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KILLER BEAST STALKS OLYMPIC PARK AS EXPERTS FEAR ALLIGATOR OR PYTHON IS ON THE LOOSE

Posted on December 20, 2011 at 3:25 AM
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Killer Beast Stalks Olympic Park As Experts Fear Alligator or Python Is on the Loose


 

Wildlife experts have revealed that a mysterious giant creature is lurking in waters near the Olympic Park in East London.


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Witnesses alerted environment bosses after seeing a 16lb Canada goose dragged under the surface, with fears there could now be a pike, alligator or even a large python stalking the waters near the Olympic site.


The number of swans on the river and waterways near the newly-built £9bn Olympic Park is also dropping.


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[Cryptozoologist's note: The swan is known for it's fierce temperament as well as it's incredibly strong wings which are said to be able to cause dangerous (sometimes fatal) injuries to any animal the swan feels threatened by. These facts, coupled with the size of the bird, really need to be taken into consideration when trying to determine the predator in question.]


Mike Wells saw the deadly attack on the Canada goose from a boat on the River Lea last month.


He said: "We were just passing the time of day looking at a Canada goose 30 yards away, but then it just suddenly disappeared. It went down vertically. There wasn’t any hesitation, it went straight down. It didn’t come back up. My friend and I looked at each other slack-jawed. Being a river person, I pieced together what we’d seen in seconds. The goose was prey to something. A Canada goose is not a small bird. They weigh about 16lb, so whatever took it was also large."


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Mr Wells, who lives in the Lea Valley, is convinced the beast is the same creature which took down a goose in the same area in 2005.


Lea Rivers Trust staff reported seeing a Canada goose being dragged beneath the surface in 2005, and large holes were found burrowed into the bank of the river.


He added: "It must be the same creature. Some people I've spoken to think it could be a very large pike and I've seen some turtles about a foot across, but they're not really big enough to take a goose."


In 2005 experts thought the creature could have been an alligator, snapping turtle, or some other kind of pet which had been released into the wild.


Experts said a trap would need to be set to catch the beast, but it appears to have returned to the same waters last month.


Mark Gallant, of the Lea Rivers Trust, said after the 2005 attack: "Someone might buy it as a baby turtle. After they've had it in their pond, or bath, or whatever they are going to keep it for a while and the thing starts to grow and grow and grow and grow. Obviously they can't keep it in their homes anymore so what do they do? They think they are doing a good thing for the actual animal by putting it into a river or stream."


Zoology graduate Michael Allen, who lives near the Olympic Park, told the Hackney Citizen: "It might be an escaped pet snake like a python. It could survive in this climate, although it would be a bit sluggish. A small goose or a duck could be a perfect meal."


A spokesman for British Waterways said of the incident last month: "We don't believe there is a crocodile in the river. Things that have been suggested are a big pike or a mink, which can prey on ducks. But geese might be a bit big for them."


She continued: "In some areas you get terrapins which get dumped and have taken to the conditions well—they can get to the size of dinner plates. But geese might be too big for them to take as well."


"No one has reported anything to British Waterways, but we would encourage people to get in touch if they have seen anything."


HERE BE MONSTERS... WHAT COULD BE LURKING IN THE RIVER LEA?


Nature experts are speculating as to what the mysterious River Lea beast could be.


Northern Pike - have been known to grow to up over 55lbs (25kg), but although they have attacked ducklings, they normally prey on smaller fish.


Alligator or Crocodile - It could be an escaped pet alligator or crocodile, which typically feed on anything from turtles, mammals, birds and deer to other reptiles.


Python - It could also be an escaped pet python, which normally eat animals the size of a cat, although such a creature may struggle to survive in winter conditions.


Giant Turtle - Another possibility is a giant turtle or terrapin (particularly one such as an Alligator Snapping Turtle), which many buy as pets but dump when they become too big.


Giant Wels Catfish (the Cryptozoologist's personal pick) - which are found all across Europe, can grow to a length of over 3 m (9.8 ft) and weigh over 150 kg (330 lb) or even larger.


