The Cryptid Zoo: Giant Salamanders in Cryptozoology

A reconstruction of a giant amphibian from the distant past, a creature similar to giant salamander cryptids. This screenshot is copyrighted by those who own the copyright to the documentary 'Walking with Monsters'.
Early explorers in California's Trinity Alps reported a weird creature in nearby swift-flowing mountain streams, rivers and lakes, including the New River and the Sacramento River. This was a giant salamander (the salamander is a type of amphibian that resembles a lizard). These giant salamanders were deep brown with sickly yellow spots, and captured specimens ranged in length from five to nine feet. The reports mostly died out after the 1920s and 1930s, and many cryptozoologists feel it likely that the giant salamander may have succummbed to the pressures of civilization and is now extinct. It was never recognized by science, so it remains a true cryptid.

It is not totally outside the range of reason for salamanders to grow that large. Today, the largest salamanders acknowledged by science live in Asia, in the exact same types of habitat as the cryptozoological American variety, and they can grow up to six feet in length. It is not out of the question that they might have once had some bigger American relatives.

Other giant salamanders are less famous than the Trinity Alps ones, but are more likely to still be among the living, since most of these have not been searched for as diligently and fruitlessly. One of these is the African mulilo, which some researchers believe is a legless salamander (or caecilian) six feet long. If it exists, it would be a foot longer than the largest known caecilian accepted by mainstream science today (Caecilia thompsoni of South America).

You can find out more about Giant Salamanders from the following sources:

Clark, Jerome and Coleman, Loren. Cryptozoology A-Z. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. Pages 93-95
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Newton, Michael. Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 2005. Pages 160, 177, 300, 305, 313, 315, 328, 330, 374, 404, 408, 433, 466

Shuker, Karl. The Beasts That Hide From Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals. New York: Paraview Press, 2003. Page 260

Wikipedia, The. Giant Salamander

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