(Image: Perkins 210).
Were-creatures are any human who, either by their own will or someone else’s, become an animal on certain nights (Clarkson 202-206). Although the most commonly known in popular culture is the were-wolf, many other variations, such as the vicious were-dog of Papua New Guinea with a will of its own to kill and the power to turn others into dogs as they sleep, do exist (Rose 390). Many are simply different animal variants of what many people know to be a werewolf: a person unwillingly transforming into a vicious monster on some nights, although some have other interesting abilities. Some were-animals, such as the Indonesian were-crocodile, are cursed to change into their animal form to seek revenge for their master, while others, such as the were-tiger of Asia, seek simply to return to their normal life by passing on the curse (Rose 390-393). Variations from nearly every continent exist, such as the African were-jackal or the North American were-hare (Rose 390).
No matter the form, a were-animal shows the strength and prowess possessed by animals, while also exploring the danger that these monsters would pose to society if their power were unleashed. Many werewolf legends also show the beast as a predator that can destroy a village (Clarkson 202-206), a way to promote vigilance not only against the imagined were-wolves but also against any outside threats the village may be facing.