Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band – An Unknown Species of Reptile?

Posted by: Karl Shuker on January 6th, 2014

According to a number of Sherlockian scholars, today, 6 January, is Sherlock Holmes’s birthday – so it seemed a very appropriate day upon which to present the following ShukerNature investigation concerning one of Holmes’s most deadly, non-human opponents – the Speckled Band.
Indian swamp added aka The Speckled Band, Tim Morris
(c) Tim Morris
During his numerous cases, the famous if fictitious consulting detective Sherlock Holmes, created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, encountered a number of extraordinary creatures – the hound of the Baskervilles, the giant rat of Sumatra (click here for my ShukerNature article re this monstrous rodent), an unknown species of worm that sent its observer insane, and an exceptionally venomous, enigmatic serpent known as the Indian swamp adder but referred to obliquely by one of its victims as the speckled band. Yet does the latter snake truly exist, and, if so, what is it?
Further details can be found here on my ShukerNature blog.

Karl Shuker About Karl Shuker
My name is Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. I am a zoologist (BSc & PhD), media consultant, and the author of 25 books and hundreds of articles, specialising in cryptozoology and animal mythology. I have a BSc (Honours) degree in pure zoology from the University of Leeds (U.K.), and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). I have acted jointly as consultant and major contributor to three multi-author volumes on cryptozoology and other mysterious phenomena. I am the Life Sciences Consultant to The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (Guinness: London, 1997-present day), and was consultant to Monsters (Lorenz Books: London, 2001), as well as a contributor to Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998), Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999), The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000), and Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: London, 2007). I appear regularly on television & radio, was a consultant for the Discovery TV series Into the Unknown, and a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind. I am a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, and the Cryptozoology Consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ). I have written articles for numerous publications, including Fortean Times, The X Factor, Paranormal Magazine, FATE, Strange Magazine, Prediction, Beyond, Uri Geller's Encounters, Phenomena, Alien Encounters, Wild About Animals, All About Cats, All About Dogs, Cat World, etc. In 2005, I was honoured by the naming of a new species of loriciferan invertebrate after me - Pliciloricus shukeri.

One Response to “Sherlock Holmes and the Speckled Band – An Unknown Species of Reptile?”

  1. Goodfoot responds:

    Or might it be a bluegrass outfit?

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