My Top 5 Favorite Unexplained Animals

Just as society has held up a belief of aliens, ghosts and the like, we as a people love the idea of crazy animals.  There's an entire study, called Cryptozoology, that is devoted to the study and development of concepts around "hidden" animals.  I love the idea- a whole devotion of science that spends time on animals that lack physical evidence to their existence, but they exist over time or through mythology.  Now, I am certain that you have heard famous tales of the sasquatch, the loch ness monster or the Chupacabra- but there are mountains of stories about potentially "hidden" animals.  Here are my Top 5 Favorite Unexplained Animals!

The Kraken

Once a mighty beast of the seas, this animals myth has now been downgraded to that of a giant squid.  I personally would like to think that the Kraken may have been a giant squid, but it was seriously the most giant squid that ever existed. He probably lived for a thousand years before his water was too polluted and his heart just couldn't handle any more terrorism.

Pierre Dénys de Montfort, 1801

Below the thunders of the upper deep;

Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,

His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep

The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee

About his shadowy sides; above him swell

Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;

And far away into the sickly light,

From many a wondrous grot and secret cell

Unnumber'd and enormous polypi

Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.

There hath he lain for ages, and will lie

Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,

Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;

Then once by man and angels to be seen,

In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

-Alfred Tennyson

An illustration from the original 1870 edition of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by author Jules Verne


I have to admit, I really love this monster because his name is fun to say.  Ogopogo. Go ahead.  Say it out loud.  Say it fast, say it slow, say it 10 times fast.  It's fun.  He's a cryptid lake monster that lives in Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia, Canada.  Despite the fact that most of the physical evidence (ie photographs and videotapes) have been debunked as being floating logs, this mythical creature has been living there since 1860.

The Hodag

A known and admitted hoax, this animal has an amusing story behind it.  A man named Eugene Shepherd was apparently bored one day in 1893, and created an animal that was described as "the fiercest, strangest, most frightening monster ever to set razor sharp claws on the earth. It became extinct after its main food source, all white bulldogs, became scarce in the area."  Three years later, he claimed to have a live specimen (as the first one he captured they burnt badly), and when spectators came from far and wide, he had to explain to them it was a hoax.  None of this is really the reason I love this story.  The best part about it, is that even today, the Hodag is the symbol of Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  They have a large statue in town, a festival in its honor every year and it is the mascot of their high school.  It's even been in video games, television shows and books.  Just goes to show you that a short and simple, ADMITTED hoax, can become a beloved icon for more than 100 years to come!


Garou, Lycanthrope, or Werewolf... No matter what you want to call it, it has been scaring small children and fragile adults for centuries.  Perhaps someone ran into a larger than normal wolf or an angrier than normal human.  Perhaps it was governmental experimentation.  Either way, we've got the wicked impression (with the exception of wolverine) that we're all very lucky that they don't actually exist.  Unless you're a nerd, and then you'll love playing a Garou in White Wolf's "Werewolf" role playing game.


Mokele-Mbembe (which is a mouthful) is loosely translated to  "one who stops the flow of rivers", and its legend has been around since the 1700's.  It is reportedly omnivorous, and likes living in the deep areas of river beds.  Despite its longevity, there is no physical proof, either disputed or otherwise.  Legend or not, a dinosaur in my river?  That's cool.