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An ahuizotl glyph, from Tepoztlan.

The ahuizotl (or ahuitzotl) is a legendary creature in Aztec belief.



It was described as otter-like, with hands capable of manipulation and an additional hand on its tail. The ahuizotl was feared due to its liking for human flesh, especially nails, eyes, and teeth. It was said to live in or near the water and uses the hand on the end of its tail to snatch its prey.

The ahuizotl included within Book 11 of the Florentine Codex, which describes it as:

"...very like the teui, the small teui dog; small and smooth, shiny. It has small, pointed ears, just like a small dog. It is black, like rubber; smooth, slippery, very smooth, longtailed. And its tail is provided with a hand at the end; just like a human hand is the point of its tail. And its hands are like a raccoon's hands or like a monkey's hands. It lives, it is a dweller in watery caverns, in watery depths. And if anyone arrives there at its entrance, or there in the water where it is, it then grabs him there. It is said that it sinks him, it plunges him into the water; it carries him to its home, it introduces him to the depths; so its tail goes holding him, so it goes seizing him ... [When the body is retrieved] the one it has drowned no longer has his eyes, his teeth, and his nails; it has taken them all from him. But his body is completely unblemished, his skin uninjured. Only his body comes out all slippery-wet; as if one had pounded it with a stone; as if it had inflicted small bruises ... When it was annoyed - had caught no one, had drowned none of us commoners - then was heard as if a small child wept. And he who heard it thought perhaps a child wept, perhaps a baby, perhaps an abandoned one. Moved by this, he went there to look for it. So there he fell into the hands of the auítzotl, there it drowned him..."

Ahuizotl in popular culture

  • The ahuizotl was included as a monster in the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game in the April 2003 edition of Fiend Folio, where it is described as a fiendish monkey, with a dog-like head and legs, and a tail ending in a fifth hand. [1]
  • The Xbox 360 video game, Culdcept Saga has a creature card named Ahuizotl which has a water element trait and an ability to change any land into a blue (water) element land. The creature is depicted as a sea serpent.
  • In Shadowspawn, Ahuizotl is a creature found in the Algavett Forest. It can use its tail-hand to steal the player's items, and must be killed in order to retrieve them.
  • The Ahuizotl is featured in The Secret Saturdays episode "The Thousand Eyes of Ahuizotl" with its vocal effects provided by Fred Tatasciore. This version is depicted as a humanoid creature with a fifth hand on its long tail.


  1. ^ Cagle, Eric; Decker, Jesse; Jacobs, James; Mona, Erik; Sernett, Matthew; Thomasson, Chris; and Wyatt, James, Fiend Folio, Wizards of the Coast, 2003).

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