Giant Chinese Salamander - The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest salamander in the world, reaching a length of 6 ft (180 cm) and attempting to eat anything it can catch.


THE POSSIBLE CULPRITS


[Cryptozoologist's note: Climate is an extremely important consideration in determining what creature is responsible for the predatory attacks taking place in East London. London has a temperate oceanic climate, similar to much of southern Britain. Winters are generally chilly to cold with frost usually occurring in the suburbs on average twice a week from November to March. Snow usually occurs about 4 or 5 times a year mostly from December to February. Snowfall during March and April is rare but does occur every 2–3 years. Winter temperatures seldom fall below 24.8 °F (-4 °C) or rise above 57.2 °F (14 °C). Summers are generally warm and sometimes hot. London's summer average is a comfortable 75.2 °F (24 °C). Rain generally occurs on around 2 out of 10 summer days. Spring and Autumn are mixed seasons and can be pleasant. Temperature extremes range from 14.0 °F (-10 °C) to 100.2 °F (37.9 °C).]


THE NORTHERN PIKE


The northern pike (Esox lucius, known simply as a pike in Britain, Ireland, and the USA, or as jackfish in Canada), is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox (the pikes). They are typical of brackish and freshwaters of the northern hemisphere (i.e. holarctic in distribution).


Habitat


Pike are found in sluggish streams and shallow, weedy places in lakes, as well as in cold, clear, rocky waters. Pike are typical ambush predators; they lie in wait for prey, holding perfectly still for long periods and then exhibit remarkable acceleration as they strike. In short, they will inhabit any water body that contains fish, but suitable places for spawning are essential for their numbers. Because of their cannibalistic nature, young pike need places where they can take shelter between plants so they are not eaten. In both cases it comes down to a rich submersible vegetation nearby. Pike are seldom found in brackish water, except for the Baltic Sea area. Pike are known to prefer water with less turbidity but that is probably related to their dependence on the presence of submersible vegetation and not to their being a sight hunter.


Length and Weight


Pike grow to a relatively large size; lengths of 59 inches (150 centimetres) and weights of 55 pounds (25 kg) are not unheard of. The heaviest specimen known so far was caught in an abandoned stone quarry, in Germany, in 1983. She (the majority of all pikes over 18 lb or 8 kg are females) was 58 in (147 cm) long and weighed 68 lb (31 kg). The longest pike ever recorded was 60 in (152 cm) long and weighed 62 lb (28 kg). Historic reports of giant pike, caught in nets in Ireland in the late 19th century, of 90–93 lb (41–42 kg), were researched by Fred Buller and published in The Domesday Book of Mammoth Pike. However, neither Britain nor Ireland has managed to produce much in the way of giant pike in the last 50 years.


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There are reports of far larger pike, but these are thought to be either misidentifications of the pike's larger relative the muskellunge, or hybrids between northern pike and muskellunge, called a Tiger Muskellunge. They have been known to attack swimmers in fresh water.


Feeding


The young free swimming pike feed on small invertebrates starting with daphnia, and quicky moving on to bigger prey like isopods like asellus or gammarus. When the body length is 1.5 to 3 inches (4 to 8 cm) they start feeding on small fish.


The pike have a very typical hunting behavior, they are able to remain stationary in the water, by just moving the last fin rays of the dorsal fins and the breast fins. Before striking they bend their body and dash out to the prey using the large surface of tail fin, dorsal fin and anal fin to propel themselves. The fish has a distinctive habit of catching its prey sideways in the mouth, immobilizing it with its sharp backward pointing teeth, and then turning the prey headfirst to swallow it. It eats mainly fish, but on occasion water voles and ducklings have also been known to fall prey to pike. Young pike have been found dead from choking on a pike of a similar size. Northern pike also feed on frogs, insects and leeches. They are not very particular and will eat spiny fish like perch and even sticklebacks if that is the only available prey. It certainly seems that the largest pike would be capable of taking a full-grown duck or goose.


Pros and Cons


+ Already found in the British Isles.

+ Grows large enough to catch a duck or goose.

