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The griffin is a mythical creature composed part bird and part lion, generally a lion's body with an eagle's head and wings. In some cases the forelegs are also avian. Occasionally sources also grant it the tail of a serpent or a scorpion, but this is little used in heraldry. Heraldic sources insist on the retention of the lion's ears, so that an eagles' head and a griffin's may be distinct charges.

The heraldic keythong is a male griffin, represented as wingless but with either spikes of fur or jets of flame or light coming from the main body area.