Dr KARL SHUKER

Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. Author of such seminal works as Mystery Cats of the World (1989), The Lost Ark: New and Rediscovered Animals of the 20th Century (1993; greatly expanded in 2012 as The Encyclopaedia of New and Rediscovered Animals), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), and more recently Extraordinary Animals Revisited (2007), Dr Shuker's Casebook (2008), Karl Shuker's Alien Zoo: From the Pages of Fortean Times (2010), Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), and Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), his many fans have been badgering him to join the blogosphere for years. The CFZ Blog Network is proud to have finally persuaded him to do so.

Dr Karl Shuker's Official Website - http://www.karlshuker.com

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my ShukerNature blog's articles (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my published books (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my Eclectarium blog's articles (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

IMPORTANT: To view a complete, regularly-updated listing of my Starsteeds blog's poetry and other lyrical writings (each one instantly clickable), please click HERE!

Search This Blog

Loading...

PLEASE COME IN, I'VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU...

PLEASE COME IN, I'VE BEEN EXPECTING YOU...
WELCOME TO SHUKERNATURE - ENJOY YOUR VISIT - BEWARE OF THE RAPTOR!

Friday, 15 August 2014

THE DAS-ADDER – A HYRAX-HEADED HYPNOTIST?

Artistic rendition of the das-adder's supposed appearance (© Peter Loh)

South Africa's Drakensberg Range is supposedly home to a remarkable creature known locally as the das-adder, which has been reported for well over a century here. 'Dassie' is an alternative name for a hyrax – those small, rabbit-like hoofed mammals whose closest living relatives are the elephants. The das-adder derives its name from its head, which allegedly resembles that of a dassie, and its sinuous body, reminiscent of an African puff adder's. Many native people sharing its provenance claim that this curious mystery beast is extremely venomous and even capable of hypnotising its victims with a single stare.

Rock hyrax or Cape dassie Procavia capensis, native to southern Africa (© Arikk/Wikipedia)

In 1940, W.L. Speight published a lengthy article on African mystery beasts in the journal Empire Review, and included a detailed account of the das-adder. Speight stated that its tail was marked with yellow and red stripes, its external ear openings were folded into a crest, and in the opinion of some authorities this cryptid was not a snake at all, but rather a large lizard, with a 2-ft-long tail.

Juvenile African puff adder Bitis arietans ready to strike (public domain)

One of those authorities was 19th-Century zoologist Dr Andrew Smith of the Cape Town Museum, who was so intrigued by stories of the das-adder that he even advertised for a specimen to be brought to him for examination, but his advert did not elicit any specimens. In his view, this elusive beast was probably based upon nothing more dramatic than poor observation of the Cape rock monitor Varanus albigularis, slipping half-hidden between rocks and boulders so that its limbs were concealed from view.

Cape rock monitor Varanus albigularis, illustration from 1838

An entertaining idea, but as this varanid does not have a red and yellow tail or a hyrax-comparable head, it leaves rather a lot to be desired as a convincing identity for the das-adder - which, sadly, seems today to have become virtually forgotten, even among cryptozoologists, with its status still unresolved.

This ShukerNature post is adapted from my book From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings






1 comment:

  1. By the way, here is a puzzling new species of jelly fish:
    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/new-potentially-deadly-jellyfish-baffles-scientists-n184071
    Any idea why it has become gigantic? It reminds me of the giant eel larvae, but it is not a larvae of course.

    ReplyDelete