Not to be confused with Dr. Griffin, the human protagonist from H. G. Wells' The Invisible Man.
Others Gryphon
Binomen N/A
Body type Leonine / Avian
Sentience Sentient
Sapience Non-Sapient (usually)
Place of origin Egypt
Diet Carnivorous
Locomotion Quadrupedal
Subspecies Opinicus
Related species Hippogriff
Behind the Scenes
Universe Real

Griffins (a.k.a. Gryphons) are mythological creatures known in ancient Egypt, Persia, Mesopotamian civilizations and throughout Europe, India and Central Asia. They're represented as having the body and hindlegs of a lion, and the head, wings and forelegs of a huge eagle - giving it six limbs in total. Despite having the head of an eagle, they're very commonly depicted with long ears. Like dragons, they're considered intelligent creatures and are often guardians of gold and other treasures.

In some cases, Griffins portrayed without wings will be referred to as male Griffins (implying a kind of sexual dimorphism in which only the females have wings), also known as Keythongs or Alces. There's also a specific type of Griffin known as the Opinicus, which has the forelegs of a lion rather than an eagle, and a tail like that of a camel rather than a lion.

According to Medieval legends, the Griffins are strictly monogamous, and will remain alone rather than trying to find a new mate if their mate dies. They're said to be oviparous, and their claws and feathers have medicinal properties, with some sources claiming that the feathers can cure blindness. The natural enmity between horses and Griffins is also well documented, although in extremely rare occasions the two may procreate, giving rise to a hybrid known as a Hippogriff.

In Barlowe's Guide to Fantasy, Wayne Barlowe depicts the Griffins as winged, long-tailed mutant relatives of the Protoceratops. This refers to the popular theory that the Griffin legends may have been inspired by Protoceratops fossils. Curiously, it's now commonly believed that at least some ceratopsian dinosaurs had feathers, making their appearance far more Griffin-like than previously thought.

Appearances in Media


  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
  • "The Griffin", a story collected in Grimm's Fairy Tales, by the Brothers Grimm


  • Attack of the Gryphon
  • Fantasia 2000
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
  • Quest for Camelot
  • Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo


  • Adventures of the Gummi Bears
  • Aladdin (animated TV series)
  • Garfield and Friends
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
  • The Smurfs
  • Sofia the First
  • The StoryTeller

Video Games

  • Dark Parables
  • Disco Zoo
  • Dragon's Dogma
  • Final Fantasy series
  • God of War series
  • Might and Magic series
  • The Witcher series
  • World of Warcraft


See also

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