May 3, 2007

Canadian Gators? More Likely Giant Black Salamanders

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.

Filed under Cryptid Universe, Cryptotourism, Cryptozoologists, Cryptozoology, Evidence, Eyewitness Accounts, Folklore, Lake Monsters, Out of Place, Sasquatch, Sea Serpents