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The Minashunka, mína šunka or “Knife Dog” is a cave dwelling creature in Ozark mythology said to drink the blood of victims. Believed to be the size of a large fox weighing about 20 lbs. They have four pointed teeth. These teeth have no enamel, keeping them permanently razor sharp. It’s description is strikingly similar to the Vampire bat of South America and Central America. While the vampire bat is only about 3 inches long (8 cm) and has wings, Knife Dog is believed to be more than two feet long, weighing over 20 Lbs. and has no wings. Usually moves in a quadrupedal manner with front legs that are substantially longer than the rear

Their saliva has an anticoagulant property and the speed and surgically sharp teeth of their attack can make their bites nearly painless. Humans and larger animals often sleep through a feeding and awaken unaware of how the deep cuts in their skin occurred. Smaller prey, like chickens or household pets frequently die from blood loss.

Relying solely on blood for food, Minashunka are usually sighted in or near caves throughout the Ozark Mountains. They seem to prefer hunting in total darkness using sound, smell and a leaf like heat sensor located on the tip of their nose which detects where the warm blood is flowing closest to the skin of their prey. Witnesses have described hearing the clicking and chattering like sound that Knife Dog uses for echo-locating food sources.

Vampire bats, unlike other species of flying mammals, have the unique ability to run on all fours. Their evolutionary wingless partner Minashunka has the same nightmare inducing gait, and their taste for blood is the source of the legends surrounding Knife Dog There is speculation that the legend may be based on sightings of an actual animal species that is rarely seen; based on the description of the knife dog in popular literature, the animal species might be related to the Vampire bat.[1] The myth is popularly known in Douglas County, Missouri. The Knife Dog is considered a bad omen in Ozark tradition. Seeing one is a harbinger of death. The legend of the Knife Dog is believed to bring bad luck to the storyteller.

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