+ Could possibly take a swan.

- Probably could not swallow any of these birds in one gulp.


THE AMERICAN ALLIGATOR


The American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), sometimes referred to colloquially as a gator, is a reptile endemic only to the Southeastern United States. It is one of the two living species of alligator, in the genus Alligator, within the family Alligatoridae. It is larger than the other extant alligator species, the Chinese alligator.


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The American alligator inhabits wetlands that frequently overlap with human-populated areas.


Description


The American alligator has a large, slightly rounded body, with thick limbs, a broad head, and a very powerful tail. Adult alligators generally have dark gray or nearly black color. Adult male alligators average 11.2 ft (3.4 m) in length, while adult females average 8.2 to 9.8 ft (2.5 to 3.0 m). Average adult body weights are reported from 270 to 800 lb (120 to 360 kg), with a few exceptionally large and old males exceeding 14 ft (4.3 m) and 1,000 pounds (450 kg). One American Alligator reached a length of 19 feet 2 inches (5.84 m) and 2,200 lb (1,000 kg), which made it not only the largest alligator ever recorded, but also among the largest crocodilians on record.


Alligators travel very quickly in water, cruising along at just over 1 mph (0.4 m/s). In pursuit of prey they can swim much faster over short distances. They can remain underwater for several hours if not actively swimming or hunting, in which case they can only stay under for about 20 minutes. While they are generally slow-moving on land, alligators can lunge short distances very quickly. American Alligators have one of the strongest laboratory measured bites of any living animal, measured at up to 2,125 foot-pounds (9,452 n) in laboratory conditions. It should be noted that this experiment has not (at the time of the paper published) been replicated in any other crocodilians.


Habitat


Although primarily freshwater animals, alligators will occasionally venture into brackish water. Alligators live in wetlands and this is the vital habitat that holds the key to their continued long-term survival. Alligators depend on the wetlands, and in some ways the wetlands depend on them. As apex predators, they help control the population of rodents and other animals that might overtax the marshland vegetation.


American alligators are less affected by cold than American crocodiles. Unlike the American crocodile, which would immediately succumb to the cold and drown in water of 45°F (7.2°C), an alligator can survive in such temperatures for some time without any signs of evident discomfort. It is thought that this adaptiveness is the reason why American alligators spread farther north than the American crocodile. In fact, the American alligator is found farther from the equator and is more equipped to deal with cooler conditions than any other crocodilian.


Diet


Alligator hatchlings diet on invertebrates, insects, larvae, snails, spiders, worms, and other small prey. They will also eat small fish at any opportunity. Once an alligator reaches adulthood, any animal living in the water or coming to the water to drink is potential prey. Adult alligators will eat wild boars, deer, dogs of all sizes, livestock including cattle and sheep, and are often known to kill and eat smaller alligators. In rare instances, large male alligators have been known to prey on the Florida panther and American black bear, making the American alligator the apex predator throughout its distribution.


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Adult alligators also spend considerable time hunting on land, up to 170 feet (50 m) from water, ambushing terrestrial animals on trailsides and road shoulders on warm nights. Alligators are capable of killing humans, but are generally wary enough not to see them as a potential prey.


Pros and Cons


+ Most adaptable of the crocodilians.

+ Hunts from below the surface of the water.

+ Regularly takes birds of all sizes.

+ Swallows its prey whole.

- Requires climatic conditions warmer than those of Southern England.

+ Digs holes (burrows) in the riverbank.

- Needs to bask on land to completely dry out. A reptile this large lying on the bank should have been spotted by now.

- Females build nests on land and guard them. This is another characteristic that should be obvious to observers.

- Hunts on land. Should also be reports of missing dogs and possibly livestock near the river.


