Frank W. Lane wrote, "What the Abominable Snowman is to Asia, or the great Sea Serpent is to the oceans, the Nandi Bear is to Africa. It is one of the most notorious of those legendary beasts which have, so far, eluded capture and the collector's rifle."
Descriptions of the Nandi Bear are of a ferocious, powerfully built carnivore with high front shoulders (over four feet tall) and a sloping back; somewhat similar to a hyena. Some have speculated that Nandi Bears are in fact misidentified hyenas (or an unrecognized hyena subspecies).
Other than the extinct Atlas Bear, no bears are known to be native to Africa, besides those of the prehistoric genera Agriotherium and Indarctos, which died out 4.4 million years ago. Karl Shuker states that a surviving short-faced hyaena Pachycrocuta brevirostris would "explain these cases very satisfactorily." Louis Leakey suggested that Nandi Bear descriptions matched that of the extinct Chalicotherium, though chalicotheres were herbivores.
The Nandi people call it Kerit. Local legend holds that it only eats the brain of its victims. Nandi Bears were regularly reported in Kenya throughout the 19th century and early 20th century. Bernard Heuvelmans's On the Track of Unknown Animals and Karl Shuker's In Search of Prehistoric Survivors provide the most extensive chronicles of Nandi bear sightings in print.