This animal has been variously described by woodsmen from
Wisconsin and Minnesota. Opinions differ greatly as to the
appearance of the beast, some claiming it to be covered with
horns and spines and having a maniacal disposition.
The description which seems most authentic and from which the
sketch of the animal has been made is as follows: size about
that of a rhinoceros and somewhat resembling that animal in
general makeup. The creature is slow in motion, deliberate,
and, unlike the rhinoceros, very intelligent. Its hairless body
is mottled, striped, and checked in a striking manner, suggestive of the origin of the patterns upon Mackinaw clothing,
now used in the lumber woods. On the hodag's nose, instead
of a horn there is a large spade-shaped bony growth, with
peculiar phalanges, extending up in front of the eye, so that he
can see only straight up. This probably accounts for the deliberate disposition of the animal, which wanders through the
spruce woods looking for suitable food. About the only living
creature which the hodag can catch is the porcupine ; indeed, it
would appear that the porcupine is its natural food. Upon
sighting one rolled up in the branches of a spruce the hodag
begins to blink his eyes, lick his chops, and spade around the
roots and over goes the tree, knocking the breath out of the
porcupine in its fall. The hodag then straddles the fallen tree,
front feet crush the helpless porcupine, and then deliberately
swallows him head first.
In the autumn the hodag strips the bark off a number of
spruce or pine trees and covers himself all over with pitch.
He then searches out a patch of hardwood timber where dead
leaves lie thick on the ground. Here he rolls about until completely encased in a thick, warm mantle of leaves, in which
condition he spends the winter.