Bonnacon: The Most Ridiculous Medieval Monster

On September 26, 2014 by Tim Newman

Bonnacon Medieval Monster - history of monsters

Of all the mythical medieval beasts that rollocked around in the Dark Ages, the bonnacon (or bonasus and bonacon) has to be the most ridiculous. 

Legend has it that the bonnacon’s curly horns were no good for butting or goring, so it developed a secondary defense system that was much more vile and underhanded: the bonnacon was the proud producer of acidic dung.

If you accidentally found yourself at the business end of one of these guys, its fire-like excreta would burn your skin on contact. The drawing below shows the bonnacon being utterly ashamed of the stench it has produced:

Bonnacon Medieval Monster - surprise

Everyone’s favourite historian, Pliny, described the bonnacon as follows…

There are reports of a wild animal in Paionia (Northern Greece) called the bonasus, which has the mane of a horse, but in all other respects resembles a bull; its horns are curved back in such a manner as to be of no use for fighting, and it is said that because of this it saves itself by running away, meanwhile emitting a trail of dung that sometimes covers a distance of as much as three furlongs (604 m), contact with which scorches pursuers like a sort of fire.

Bonnacon Medieval Monster - how to killBonnacon Medieval Monster - acid turds

Of course, it’s pretty unlikely that the bonnacon ever existed, but some believe it might have been based on the European bison, which became extinct in 1919.

Bonnacon Medieval Monster European Bison

The European bison, or wisent, was hunted to extinction with the last individuals gunned down somewhere on the Poland-Belarus border. Thankfully, some were still chilling out in zoos and have been reintroduced in some areas, although the Caucasian subspecies wasn’t so lucky and is lost forever.

The European bison’s curly horns, which were used by Europeans in the Middle Ages as drinking horns, certainly could have inspired the bonnacon. As for the fiery dung, who knows where that came from? I’m just sad I’ll never get to see one in action.





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