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What Was This Giant “Monster” Seen Off Sanibel Island?

Off the southwestern coast of Florida, Sanibel Island is a beautiful locale with as much history as there is natural beauty to be found. In modern use since the early 1830s, occupation by Calusa Indians dates back to as much as 2400 years earlier. Today, 5200 acres of the island belong to the J.N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where everything from sea life to bobcats and coastal birds continue to thrive.

But perhaps the wildlife described above is not all that has continued to thrive around the island.

In October of last year, a couple in Florida claim they managed to film a “monster” while boating off the coast of Sanibel Island, and though startled by the strange, and very large creature, they managed to capture some rather exciting footage of it, whatever “it” may have been. Below is the footage as it appeared online:

What follows is the only commentary posted to their YouTube channel with the video:

“Excuse the language we use in the clip. We were scared! It’s either a massive Anaconda or a Sea Monster. What ever came out of that water scared the life out of my fiance and I. We were fishing on our boat in the shallow bay area of Sanibel Island, FL, on October 6th, 2013 when we saw what looked like a bus speeding through the water. At first we thought we were watching Manatee swimming which we see all the time but this animal was moving very fast and looked to be attacking something. All of a sudden, part of it’s body sprung out of the water and appeared to have something wrapped up. Then it was gone. We honestly don’t know what it was but it’s head resembled a sea otter and the body looked like a giant 20 plus foot snake. If a cement utility poll was laying down horizontally, that would be the width and length of this sea creature.” 

The description they give is indeed rather tantalizing. Perhaps one of the more striking elements, in addition to the large “creature” observed here is the woman’s reaction at 0:30 into the clip, just as the “money shot” occurs, and the thing–whatever it is–rolls out of the water for a moment. It seems that she is exhibiting real fear as this animal moves close to their boat, and that when they wrote, “excuse the language” and that “we were scared!”, they obviously meant it.

What was the creature? Again, if the description they gave was accurate, it tells us several things about this animal that we aren’t able to discern from the video alone, such as the serpent-like appearance, and the face that resembled that of a “sea otter.” For those with interest in reports of gigantic “sea serpents”, this creature certainly does bear resemblance to the kinds of serpentine creatures often reported in our oceans.

In an interesting side note for lovers of other varieties of “monsters”, fans of George A. Romero’s 1985 film Day of the Dead will be interested to know that parts of the movie were actually shot on location nearby in the city of Sanibel, where Romero had a home at the time.

Is it possible that there is a mystery beast lurking in the waters off the coast of Florida? While some feel that it is impossible for large animals like Bigfoot to exist in parts of America (despite a rich history of purported interactions, and even kidnappings involving the beast), marine biologists have noted that more than 750,000 different marine species may exist in our oceans, and furthermore, that minority of these, though still a significant number, could be large animals.

Have you observed any large or otherwise unfamiliar sea animals, particularly in the following localities?

  • Florida, southern coast
  • South Atlantic, West African Coast, South Africa

If so, please use this email to share your reports, as we would like to hear about them.

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  • Larger anacondas can be 20+ feet long, wrap their prey, and are basically shaped like cement utility poles, but their heads definitely do not those of sea otters and the bit of the creature we saw in the video does not look, to me, like any known species of anaconda.

  • jamesrav

    looks more like a small whale – maybe a false killer whale (black, narrow body, about 20 feet long). Right at 30 seconds you can see a black spot on the body, could be a blow-hole.

  • TheObjectReporter

    Good catch Crypto, I thought exactly the same thing. There’s a distinct possibility it could be part of a surviving colony of Caribbean Monk Seals (Monachus tropicalis) which was a theory presented on that episode of MonsterQuest.

  • TheObjectReporter

    Totally agreed. However, it IS worthwhile to note that the green Anaconada -is- in Florida now as an invasive species, along with the Burmese Python…

  • Clonquehopper

    I rather think it might be two male manatees fighting or chasing each other. A pilot whale would not be alone, and the witnesses would have seen a fin at the very least. It’s certainly not an oarfish, and it is much too large for a monk seal, of which I have seen several in my life. I have witnessed manatees swim at very high speeds sometimes, and that huge boil of mud can only have been created by a huge spatula of a horizontal tail.

  • If we were going just by the video I’d completely agree with you, but three things make me skeptical:

    (1) Oarfish don’t entangle their prey,
    (2) Oarfish don’t have to surface in order to breathe, and
    (3) The oarfish’s head looks about as much like a sea otter’s as mine does.

    That said, I don’t think the shallow estuarial bay location is necessarily a dealbreaker. As your link points out, they’ve been increasingly spotted in shallow water.

  • John Carter

    U saw a manatee.. Florida=manatee. It swims looks and is the size of one..

  • starvingartstudent

    Can you say, “Sea Cow”!?!!


    I can say, “Ditzy Broad”.

  • twas brillig


  • karmakazi

    people get spooked, act funny

  • disqususername1234

    Patricia, we have just the video and could not properly see the thing, but we believe we have seen the same in North Naples. It swam about 20 feet from us, who were in water about 20 feet from the shore. it moved fast and smooth, it was round, smooth black, no fins – like a giant snake. At first instance it looked like a giant twisted log appeared, then we realized it was moving and we got out of the water with all of our kids. Others on the beach saw the same thing. some said pilot whales, but we saw no fins at all. We saw it appear from water again, just the back – looked like a log.

    Did you receive any more info on this in the meantime? I would be interested to know. Thank you.

  • Christina McClain