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Nessie: A Giant Salamander?

Reports of lake monsters absolutely abound across the entire planet. Amongst the most famous ones are Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster, Ogopogo of Lake Okanagan, and Champ of Lake Champlain. The big question is: if the “things” are real, then what, exactly, are they? On the matter of the Loch Ness Monster, creature-seekers have suggested they may be relic populations of plesiosaurs, marine reptiles that are believed to have become extinct tens of millions of years ago. Other theorists suggest the creatures might be immense eels. Sturgeon have been suggested for some reports. And there is also the supernatural scenario.

There is, however, yet another angle, too: the idea that the beasts of Loch Ness are salamanders, albeit of a very (very) large size. Salamanders are amphibians that are noted for their long tails, blunt heads, and short limbs and which – in the case of the Chinese giant salamander – can reach lengths of six feet.

But, here’s the important question: is it possible that some salamanders could grow much larger, even to the extent of fifteen to twenty-five feet? Controversial? Well, yes, of course it is. Implausible? Some would say maybe not. Steve Plambeck is someone who has done an incredible amount of work on the giant salamander theory, in relation to the specific matter of the Loch Ness Monster. He says:

“Nessie is a bottom dwelling, water breathing animal that spends very little time on the surface or in mid-water, although just enough to be spotted visually or by sonar on very rare occasions. Its forays up from the depths are most likely made along the sides of the Loch, to feed on the fish which are predominantly found along the sides.” Plambeck also notes that, “Such behavior is only consistent with a fish, or aquatic amphibian.”

It’s a theory also commented upon by researcher Erika. In doing so, she makes a very notable and thought-provoking reference to the Chinese salamander, observing that it “spends most of its time lying at the bottom, waiting for prey to swim past. It strikes quickly and then retreats. This is not an active animal, and it’s entirely possible they could live in a lake as big as Loch Ness without ever being seen at the surface.”

Roland Watson's The Water Horses of Loch Ness

Roland Watson’s The Water Horses of Loch Ness

Roland Watson is the author of The Water Horses of Loch Ness, a book on the Nessies that makes for excellent reading. Roland, too, has waded into this controversy of a Loch Ness salamander:

“Before long neck stories began to dominate peoples’ thinking, some held to the view that Nessie was some form of outsized amphibian and in particular the salamander. I am a bit partial to a fish-like amphibian or amphibian-like fish theory myself, so we are in agreement to some degree there. An amphibian has its issues just like any other Nessie theory but I am sure it can hold its own in the Nessie pantheon.”

Seekers of unknown animals, in the deep waters of Loch Ness, might be disappointed by the possibility that some of our most famous lake-monsters could merely be salamanders and nothing else (giant-sized or otherwise). After all, the plesiosaur theory is one that the media loves to discuss, that is a staple part of numerous books, and which has more than a few followers. Belief-systems (in any aspect of the world of the unknown) are, for many, hard to let go of.

But – and here’s the important thing – if actually confronted, at close quarters, by such a creature – possibly one of twenty-to-twenty-five-feet in length – very few would people probably quibble with the notion that such a thing should be classified as a monster!

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Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.
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