[Cryptozoologist's note: American alligators require an overall climatic average temperature of 83-85 F with a basking temp of 94-97 F. They prefer warmer water, so a water temp of 80 F is ideal. Gators are exothermic. What this means is their main source of body heat is taken from their environment. Like many reptiles they bask to gain warmth and store energy. When they have stored enough energy, or they become over-heated, they will then submerge themselves in the water. Even though they are extremely adaptive, the slightest change in temperature will not only effect growth, but appetite as well. When the temperature drops below 80 °F they will not feed as often, and if it drops below 73 °F they will stop feeding altogether. Depending on the season, gators require specific durations of light. These are roughly: Spring: 12 hours Summer: 14 hours Autumn: 10 hours Winter: 8 hours. The animal also needs to be able to fully submerge itself and then dry out completely. These are all requirements not found in Southern England.]


A CROCODILE


Crocodiles are among the more biologically complex reptiles despite their prehistoric look. A crocodile’s physical traits allow it to be a successful predator. Crocodiles are very fast over short distances, even out of water. Since crocodiles feed by grabbing and holding onto their prey, they have sharp teeth for tearing and holding onto flesh, and powerful muscles that close the jaws and hold them shut. These jaws can bite down with immense force, by far one of the strongest bite of any animal. The pressure of the crocodile's bite is more than 5,000 pounds per square inch (30,000 kPa).


Biology and Behavior


Crocodiles are ambush hunters, waiting for fish or land animals to come close, then rushing out to attack. As cold-blooded predators, they have a very slow metabolism, and thus can survive long periods without food. Despite their appearance of being slow, crocodiles are top predators in their environment, and various species have been observed attacking and killing sharks.


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Crocodiles eat fish, birds, mammals (often as large as cattle and large antelope) and occasionally smaller crocodiles. There are even reports of crocodiles taking prey as large as rhinoceros! The larger species of crocodiles are very dangerous to humans. The main danger that crocodiles pose is not their ability to run after a person but their ability to ambush and strike before the person can react.


Size greatly varies between species, from the dwarf crocodile to the saltwater crocodile. Species of Palaeosuchus and Osteolaemus grow to an adult size of just 3.3 ft (1 metre) to 4.9 ft (1.5 metres). Larger species can reach over 15.9 ft (4.85 metres) long and weigh well over 2,600 lb (1,200 kg). Crocodilians show pronounced sexual dimorphism with males growing much larger and more rapidly than females. The largest species of crocodile is the saltwater crocodile, found in eastern India, northern Australia, throughout south-east Asia, and in the surrounding waters. Two larger certifiable records are both of 20 feet (6.2 m) crocodiles. Wildlife experts, however, argue that the largest crocodile so far found was almost 23 feet (7.0 m) long, which could be traced from its preserved skull.


Pros and Cons


+ Easily large enough to take birds of all kinds.

+ Hunts from below the surface of the water.

+ Swallows its prey whole or in large chunks.

+ Digs holes (burrows) in the riverbank.

- Needs climate and water much warmer than Southern England.

- Nests on land (see American Alligator).

- Hunts on land (see American Alligator).

- Usually sleeps out of water and basks in sun (see American Alligator).

- Sex of young determined by temperature.


[Cryptozoologist's note: Crocodiles have a preferred body temperature of 86 °F to 91.4 °F (30° to 33° C). They use the water, sun and shade to regulate their body temperature and move between these warm and cool parts of their environment to adjust it. For this reason, crocodiles are generally found in the tropical regions, being unable to survive and reproduce successfully in cold climates. This, as well as their high profile existence, would seem to rule out a crocodile as the East London Monster.]


A PYTHON


Pythons are among the longest snakes and longest reptiles in the world, but are not the most heavily built; The species Eunectes murinus, the green anaconda may be heavier. Pythons are nonvenomous constrictors and normally not considered dangerous to humans. Although large specimens are powerful enough to kill an adult human, attacks are only occasionally reported. Pythons are native to a large variation of tropic and subtropic areas of Southern- and Southeast Asia. They are often found near water and are sometimes semi-aquatic, but can also be found in trees. Wild individuals average from 10 feet (3 m) to 20 feet (6 m) long, but may reach up to 28 feet (8.7 m).


Excellent swimmers, some species of python have been reported far out at sea and have colonized many small islands within their range. All pythons need a permanent source of water. They can be found in grasslands, marshes, swamps, rocky foothills, woodlands, river valleys, and jungles with open clearings. They are good climbers and have prehensile tails.


