Canadian Gators? More Likely Giant Black Salamanders

Posted by: John Kirk on May 3rd, 2007

I wrote of Barrie Alden here on Cryptomundo some months ago.

See: It Lurks in the Depths of Pitt Lake

Barrie is in the news again as an elusive British Columbia Cryptid has made the headlines again:

Poof! Mysterious B.C. gator-like creature vanishes

VANCOUVER – Was it a prehistoric lizard on the brink of extinction, or an ordinary hoax?

No one’s sure, but a small alligator spotted in a ravine at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., has mysteriously vanished.

“It’s become a wild goose chase,” said Paul Springate, the animal shelter curator who was tracking the renegade reptile.

“I don’t want to call it a hoax, so maybe the better term is ‘mistake.’ Some security guards saw it splashing in the water, but we think it may have just been beavers.”

But Barrie Alden, former director of the B.C. Wildlife Federation in the Lower Mainland, said the alligator may be a creature he’s been tracking since the 1970s.

“This is still in the realm of the sasquatch, but the ancient stories and my research confirm it,” the ardent amateur cryptozoologist said.

“These reptiles – small alligators or large salamanders – keep appearing …Mark my words, one of these days, someone’s going to discover a new species and it will explain everything.”

But whatever it was, the mysterious creature is most likely dead now, Springate said.

Traps set last week were untouched, and there were no further sightings in a week of slogging and splashing through the ravine.

Vancouver ProvinceCanWest News Service

The earliest recollection of alligators can be found in Charles Flood’s writings. In 1915, Flood, Donald MacRae and Green Hicks saw what they described as black alligators in the Holy Cross mountains of British Columbia.

We do not have alligators or crocodiles in BC, but we are said to have a species of black salamander here which is far larger than any known species. Our sporadically seen amphibian is 6 to ten feet long and has been seen in a variety of lakes, most recently as 2004.

As for prehistoric lizards, Warren Scott is supposed to have captured three horned lizards in the 1970s somewhere near Pitt Lake. These were allagedly of an unknown species, but Scott has made some unsubstantiated outlandish claims about discovering a lost valley with hot springs, lush vegetation and plants north of Pitt Lake which no one has ever reported before. He also claimed to have been kidnapped by sasquatches a la Albert Ostman, so his credibility is somewhat lacking.

We do have a horned lizard in BC called the Pigmy Short-horned Lizard or Phrynosoma douglasi douglasi but sightings are rare and the last one was seen in Osoyoos in 1998 some 250 miles from Pitt Lake. None of our other lizards could be remotely described as horned.

Trinity Western University is notthat far away from Cultus Lake in Chilliwack where cryptid black salamanders are said to dwell. Could one of the Cultus Lake brood have made it as far as Langley? Perhaps.

It seems the Trinity Western subject has managed to get away to swim another day, but I agree with Barrie that one of these days we will get a specimen that will put an end to the mystery of this cryptid and perhaps the giant salamanders of the Trinity Alps in California which is directly south along the Cascade Mountains from here.

If you have seen any cryptid in British Columbia report it to the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club at

John Kirk About John Kirk
One of the founders of the BCSCC, John Kirk has enjoyed a varied and exciting career path. Both a print and broadcast journalist, John Kirk has in recent years been at the forefront of much of the BCSCC’s expeditions, investigations and publishing. John has been particularly interested in the phenomenon of unknown aquatic cryptids around the world and is the author of In the Domain of the Lake Monsters (Key Porter Books, 1998). In addition to his interest in freshwater cryptids, John has been keenly interested in investigating the possible existence of sasquatch and other bipedal hominids of the world, and in particular, the Yeren of China. John is also chairman of the Crypto Safari organization, which specializes in sending teams of investigators to remote parts of the world to search for animals as yet unidentified by science. John travelled with a Crypto Safari team to Cameroon and northern Republic of Congo to interview witnesses among the Baka pygmies and Bantu bushmen who have sighted a large unknown animal that bears more than a superficial resemblance to a dinosaur. Since 1996, John Kirk has been editor and publisher of the BCSCC Quarterly which is the flagship publication of the BCSCC. In demand at conferences, seminars, lectures and on television and radio programs, John has spoken all over North America and has appeared in programs on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, TLC, Discovery, CBC, CTV and the BBC. In his personal life John spends much time studying the histories of Scottish Clans and is himself the president of the Clan Kirk Society. John is also an avid soccer enthusiast and player.

7 Responses to “Canadian Gators? More Likely Giant Black Salamanders”

  1. Loren Coleman responds:

    I’ve done a further analysis of John’s above blog in my posting, The Name Game: The Trinities.

  2. shumway10973 responds:

    10 foot salamander! Now that’s probably the largest amphibian, right? Would they take the niche in the food chain that the alligators and crocs have, or are they just eating a ton of bugs? This could be the making of a movie, “Salamander vs. Lake Placid’s crocodiles”.

  3. mystery_man responds:

    “This is still in the realm of the sasquatch, but the ancient stories and my research confirm it,” the ardent amateur cryptozoologist said.

    Uhhh..Ok. So this means the sasquatch is confirmed? 🙂 I think the giant salamander theory is a good one as there are very large slamanders living in Japan and China. The Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) can reach a length of 5 feet long and weigh 55 pounds. That is large enough to be mistaken for being 6 or 7 feet and who is to say another species or subspecies couldn’t reach greater sizes, or that even one of this species couldn’t have the potential to reach that size? i think it is very plausible that there could be a species of giant salamander living in the region. Also, these have been seen in Britich Columbia, which I imagine has very cold streams. This is ideal habitat for something like this. The Japanese giant salamander for example prefers cold, fast moving streams. I think the temperature would favor a large salamander over the crocodile, which would not do well in a cold water environment.

  4. Bob Michaels responds:

    Mystery man has it right, let`s hope it can be proven to exist in B.C. and is a new species an example of parallel evolution.

  5. mystery_man responds:

    Shumway10973- To answer your questions, yes that size (6 to 10 feet) would make them the largest salamander, but I don’t believe it to be a completely far fetched idea that a species of giant salamander could get that big. Also, I highly doubt this species would fill the niche of alligators or crocodiles. The other known giant slamanders I mentioned will eat anything they can, but this consists mostly of small prey like fish, worms, frogs, and crustaceans. They are sluggish, harmless, and would not be taking down large prey like deer or anything like that. One reason the people looking for them may not be having any luck is that perhaps they were searching during very cold times of the year. In Japan, while the giant slamander prefers cold streams, it will lurk at the bottom and become very lethargic during colder months due to the fact that it is a cold blooded creature. The ones looking for this creature will likely have more luck with baits, traps, and other search methods if they conduct these methods during warmer months when the water isn’t quite as cold.

  6. Rillo777 responds:

    Could also be an example of parallel creation!

    But I think mystery_man is right. No reason that such creatures of similar type couldn’t live in that enviroment.

  7. Torin Steel Devlin responds:

    I’m sure both the Japanese, and Chinese herpetologists have methods of finding and capturing their giant salamanders. Why not just do what they do? I do find it odd though that nobody has found juveniles. They should be all over. A species that large would lay quite a few eggs, and the hatchlings would have to find places where they could survive. They would probably be in the lake shallows among plants, or in small streams and ponds connected to the lake. Some would also mature in these streams and ponds at least to some degree. Then again maybe they have an unusual life cycle, or are just so rare that nobody even finds a small one in a stream.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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