New Nahuelito Mystery Photo

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 17th, 2009

A new image of the head and neck of an alleged Lake Monster of Argentina is worthy of a viewing here. What could it be?

A Spanish language (Infobae) item on the Nahuelito image was published late last year, accompanying the above photograph. My translation of the text, more or less, via robot and common sense, reads:

It is “Nahuelito”?

A man sent this photograph to a newspaper of Bariloche and planted a new seed of doubt about the existence of this mythical animal. This time, the image was captured in Mascardi Lake.

The image published in the Matutinal Rionegrino the Cordillerano shows an animal similar to a serpent that shows itself on the surface of the water.

“I thought that they were huillines [river otters], when I saw it diving under the water, but when she showed [again] I was surprised. It looked little like any other animal that I had seen before, and I was scared by its presence when it appeared,” related the reader who sent the photography to the newspaper.

For the aware, this could be a test of the existence of the “Nahuelito.”

But for the skeptical ones, it is only a trunk floating in the water.

The history of “Nahuelito”:

It is an unknown aquatic creature, who, according to the popular belief, lives in Nahuel Huapi Lake in Argentina.

The legend goes back to indigenous stories and the first registered sighting dates back to 1910, when George Garret recorded he saw “about 400 meters distance away a creature whose visible part measured between 5 and 7 meters in length and excelled about two meters out of the water.”

In 1897, the credible Dr. Onelli, director of the Zoological Park of Buenos Aires, began to receive sporadic information about a strange creature that inhabited the Lagos patagónicos and organized an expedition in search of it. The search did not obtain any positive results.

More recently, in 1960, the Argentina Navy encountered in the lake an unidentified submarine object for 18 days, without being able to identify it.

The most popular hypothesis is that the prehistoric monster, “Nahuelito,” is a survivor of the time of the dinosaurs, probably a “plesiosaur.”

Please see my and Patrick Huyghe’s lake monster field guide, on pages 119-121 and 294-295, for more on the history of the sightings of Nahuelito.

The question remains, what does the above photograph show? A turtle does not have teeth, right? Is it a swimming lizard? An otter? Yes, an otter? A log with painted eyes and teeth? Some other kind of fake? What could it be?

The two photographs of Nahuelito, allegedly taken on April 15, 2006, are below:



Tip of the hat to Above Top Secret for bringing this 2008 image to our attention. For more on the origins of the 2006 photos, see here and here.


Photo image added. It is explained in comment #25, below:

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

47 Responses to “New Nahuelito Mystery Photo”

  1. Viergacht responds:

    Look like an ugly rubber monitor lizard. I’d say it was a monitor, except the eyes look a bit wacky. Is anyone shooting a movie in the vicinity, I wonder?

  2. Tabitca responds:

    It looks like a conger eel with constipation…don’t you just love lake monster photos?

  3. MattBille responds:

    If it’s living, it looks kind of turtle-ish. Maybe a much smaller (normal) turtle shot in closeup?
    Except for the presence of the eye, I would have said “floating tree branch.”
    It could be a hoax made by physically doctoring up a log or by photoshopping an eye onto an interesting-looking log.
    With one still photo and no context information, I can’t get very excited about it.

  4. Tabitca responds:

    The top photo looks like a dead wolf eel being pulled on a fishing line, the bottom one like an Indian Pike eel. Not sure of the latin names but I am sure one of the people who reads this will know.
    I still think the top photo looks like its pulling a face….a constipated dead eel ? Lol

  5. nst4real responds:

    At this link there is a clip about a monitor lizard from an angle similar to picture 1.

  6. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    WOW people, you all should at least be a lil excited for this pic lol. it could be that cryptid…

    always one way to find out is to wait.

    as of now, let’s be happy, we have them picture.

    but yes, it looks eel to me… lol

    i can see turtle…..but i can not see a moniter lizard…

  7. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    woah okay now, i saw that clip someone, and the snout on this pic is shorter than the snout on that pet monitor lizard snout, and this one is more blackish, and bizarre looking, but one thing for sure this pic and the monitor lizard clip, have one thing in common, the way they appear over the water, the ear seems to be not over the surface, but underneath the water.

  8. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    another thing is, that if this turns out to be a hoax or known animal. one thing for sure is that we have the other pics, that is claimed to be that cryptid to be our only evidence, and that evidence my be the evidence ever…..

  9. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    The eyes aren’t like a monitor lizard the pupils are different and I couldn’t find any images of a turtle with similar pupils either. Same goes for eels (mind you I just did quick searches though). However crocodile eyes are very similar and so are cat eyes.

