Legless In Nepal – A Limbless Himalayan Crocodile Dragon?

Posted by: Karl Shuker on August 25th, 2013

Mirabilis front cover

As comprehensively documented in my latest book, Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), crocodilian mystery beasts come in all shapes and sizes and are of worldwide distribution. Yet few, surely, can be stranger than the giant limbless version reported from southern Asia as recently as 1980.

Nepal Dragon, William Rebsamen

That was when Reverend Resham Poudal, an Indian missionary, was leading an entourage through a Himalayan jungle valley in Nepal. They came upon what seemed at first sight to be an enormous log, greenish-brown in colour, lying on the ground across their planned path – and then the ‘log’ moved! To the great alarm of everyone present, it proved to be a huge limbless reptile with enormous crocodilian jaws, yet whose scaly serpentine form blended in so well with the surrounding vegetation that when stationary, it did indeed look exactly like a log or fallen tree trunk.

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.

5 Responses to “Legless In Nepal – A Limbless Himalayan Crocodile Dragon?”

  1. Goodfoot responds:

    I find myself dubious of the prospect that a legless ANYTHING of that size and weight could get about on land.

  2. Kopite responds:

    Interesting story but I’m also dubious.

  3. DWA responds:

    …and….ONE report…?

    OK, locals appear to talk about this. But how many actual sightings have there been?

    Hard for me to say that the scientific community should be getting excited about one report. But one might expect organizations conducting biological surveys to stress to field researchers to report EVERYTHING they see.

    One question always accompanies anything like this: How many scientists have seen one, and said nothing for fear of consequences?

  4. AreWeThereYeti responds:

    I suspect they came across a large gharial and simply overestimated its size. They have been documented to reach 20ft in length, have a long, gracile, body structure and, although “Himalayan jungle valley in Nepal” is kinda vague, gharials are native to the area.

    As far as the ‘limbless’ condition of the creature is concerned? Whether lost to snares, territorial fights with other crocs or to juvenile near-misses as meals, otherwise healthy, adult, crocodilians are commonly found lacking portions-of, or even entire, limbs. Being largely aquatic in nature they seem to do quite well without them! Then again, the witnesses may have failed to notice the animals small limbs as they were either: tucked under the animal; or obscured by forest-floor growth.

    All in all, it doesn’t sound like much of a mystery; and simplest explanations are usually the best…

  5. Karl Shuker responds:

    I agree that it does sound very implausible – but not impossible. As noted in my blog post, it allegedly doesn’t move about much at all, preferring to remain stationary and wait for its prey to approach, so its weight wouldn’t pose problems re locomotion. A gharial is an interesting identity, but its very slender jaws are adapted for catching fish, not buffalos, and its colouration certainly would not enable it to blend in with the vegetation like a log. As for sightings, Bill Gibbons told me that there were indeed others but this is the only one re which he provided me with details.

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