Mount Marzouan, once known as Mount Orobon, was described by Thevet in his Cosmographie. It is home to a small population of Arabs, and the waters of the sea there house a fish known as Orobon, for which the mountain was once named.
Not much is known of the orobon’s appearance. Thevet only states that it is nine to ten feet long, and is plated with armor like a brigandine, although its scales are not as tough as a crocodile’s hide. The depiction of the orobon provided gives it a humpbacked, rather feline appearance.
Orobon flesh is particularly foul-tasting, and Thevet believed that old camel meat and Livonian mastiff were preferable to the execrable orobon. Eating it also results in kidney and bladder stones. Despite that, the inahabitants of Mount Marzouan eat it anyway, treating their stones with a diuretic concoction of orobon fat, two handfuls of false gold dust, and cyclamen.
Paré takes the orobon from Thevet, but misspells its name as the phonetically-similar “orabou” and its locality as “Mount Mazouan”. Ever the embellisher, he also adds that it is extremely ferocious towards other fish.
The orobon may have been inspired by crocodiles, although Thevet makes a distinction between the two. Another possibility is a monitor lizard, like a similar creature encountered by Sir Andrew de Toulongeon and Pierre de Vaudrei in the desert of Palestine. It was a three-foot-long green lizardlike animal covered with sturgeon-like scales, having feet like the hands of a child, a head like a hare’s, and a long lizard’s tail. It made sounds like a cat, and was feared by the Arabs accompanying the knights. Naturally this affront to the natural order was promptly slain.
In Popular Culture
- Appears in the video game The Secret Saturdays: Beast of the 5th Sun. It appeared as a big green crocodile with a catfish head and has 4 tiny eyes. It also helps Zak to escape from A Bao A Qu and escape from the Underwater City. In the Nintendo version it's just a collectible cryptid for cryptopedia.
- It also appeared as an enemy in the MMORPG Final Fantasy XI, where its looks like a Giant Anglerfish with tiny 4 eyes. They reappear in Final Fantasy XIII, where they are instead a subspecies of Sahuagin, a breed of bipedal fishmen.