    Something about it just seems a bit off, I can’t put my finger on it though. If this real I know what lake I won’t swim in if I’m in Argentina 😉

  10. nzcryptozoologist responds:

    juding from the scale of the water around it, its not very big. There is nothing for a size comparison, but if im not mistaken the water looks like it is fairly shallow and those are wavelets, not waves.

    Tony Lucas
    NZ Cryptozoologist

  11. scottc responds:

    To my eye, there is something slightly cartoonish about the image. There is a technique in the field of comics/illustration that is used when designing a character, called “finding the front porch”. What you try to do is look for the “front porch” features of the figure. That is to say, the features that tell you the figure is a “goofy” man, a “sexy” woman, a “mean” kid (or, uh…a Lil’ Bigfoot). Anyway, there is something about the image that triggers a front porch response in me, signaling “sea monster”. Certain features seem to have been selected — highlighted — to trigger that reading of the image; the teeth, in particular. And, of course, one must always be cautious of stories that start with, “A man sent this photograph to a newspaper….”

  12. Lightning Orb responds:

    My guess would be log. The teeth look like they’re supposed to be extending out the mouth weirdly, but looking closely it resembles more of a black and white striped object stuck in the mouth/bark – could be a small piece of cloth or even a dead caterpillar. The eye seems to be pointed down too oddly; guessing fake pupil on a wood knot. Not saying there is no Nahuelito, but if there is I highly doubt this is it

  13. wayne_cramp responds:

    It looks like Gamera….


  14. sundevit responds:

    rather simply photoshop job. the ridiculous eyes give it away. these are b-movie monster prototype eyes, that only someone with little or no idea about biology would come up with. even if that creature had cat-like eyes like that they wouldn’t be perfectly shining yellow when at the same time the sunlight hits the creature from the top, leaving the sides of the head in shadow. the eyes would be way darker. the teeth look suspicious to me as well. so no, i don’t buy this at all …

  15. odioustrident responds:

    Rubber suits or props, designed by professional or semi-professional special effects studios, look exactly like this. The design is definitely Asian inspired, representing unmistakable trends in how many film monsters have been portrayed recently. The latest Gamera films, like another user mentioned, are good examples of this style.

  16. Wiseman responds:

    There is something odd… where the heck is the rest of the body? Let me explain, when you look at the picture and you follow the neck into the water, it stops very abruptly. And there’s no shadow in the water to support the idea of a body prolonging the neck.

  17. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    you know what, it does look log. 😉

    the eyes seem cartoon. and the teeth triggers real.. but?????

  18. Coot688 responds:

    Interesting photo. I love lake and sea creatures. If the photograph is fake, could it really a picture of a dolphin that’s been touched up? The nose of the creature sort of looks like a dolphin’s head.

  19. maslo63 responds:

    Looks like something from the 1961 movie “Reptilicus”, obviously a fake. The last two photographs also appear fake to me.

  20. A. L. Hinton responds:

    I have one or two in my freezer… press conference Tuesday in DC… Should be quite a party there. On the serious side, looks like a floating log, either painted or photo-shopped.

  21. sasquatch responds:

    Could be a log, BUT it could be real…What other close up IN FOCUS shots of this creature do we have? The neck looks sinewy like an eels- check out pics of morays for example..and the teeth remind me of dimetrodons teeth.
    I DO see a shadow or darkness in the water as it extends down to the left side of frame.
    The size looks substantial to me; like possibly a foot or more long from nose to ear area.
    It kinda looks Gamaraish to me too, but remember those film monsters are based somewhat on real animal observations, so you never know,,,
    The bottom pictures could easily translate to this newer picture as the lower neck area looks fleshy under the jaw before thiinning out into the body.
    The eye does look a little suspicious, But it is alligator-ish and that amber crackly look can reflect light funny.
    I’d say; Log 50%, other fakery 30%, real 20%.

  22. Alligator responds:

    I looked at this and thought, “dang this creature looks familiar” then a couple of folks mentioned Gamera…bingo! Having had 40+ years experience with reptiles, this looks like a log with painted or photo shopped teeth and eyes. They do look rather cartoonish on the image and don’t match with the shadows. The eyes are too yellow and the teeth too white…as one poster said “front porch.” Also in this bright of sunlight, the pupil in the eye would be a nearly indiscernible slit, even on he shadow side. The underwater shadow isn’t deep because the water isn’t deep. Those are wavelets.

