According to legend the Yara-ma-yha-who is three to four feet tall and resembled a frog or monkey-like little man owing much of its height to a comically oversized head. Its entire body was said to be covered in red skin or hair, and the tips of its fingers and toes were described as "octopus-like" suckers. Its face was dominated by a wide, toothless mouth like that of a frog, apparently large enough to engulf a human being.
This creature was said to live almost exclusively in the foliage of fig trees, patiently lying in wait for a lone human stopping to rest at the base of its tree. Once the victim let their guard down, the monster would drop from above and begin a multi-step feeding ritual.
First, the Yara-ma-yha-who would latch on to the victim and rapidly drain blood in a leech-like manner through its sucker-tipped digits, feeding until the victim was on the very brink of death.
Children were advised to simply lie back and submit to this attack, as the monster would leave them be when their struggling ceased. Too weak to escape, the prey would be left lying helpless for an indeterminate amount of time before the monster returned and promptly swallowed them whole. Washing down its meal at the nearest river, the Yara-ma-yha-who would proceed to take a long nap. As soon as the creature awoke, it would regurgitate its victim completely alive and unharmed as though the attack had never happened at all: except that the unfortunate soul would be very slightly shorter for the rest of their days.
A Yara-ma-yha-who would never miss an opportunity to attack the same person again and again, and with every attack, the person would be left a little smaller, a little redder, and a little bit hungrier for blood. It was never certain just how many attacks were necessary, but anyone foolish enough to keep sleeping under fig trees would be transformed fully into a Yara-ma-yha-who.