In Teen Wolf Season 2, a new creature called a Kanima appears, which is a part of the major plot line. My question is, is this Kanima creature all made up for the Teen wolf series, or is it inspired by any existing fictional work or historical story?
According to this interview with Teen Wolf creator Jeff Davis, the Kanima is, at least loosely, based on South American mythology. He says the original Kanima was a "were-jaguar" (that is, half-man, half-jaguar; named in analogy with "werewolf"). The Wikipedia article on the were-jaguar suggests that it may have been inspired by a venomous toad thought to resemble a jaguar. However, the Teen Wolf version is more like a reptile. Davis says
I ... saw CONAN THE BARBARIAN. And one indelible image that was left in my mind was the scene where James Earl Jones starts to transform into a gigantic snake. That look stuck with me and that’s what we went for
So the name may come from South American mythology, but the appearance has a more modern origin.
In the belief system of the Carib tribes, Kanaima is an evil spirit that possesses people and causes them to turn into deadly animals and/or go into a murderous rage. Assassins, or Carib people seeking revenge for a slain relative, sometimes invited the Kanaima spirit into themselves by taking certain drugs or conducting certain magic rituals