When younger they are equally at home on the ground and in trees, but as they gain girth they tend to restrict most of their movements to the ground. They are also excellent swimmers, being able to stay submerged for up to half an hour. In the northern parts of their range, pythons may brumate for some months during the cold season in a hollow tree, a hole in the riverbank or under rocks. Brumation is biologically distinct from hibernation. This behaviour has similar benefits, specifically to endure the winter without moving. However, there is controversy over whether all species are able to brumate, and it is believed by experts that some species may be unable to distinguish between a slight chill and dangerous cold weather.


Feeding


Like all snakes, pythons are carnivorous. Their diet consists primarily of appropriately-sized birds and mammals. Pythons are ambush hunters, waiting until prey wanders within strike range before seizing it in their coils and killing it. The snake uses its sharp rearward-pointing teeth to seize its prey, then wraps its body around the prey, at the same time contracting its muscles, killing the prey by constriction. Small specimens—up to 10–14 ft (3–4 m) long—eat mainly rodents such as rats, whereas larger individuals switch to prey such as Viverridae (e.g. civets and binturongs), and even primates and pigs. Near human habitation, they are known to snatch stray chickens and occasionally cats and dogs. Among the largest, fully documented prey items to have been taken are a half-starved Sun Bear of 50.7 pounds (23 kg) that was eaten by a 23 ft (6.95 m) specimen, as well as pigs of more than 132 lb (60 kg). As a rule of thumb, these snakes seem able to swallow prey up to ¼ their own length, and up to their own weight. Exceptionally large pythons are known to have attacked and eaten alligators and to swallow entire deer as well.


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Attacks on humans are rare, but the largest species, the Reticulated python, has been responsible for several human fatalities, in both the wild and captivity. They are among the few snakes that have been fairly reliably reported to eat people, although only a few cases of the snake actually eating (rather than just killing) a human appear to be authenticated.


Invasive Species


The importation and keeping of pythons has led to some rather serious problems. People who no longer wish to care for their pythons, or whose pythons have grown too large to be kept in their houses, have been known to release their pets into the wild rather than have them re-homed or even humanely euthanized. Since they have been known to eat almost any bird, mammal or reptile they can overpower, these snakes present a new danger to already fragile ecosystems.


Pros and Cons


+ Excellent swimmers. Can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes.

+ Hunts from below the surface of the water.

+ Make use of holes in the riverbank.

+ Will eat almost anything. Regularly includes birds of all sizes.

+ Swallows its prey whole.

+ Some species can "brumate" to survive cold weather.

- Requires climate warmer than that of Southern England.

- Some species may not be able to distinguish between a slight chill and dangerous cold weather.


[Cryptozoologist's note: Pythons are cold blooded and get heat from their surroundings. In the wild snakes bask in the sun to keep warm or move to a shady spot if they are too hot, this is called thermo-regulation. Due to the Reticulated Python’s expansive range they’re able to tolerate a wider temperature variation than many other species but ideally they require a temperature gradient of between 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the low end, 92 degrees Fahrenheit on the high end, as well as an ambient air temperature of 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Night time temperatures should fall no lower than 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Reticulated Pythons come from areas of high rainfall and as a result enjoy high levels of humidity (around 70%). Respiratory Infections (R.Is) are bacterial infections that are usually caused by low temperatures or too much humidity, These are all factors which work against the possibility of the East London Monster being a python.]


ANACONDA


The Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus), also known as the Anaconda, Common Anaconda, or Water Boa), is a non-venomous boa species found in South America. It is the heaviest known snake species. The term anaconda (without further qualification) often refers to this species, though the term could also apply to other members of the genus Eunectes.


The Green Anaconda is one of the world's longest snakes, reaching more than 22 feet (6.6 m) long. Reports of anacondas 35–40 feet or even longer also exist, but such claims need to be regarded with caution as no specimens of such lengths have ever been deposited in a museum and hard evidence is lacking. Although the reticulated python is longer, the anaconda is the heaviest snake. The longest (and heaviest) scientifically recorded specimen was a female measuring 17 feet 1 inch (521 cm) long and weighing 215 pounds (97.5 kg).


