungeons & Dragons, where it is known as the leucrotta and debuts in the 1st Edition Monster Manual. This appearance in turn is the basis for the NetHack leocrotta's stat line, appearance and ability to imitate the player character when spoken to.

In Dungeons & Dragons, the leucrotta is an evil being created from Yeenoghu's first ancient incursion of the Material Plane, where they were a common result of hyenas consuming his kills and undergoing aberrant transformations. It has a reputation as a hideous creature due to its noxious stench, awful breath, glowing red eyes, and constant drooling - most beings, particularly druids, shun leucrottas and loathe their very existence. A leucrotta can move as fast as a normal-size warhorse, and fights using jaw ridges that can tear through armor and flesh, and hooves that are used to batter and disable prey or else kick foes from the rear before making sudden retreats.

The leucrotta is frighteningly intelligent: it can imitate the voices of other animals and even humanoids to lure prey into simple-but-effective traps, and can even speak languages such as Common. The leucrotta is also a proficient stalker with a strong sense of smell and difficult-to-distinguish tracks, and prefers to hunt isolated targets in order to avoid being overwhelmed by other humanoids seeking to find or avenge their missing kin; a leucrotta will also collect gemstones specifically for trap material or bargaining chips. It is cruel and opportunistic, hunting for sport as much as for food, and tends to draw out its kills as long as possible. A leucrotta will stick to familiar territory when possible, leaving only when there is a clear danger or a lack of prey.

Leucrottas live alone or in small packs and hunt at night, lurking alongside roads and near human habitats, and exhibit a surprising amount of social structure. Though they very occasionally work and hunt with other evil beings, such arrangements are usually ones of mutual gain - leucrottas only ever make these deals out of fear, and will attack once there is no further gain and they can overpower their former partner(s). Gnolls are a notable exception: leucrottas willingly serve as bodyguards, advisers and even mounts for the gnoll currently in charge, and gnolls see leucrottas as a form of entertainment with a cruelty that surpasses their own.


The leocrotta imitates you.
You chatted to a leocrotta.



In SLASH'EM, the leocrotta is a decent polyform for doppelgangers that reach experience level 6: they are strong, fast and quite powerful, but cannot use weapons or armor and lack hands to open doors or operate most tools with.


In dNetHack, leocrottas are classified as fey monsters.

Encyclopedia entry

... the leucrocotta, a wild beast of extraordinary swiftness, the size of the wild ass, with the legs of a Stag, the neck, tail, and breast of a lion, the head of a badger, a cloven hoof, the mouth slit up as far as the ears, and one continuous bone instead of teeth; it is said, too, that this animal can imitate the human voice.

[ Curious Creatures in Zoology, by John Ashton ]