|The sha is assumed to be some canid, or wild dog, inhabiting the deserts
of North Africa, particularly the region adjacent to the Nile Valley in
It is the totemic animal of the god Set, for which reason it is
commonly known as the Set animal or Typhonian animal.
It may also be
identical with the mysterious wild dog known to modern Egyptians as the
In the 1960s, and again in the late 1990s and
early 2000s, stories began to circulate about a mysterious canid, dubbed
the salawa or sal'awa (scary wolf).
The creature allegedly attacked
several small villages in remote parts of southern Egypt, resulting in
several injuries and even deaths.
Eyewitness accounts and grainy
photographs of a specimen allegedly killed by villagers resulted in
speculation that the creature was the same as the "Typhonian animal"; a
slender, black canine, rarely seen, but typically found on the edge of
Early investigations found nothing conclusive.
during filming of a 2009 episode of the SyFy channel program,
Destination Truth, an animal suspected of being the salawa was filmed
and determined to be a Fennec Fox.
This variety of fox is another
possible identification for the sha.
Its large, squarish ears
and slender legs, its solitary habits and reddish fur are all consistent
with representations of the sha, although the animal's other features
must have become highly stylized.
If the salawa is a Fennec Fox,
accounts of it as a powerful, bloodthirsty killer have been greatly
exaggerated, or perhaps confused with accounts of other creatures, such
as the African hunting dog, or escaped dogs that have become feral.
Whether any of these is the historical basis for the sha remains
The sha is usually depicted as a slender dog, resembling a greyhound or a jackal, with three distinguishing features: a
stiff tail, often forked at the end, which stands straight up or at an
angle, whether the animal is sitting, standing, or walking.
ears, also held erect, are usually depicted as squarish or triangular,
narrowest at the base and widest at the squarish tops; and a long nose,
often with a slight downward curve.
It is normally depicted as black, but may also have been reddish.