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Anacondas live in swamps, marshes, and slow-moving streams, mainly in the tropical rain forests of the Amazon and Orinoco basins. They are cumbersome on land, but stealthy and sleek in the water. Their eyes and nasal openings are on top of their heads, allowing them to lie in wait for prey while remaining nearly completely submerged.


Behavior


The primarily nocturnal anaconda species tend to spend most of their lives in or around water. Anacondas are also sometimes known as the "Water Boa"; they spend more time in water than any of the boas. Because of their large size, they appear rather slow and sluggish when traveling on land. Completely the opposite in water, however, anacondas are known to have the potential to reach high speeds in all depths of water. They tend to float atop the surface of the water with the snout barely poking out above the surface. When prey passes by or stops to drink, a hungry anaconda will snatch it with its jaws and coil around it with its body. The snake will then constrict until it has successfully suffocated the prey before swallowing it whole.


Pros and Cons


+ Lives almost entirely in water.

+ Can consume very large animals including birds of all sizes.

+ Waits in ambush for prey in water.

+ Swallows its prey whole.

- Requires high humidity.

- Requires warmer climate than Southern England.


[Cryptozoologist's note: Anacondas from tropical regions require that less than 80% humidity be maintained for the health of the species . The ideal humidity range is around 55-60%. They also requre basking temperatures of 88-90 F and (ambient) temperatures of 78-80 F.]


THE ALLIGATOR SNAPPING TURTLE


The alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world. It is not closely related to, but is often associated with the common snapping turtle. They are the sole living member of the genus Macrochelys—while common snappers are in the genus Chelydra.


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Distribution and Habitat


The largest freshwater turtle in North America, the alligator snapper keeps primarily to southern U.S. waters. However, due to the exotic pet trade and other factors the species has found its way to Asia and Europe with a breeding/research center found in Japan.


Size


There is an unverified report of a 403-pound (183 kg) Alligator Snapping Turtle found in Kansas in 1937, but the largest one actually on record is debatable. One weighed at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago was a 16-year resident giant alligator snapper weighing 249 lb (113 kg), sent to the Tennessee State Aquarium as part of a breeding loan in 1999. Another was 236 lb (107 kg), and housed at the Brookfield Zoo in suburban Chicago. Both of these may still be alive. They generally do not grow quite that large—average adult size is around 26 inches shell length with a weight of 175 lb (80 kg). Males are typically larger than females. Alligator snapping turtles can also range in length from 16 to 32 inches (40.4 to 80.8 cm).


Though their potential lifespans in the wild are unknown, alligator snapping turtles are believed to be capable of living to 200 years of age, but 80 to 120 is more likely . In captivity, they typically live from anywhere between 20 to 70 years of age.


Diet


Alligator snappers are opportunistic carnivores more often at a young age, but are also scavengers. Fishermen have extolled the species' ability to catch fish and to deplete fish populations. Minnows are usually the main source of meat for the juveniles of the species. They will eat almost anything they can catch.


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Their natural diet consists primarily of fish and dead fish carcasses (usually thrown overboard by fishermen), invertebrates, carrion, and amphibians, but they are also known to eat snakes, water fowl, and even other turtles. They will refuse to eat if exposed to temperature extremes. Though not a primary food source for them, adult Alligator snappers have been known to kill and eat small alligators that they have been confined with, such as in a net, small bog, or poorly planned aquarium display.


Pros and Cons


+ Spends most of its time in the water.

+ Known for lying in ambush on the bottom of ponds and streams, but also attacks prey on the surface from underneath.

+ Grows large enough to take down waterfowl as large as ducks and maybe larger.

- Refuses to eat if exposed to temperature extremes.

- Needs water that does not freeze over.

- Needs ambient climate warmer than Southern England.