    I’d dearly love there to be some relatively large unknown lake cryptids out there, especially if they were reptilian. I’ve hoped for the “smoking gun” proof since I was ten years old. But its going to take some better photographs accompanied with good eyewitness descriptions of the sighting before I will buy it. In a word CONTEXT has to be a vital part of establishing the validity of a photograph. We’ve all seen the many pranksters and hoaxers out there. The improved resources available for fakery and the temptation to get 5 minutes of fame on the Internet and 24/7 news outlets should make the crypto community ever wary and more demanding for high quality evidence.

    BTW, the bottom images look like one of the cheap imported rubber snakes that you can get at a novelty shop.

  23. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    i just checked out a Gamera.. if it is.. then wow, a movie based on a real animal.. but this can be a baby or if this is really far away, than that creature is gigantic.

  24. butchseattle responds:

    sure looks like an eye and teeth superimposed on lizardy log to me

  25. TheBlessedBlogger responds:

    It’s an interesting picture but I’m about 95% sure it’s a photomanipulation or as the kids would say ‘shopped!’. I’m a graphic artist and photo retoucher and as soon as I saw this thing I knew it was altered. If you look at it in Photoshop you can see that the waves don’t line up, there are obvious lines where it’s been altered, obvious places where it’s been smoothed/blurred, obvious darkening and lightening of key areas. My best guess is that this was a close up shot of a small log or a turtle sticking it’s head out of the water that was cut out, altered and placed in the middle of a larger picture of the lake to make the ‘creature’ seem larger.

    I uploaded a picture where I point out a couple of the lines where the photo was cut out and moved to another pic of the lake as well as my version of the ‘monster’ and my modification turning it back into a log (these mods took me all of two minutes and aren’t meant to be realistic or pretty but to show how easy it is to manipulate this kind of thing). You can see it here.

  26. Fwooper responds:

    When I first saw it I thought it looked a little bit like a drunk mosasaur; but monitor lizards would also be prime suspects, but if it were a turtle wouldn’t we see any shell?

  27. Dave L. responds:

    My artistic and “movie geek” eye spots a fake. I see a log with some photoshopped Jurassic Park dino features added. Examples…

  28. cryptidsrus responds:

    I tend to agree with some here that it looks like a log, but one never knows. The second set of photographs are more interesting to me.
    Whatever it is, whether fake or real, it does give one something to talk about.

  29. richcap responds:

    Sadly, it certainly look fake.
    I think it ends there.

  30. sasquatch responds:

    I don’t think so.
    We don’t know the original format….It could be a color photo copy with scan lines.
    I’m just not impressed with the manipulated versions.
    First of all what would be the reason for making the lake look one or two feet bigger?
    I’m not saying it’s not a log or something but I’m also not convinced by this geekery.

  31. kolobe responds:

    Head is similar to a monitore, but the teeth, first time Ive seen a monitore with teeth like that. They do have fearsome teeth but protruding like that?

  32. kolobe responds:

    Some nice close up shots of African monitors

  33. Averagefoot responds:

    My first reaction was “uhhhhh…. a log?” then it came into focus and I saw the eyes and teeth…. “uhhhh… a log with shopped eyes and teeth?” Then I saw Gamera, as somone posted way back. So I did an extensive search of Gamera, Godzilla, Ultraman and all other realated Kaiju monsters and found nothing that exactly looks like this on google pictures.

    My other thoughts are it could be a dead eel/lizard/snake on a fish hook, the eyes and teeth being either shopped or taxedermied.

    The last thought that came to mind was…. “Hey, if this thing has gone on unnoticed until now then wouldn’t it make sense that it could easily pass as a log or a rock?”

    I Agree that the eyes look a little corny but I think one could argue that they aren’t glowing. I got the idea that they were just really yellow eyes. I don’t see that they’re glowing in any way that defies the shadows in the pic.

    Anyways, I’m thinking there is about a 10% chance this is real.

  34. cromcrom responds:

    Otter with mange

  35. Greatwolf responds:

    I have no idea what to think. Maybe an elaborate hoax? Or maybe a demonic eel. 🙂

  36. sasquatch responds:

    Yes, I think they are scan lines from some copying device…You can see a line very close to the top of the picture, AND one right through the creature/log right where
    “theBlessedbloggers” arrow in front of the critter points to the right.(follow to left through creature and back into water- it’s there all the way!
    Unless photoshop puts scan lines through stuff THIS IS NOT PHOTOSHOP RESIDUE….NOW, that is not to say that there wasn’t photo-shopping to create an eye or teeth etc.originally, but the lines all over this water and creature look like scan lines of some kind that were introduced through some process at a later time.
    REMEMBER the “bell object” in the Patterson film/frame blow ups? It turned out to be photocopy residue. Thanks for your time.

