Ten Unusual National Animals That Rival the Unicorn

Scotland doesn’t have the market cornered on exotic national symbols—check out the mouflon, the takin and the xoloitzcuintli

A shop sells nostalgic souvenirs, including a UK coat of arms, at the Portobello Road market in London. (Jon Bower/Loop Images/Corbis)
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Chollima (North Korea)

Like Scotland, North Korea has only a mythical animal as its emblem, the winged horse called Chollima. Korean folklore says this untamable horse can cover hundreds of miles in a day. In the 1950s, after a cease-fire agreement was signed between the north and south, North Korean president Kim il Sun urged people to rebuild the nation at Chollima speed. A famous bronze statue of the steed stands today in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital. 

About Victoria Jaggard

Victoria Jaggard is the science editor for Smithsonian.com. Her writing has appeared in Chemical & Engineering News, National Geographic, New Scientist and elsewhere.

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