There are certain unwritten rules that must be followed by those who attempt to find or accidentally discover sea monsters in places other than Loch Ness. First, the weather must be overcast and dreary so that any photographs taken look washed-out and black-and-whitish – like the famous photo of Nessie. Second, the monster must be far enough away so that the photographs are grainy when magnified. Third, the monster must be in a body of water or area which can be used to give it a name that’s a variation of Loch Ness Monster.
Ding-ding-ding! We have a winner!
The Leicester Mercury reports that a dog walker strolling with their canine saw the water churning in Charnwood Water, a lake in Loughborough, a town in the Charnwood borough of Leicestershire in the English Midlands. The churning was caused by a duck that appeared to be struggling to free itself from something. Fortunately, the unnamed dog walker managed to pull out a phone and take a suitably blurred-and-dreary photograph of the underwater beast that eventually ate the duck.
“The duck was pulled under the water by something very large at least four feet long from what I could see of it, and snake like, Any idea what this is?”
Four feet long? Fortunately, there’s no unwritten rule that the sea creature must be a minimum length to qualify as a “monster.” Four feet is actually quite large, especially if you’re a duck or a small dog, which had people with pooches panicking after seeing the photo on Facebook.
Giving this monster a name was easy – a lake in Loughborough would obviously have to be called the ‘Lough’ Ness Monster. That makes this an official non-Nessie monster. But what exactly is it?
The best guess is a large pike (Esox lucius). They’re long (up to 59 inches or 150 cm) with a narrow body that can be mistaken for a serpent or the neck of a Nessie-like sauropod, albeit a small one. They have big mouths with sharp backward-pointing teeth, are extremely aggressive and will eat just about anything – including each other. That should make dogs, dog walkers, dog swimmers and people in the Charnwood Water area with pet ducks extremely nervous.
Could the Lough Ness Monster be something other than a pike? That’s unlikely. A similar monster that washed ashore in 2015 at Hollingworth Lake near Rochdale (the Roch Ness Monster – see how easy this is?) turned out to be a pike. If it’s a baby Nessie, it’s a long way (over 450 miles/725 km) from Loch Ness and the trip would be by land since Charnwood Water is in the middle of the Midlands.
The only way to prove the Lough Ness Monster is a pike is to get a clear, close-up photo on a bright sunny day (negating two of the three rules) or catching it, which experienced anglers know is easier said than done, which is why there are many more pike stories than there are mounted pikes.
Until then, Loughborough dog walkers should follow the ‘caveat canis’ rule – let the beagle beware.