[Cryptozoologist's note: Alligator Snapping Turtles require water temps of 74-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Ambient temperatures of 78-80 is probably best for the turtle's actual health, digestion and natural activity range. These requirements most likely preclude the possibility of the East London Monster being an alligator snapping turtle.]


THE WELS CATFISH


The wels catfish (Silurus glanis), also called sheatfish, is a large catfish found in wide areas of central, southern, and eastern Europe, and near the Baltic and Caspian Seas. Through the intervention of man the wels has since found its way into many rivers and lakes in Germany, France, Spain, England and Holland. In Britain, it is simply referred to as the "Catfish", a name which could apply to many thousands of species world wide and often causes confusion. The catfish is widely distributed, but has a greater concentration in the counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Cambridgeshire. The wels is not indigenous to this country and they were first introduced into the "Shoulder of Mutton Lake" at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire on 10/27/1880. Since then they have been stocked both legally and illegally into many lakes throughout the country.It is a scaleless fresh and brackish water fish recognizable by its broad, flat head and wide mouth. Wels catfish can live for at least thirty years and have very good hearing.


Habitat


The wels catfish lives in large, warm lakes and deep, slow-flowing rivers. It prefers to remain in sheltered locations such as holes in the riverbed, sunken trees, etc. It consumes its food in the open water or on the bottom, where it can be recognized by its large mouth.


Size


With a possible total length up to 9.8 ft (3 m) and a maximum weight of over 330 lb (150 kg) it is the second largest freshwater fish in its region after the beluga sturgeon. However, such lengths are extremely rare and could not be proved during the last century. In 1856, K. T. Kessler wrote about specimens from Dniepr which were over 16 ft (5 m) long and weighed up to 880 lb (400 kg). These reports, however, cannot be validated today for lack of physical evidence.


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Feeding


The wels catfish lives on annelid worms, gastropods, insects, crustaceans, and fish including other wels catfishes; the larger ones also eat frogs, mice, rats and aquatic birds such as ducks. In the UK they spend many days without feeding and then gorge themselves. The Wels catfish uses its sharp pectoral fins to capture prey. With these fins, it creates an eddy to disorient its victim, which it then simply engulfs in its enormous throat. In Russia several specimens have been found with human remains in their guts, although it is thought that the individuals drown first, then are eaten whole. There has never been a reported incident of catfish attacking divers, however, they do attack boats, but this is thought to be a territorial response.


Pros and Cons


+ Already imported to, and thriving in, Great Britain.

+ Large enough to easily devour most waterfowl species.

+ Swallows its prey whole.

+ Attacks its prey from below.

+ Method in which the goose disappeared matches the hunting technique of the Wels.


CHINESE GIANT SALAMANDER


The Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) is the largest salamander in the world, reaching a length of 6 ft (180 cm), although it rarely—if ever—reaches that size today. Endemic to rocky mountain streams and lakes in China, it is considered critically endangered due to habitat loss, pollution, and over-collecting, as it is considered a delicacy and used in traditional Chinese medicine. Records from Taiwan may be the results of introductions.


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Description and Behavior


It has a large head, small eyes and dark and wrinkly skin. It is one of only two extant species in the genus Andrias, the other being the slightly smaller, but otherwise very similar Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus). The Chinese giant salamander feeds on insects, frogs, fish and also crabs and shrimp. It has very poor eyesight, and therefore depends on special sensory nodes that run in a line on the creature's body, from head to tail. They are capable of sensing the slightest vibrations around them with the help of these nodes. The average adult salamander is 55-66 lb (25–30 kg) and 3.8 ft (1.15 m).


The giant salamader is known to vocalize, making barking, whining, hissing, or crying sounds. Some of these vocalizations bear a striking resemblance to the crying of a young human child, and as such it is known in the Chinese language as "infant fish"


Regardless of how large and ugly the Chinese Giant Salamander is, there seem to be no instances on record of these creatures ever eating anything larger than fish, frogs and other salamanders. This, plus the fact that the Giant Salamander seems to hug the bottom of rivers and streams rather than feeding from the surface, would appear to rule out this creature as the East London Monster.


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