The number of undiscovered species on Earth is estimated to be in the millions, if not the billions. For all of the biodiversity that our planet has, there are still constantly new varieties of life being found from the rainforests to the ocean depths to even cities, and if cryptozoology is to be believed, proof for the existence of supposedly mythical entities lies waiting to be found. As I pointed out before in my last article on cryptids, there’s lots of supposed evidence for the most famous legendary beasties, but for every celebrated case like Mothman, there are a fistful of much more obscure and even weirder critters, like these:
Celtic mythology has produced some truly terrifying creatures, but some of the monsters from those tales that were meant to be scary now sort of come off as ridiculous. Case in point: The Dobhar Chu, literally “Water Dog,” which is a massive, flesh-eating otter alleged to inhabit the swift-flowing rivers of the British Isles. The monstrosity is sometimes referred to as more like a (still carnivorous) beaver and still other times like a half-wolf/half-fish creature, but it’s always thought to be dangerous. Also known as the avanc in Welsh, there have been Dobhar Chu sightings at least as recently as 2003, when the eyewitness said the beast had orange flippers and made a haunting cry. A grave in County Leitrim, Ireland has a headstone that, improbably enough, claims the grave occupant’s cause of death was Dobhar Chu.
Just about everyone knows about the jackalope hoax of the American Southwest – how cowboys used to trick gullible city slickers into thinking that a monster with the body of a jackrabbit and the antlers of an antelope lived in the desert through the cunning application of taxidermy. Well, that’s practically pedestrian compared to what the Germans came up with. The wolpertinger is like the jackalope in that supposed specimens have rabbit heads and antlers, and unlike it in that they also have pheasant wings and squirrel tails, along with pointy fangs and any number of other chimeric features. The wolpertinger also differs from the jackalope in that it’s usually alleged to be ferociously carnivorous, a la the Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It goes without saying that wolpertinger sightings, such as they are, are taken rather less seriously by cryptozoology than some other cryptids.
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