Everybody loves unicorns, that's why we find a lot of videos and pictures of unicorns circulating on the internet. One thing is sure : we love to watch them ! If you are lucky, you may have seen them in a unicorn dream... or just in your imagination !
Unicorns are extremely special creatures. Why are they so special ? Because so many different cultures from all over the world talk about them. You can find stories about these fairy-tale horned creatures everywhere, because they live in the most secret realm called imagination. That is to say, they are in our minds, our hearts, but also in some films and books. But in the real world, where do they live ? We try to unravel the mystery in this article !
1) Unicorns in the Forest
Some people claim to have seen unicorns living in forests, where they feed on mushrooms, plants and grass. With the help of the trees they protect themselves from the rain but especially from carnivores. This is why unicorns are thought to live in forests. Unicorns and fairies 👼 can often be seen frolicking together between the trees.
Unicorns are very fearful mythological animals : they disappear quickly if someone passes by. The forest allows them to disappear and blend in with nature. Legend has it that women, especially virgins, can approach a unicorn !
Their incredible agility allows them to easily squeeze between the large trunks, allowing them to escape if someone were to disturb them or want to follow them. Their strong musculature, especially in their legs, allows them to remain stable on their supports and not to stumble on uneven ground or on the roots of trees.
Unicorns can often be seen in pictures grazing grass near a lake while drinking fresh water. They are often surrounded by ancient trunks while being illuminated by the light of dawn. It is said that the older the forest, the more the Unicorn likes to live there ! This shows that Unicorns are more at ease in a habitat imbued with wisdom and memory : they find peace and tranquility there.
2) Unicorns live in the mountains
Unicorns also live in the mountains for food. It is said that they climb so high that they pass over rainbows, hence the popularity of rainbow unicorns 🌈 ! Wingless unicorns (winged unicorns are rare) have to climb the mountain if they want to taste the best food ! Rainbows are not common : when they appear, all the unicorns rush to the top to feed !
Mountain unicorns have to be very skillful not to stumble : crevices and rocky passages are commonplace. Moreover, it is more difficult to hide than in the forest because there are not as many trees 🌴. It is therefore necessary to be more vigilant, as running away is more difficult.
Watch how the mountain goats climb the cliffs : you will get an idea of how mountain unicorns move ! It sounds very dangerous, but don't worry : unicorns are very agile and fast creatures. With the sun reflecting off their white fur, they can blind predators.
Even though there are fewer hiding places than in the forest, unicorns can still take shelter in caves in case of a storm for example, or if they feel threatened. Unfortunately for them, there are no rainbows to eat in the caves ! They have to wait for the sun to come back and mix with the rain to enjoy their favorite food.
3) Unicorns live in the fields
The field is the place where one can most easily imagine a unicorn. Indeed, the green and fertile pastures and hills are privileged habitats for all animals. Food is easy to find, and white unicorns (as depicted in this White Unicorn painting) find plenty of places to rest and enjoy the sun. Accompanied by small birds, butterflies and other animals, what place could be more peaceful ? This is the ideal place for our mythical unicorns !
The fields also provide unicorns with open spaces and therefore great freedom to gallop ! We have all seen representations of galloping unicorns all over the world. Their powerful muscles contract together to produce phenomenal speed, while their manes and tails float in the wind !
A unicorn looks like a horse, but is actually much faster ! In fact, it is the fastest of all animals. Being able to roam the fields in an instant, they can also swim effortlessly in rivers. Their speed is such that from a distance you can only see a silvery reflection in the sun !
Herds of unicorns are frequent as illustrated by this unicorn painting. They gather there to find food, and food is abundant, especially grass ! Unicorns can therefore survive in this habitat quite easily.
In the fields, unicorns have more space to form herds, and there is plenty to eat. Grass that is soft in the sun is perfect for unicorns, and there are many of them. Old unicorns, but also young ones, can survive there. Even if they can't climb to enjoy their beloved rainbows on the top of a mountain !
In terms of shelter, the fields don't offer much, and this is their main disadvantage. Also, if the weather gets colder, there are no caves for shelter, so they have to leave the meadow to find a suitable refuge. The unicorns therefore choose a surrounding forest as their new habitat.
When the sun returns, the unicorns come back with it ! They love to waddle in the warmth. They also love to look at the stars and the brightness of the moon 🌛.
4) Unicorns in the World
A) The "Rhinoceros Unicorn".
Other animals have been confused with unicorns throughout history. For example, Marco Polo thought rhinos were unicorns ! As they are much less beautiful than the legendary horse, his disappointment was immense. He expected a slender, snow-white creature. Missed !
Rhinos are therefore often mistaken for unicorns because of the only similarity between the two : their horn. But they have nothing else in common : they don't have the same hue or the same gait. Unicorns are silvery white, while rhinos are dark gray. Their armored skin makes them heavy and not very agile. Many people didn't expect this when they were told about unicorns !
B) The Narwhal : the Unicorn of the Seas
Sea unicorns also called Narwhals could be considered the closest animals to unicorns, although they are aquatic. They are beautiful creatures, as we will see in a future article. They share many similarities with unicorns : their whiteness, agility and of course their long horn. Furthermore, they prefer to live in deep and therefore icy waters and gather in family herds, as unicorns do in the meadows. The narwhal's horn has many uses, such as navigation or simply play !
The grace with which they swim in the water is similar to the elegant galloping of unicorns on land. Like unicorns, they can disappear into the depths at full speed in case of danger. They are also at the border of two worlds : the sea in which they move, and the air when they need to breathe. Like unicorns, they therefore transcend two worlds and exist on their border.
Unfortunately, the narwhal horn has a price. Many people have sought it because it is said to bring luck and healing : it is associated with unicorn horns. This has led to the hunting of narwhals. Thus, their horn was sold under the claim that it was unicorn horns until 1741. But don't worry, the narwhals have nothing to fear since then !
The book The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle was probably inspired by narwhals. It is the story of a king who loved only one thing in life : looking at unicorns. He wanted to keep them all to himself ! So the unicorns were forced to flee into the sea, and could no longer escape because of the waves and sea currents.
C) Unicorns in Prehistory
The discovery of a revolutionary fossil could prove that the now extinct "Siberian unicorn" lived much later than we thought, walking the Earth with humans !
Scientists believed that "Elasmotherium sibiricum" became extinct 350,000 years ago, until a fossilized skull was found in Kazakhstan.
Intelligent carbon dating tests (which determine the age of ancient materials) concluded that the fossil was 29,000 years old, which means that animals have travelled the Earth 321,000 years longer than previously thought ! The fossil was found in Kazakhstan recently.
Unfortunately, the Siberian unicorn did not quite imitate the mythical creatures from the history books and looked more like a modern-day rhinoceros. It was 1.8 meters high, more than 4 meters long and weighed more than 4 tons, twice as much as a modern-day rhino 😲 ! It was covered with a shaggy coat and got its nickname from the enormous horn that grew on its forehead.
Researchers are now trying to find out how this creature was able to survive much longer than others of its species. Southern Western Siberia was most likely a refuge, where this rhinoceros persevered the longest compared to the rest of its range, according to Andrey Shpanski, one of the scientists studying the fossil. There is another possibility that it may migrate and live for some time in more southerly areas.
If you like to look at unicorns living in many different habitats, take a look at our collection of unicorn plush ! Yes, we'll let you in on a secret : Unicorns can also live with humans !