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The Tailypo is reported to be about the same size of a dog. It is also reported to have yellow or red eyes. It has pointed ears and a long tail (which it calls it tailypo). It often has black or dark brown fur, and it only appears at night. It is able to speak, often to demand the return of its tailypo. This demand is often repeated several times in varied legends.
In most legends, a hermit hunter and his three dogs (often named Uno, Ino, and Cumprico-Calico in most variations of the tale) go hunting for game, because there was a shortage of food. They manage to get a hare. However, the hermit is still hungry. While out hunting, he sees an uncommon animal with glowing eyes and a long tail. He shoots at it, and he gets its tail. In most cases he makes it into a stew and in others, he simply eats it. At night, he hears scratching and hears a voice demanding for the return of its tailypo. The man then sends each of the dogs to (in most variations) to the swamp, to where the Tailypo kills, eats, or simply drowns the dogs. The man, frightened, holds onto his gun or ax in most variations. He then waits for dawn. It then appears at the foot of the hermit's bed, and demands for the return of its tailypo. When he couldn't give it back, in most versions, it flays him beyond recognition, or in others attacks him with such force, that the only thing that was left of the house was the chimney. Supposedly during the dark of the nights, it could still be heard calling out for its tailypo.