  37. bccryptid responds:

    Shades of Lake Van? This lake seems to have a long history of hoaxes. I like the photoshop work demonstrating it could easily have been a deadhead (log) picture somebody edited.

  38. TheBlessedBlogger responds:

    I’m posting a close-up with some notations on areas that are suspect to me. I’m not an expert in forensic photo analysis or reptiles, I’m basing my opinion on my knowledge as a photo-manipulation and graphic design artist.

    The eye and teeth look to perfect to me. The eye just looks artificial and most of the aquatic reptiles I’ve seen have had round or horizontal pupils. I’m not saying there are no reptiles with eyes like this; there obviously are, it just seems odd.

    The teeth are too white. I’ve never seen an animal that feeds on fish/krill/plankton etc have such naturally white teeth.

    There are multiple areas where skin texture is missing as if it was accidentally blurred out. There are multiple areas where the color/saturation/luminosity seem altered. There are multiple areas where the image appears to be smudged or warped.

    Is it a fake? I have no idea, but my educated guess is that it is.

  39. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    the more i look at the eye, the more i don’t see cartoon… i think is that the animal is unkown it may have unkown features.. 🙂 remember the day when biluminesence fish were discovered lol

  40. bauctrian1970 responds:

    Looks fake
    The thing that jumps out the most is how much light there is on the head. And yet there is not much of a shadow.

  41. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Brilliant detective work by Melissa a.k.a. TheBlessedBlogger. It definitely feels like someone used the photo of a floating log and combined it with some image of the raptors from Jurassic Park.

    Would those kind of pupils be of any use to an aquatic creature, living in a dark environment? I doubt it.

  42. sasquatch responds:

    Thanks for the updated work Blessedblogger; I’m glad to see the close-up. It actually looks more real and less like a log in close-up!
    The speckely patterns on the under-side of the neck look very naturalistic. Much like many lizards, snakes, crocodillians and eels.
    The areas with less detail seem to be in bright sunlight and are therefore not as easy to judge due to glare.
    As far as the teeth go. with the exception of the largest fang; they don’t seem overly white to me. Check out the chicklets on a shark…pretty white; ask Bobby Darin.
    Another thing I’m pretty impressed by on this critter is the slight underbite; I’ve noticed this in certain eels.
    Other anatomic relationships seem to be in the right place too if it were some kind of eel -the folds that extend back from the eye toward the ear hits me as correct as well as the “grin” of the mouth corner.
    I try to use intuition from animal observations when trying to figure out pictures like this but
    When dealing with unknown creatures I don’t think judging them by how we THINK they should look is completely wise. For example;
    If all you’d ever seen were green monkeys, spider monkeys and chimpanzees and were suddenly shown a picture of a proboscus monkey you might well have a good laugh and say; “So, did you photoshop Jimmy Durante’s nose on that monkey?”
    Anyway the eye still looks suspect to me too. Thanks again

  43. karmicGypsy responds:

    I have no idea what it is but it looks alot like driftwood to me. If you go to and type in driftwood there are some amazing pistures. Especially the “demon flyer” which is the first thing I thought of when I saw this.

  44. Shane Durgee responds:

    The eye isn’t fake enough to throw this out entirely especially given sightings of an actual lake cryptid in the area.

    I agree with sasquatch’s assessment of blessedblogger’s close-up. Even in the face of so many frauds and pranks in this field, I’d put my chips on the side of some sort of unknown reptile rather than hoax on this one.

  45. Fwooper responds:

    It has wierd eyes and looks kind of like a rock sticking up out of the water; but it looks more like a real animal now, I think I agree with Shane Durgee on this one.

  46. cryptomaniac responds:

    Looks a little prunish,like its been in the water to long. Doesn’t make sense since this supposed animal is water dwelling. The only thing I can think of is that its some sort of stationary log creature.

  47. austin_whittall responds:

    That “More recently, in 1960, the Argentina Navy encountered in the lake an unidentified submarine object for 18 days, without being able to identify it.”
    Is not correct.

    The 1960 incident happened nearly 500 miles away from the lake, at Golfo Nuevo on the Atlantic Ocean coast by a main Argentine submarine base.
    See the original article, “The Wily Whatzit” Newsweek magazine Feb. 22, 1960. p. 57 or
    It was surely a foreign spy submarine during the early cold war era and not “Nahuelito”.
    Austin Whittall – Buenos Aires, Argentina

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