Zoologist, media consultant, and science writer, Dr Karl Shuker is also one of the best known cryptozoologists in the world. He is the 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), Dragons: A Natural History (1995), In Search of Prehistoric Survivors (1995), The Unexplained (1996), From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings (1997), Mysteries of Planet Earth (1999), The Hidden Powers of Animals (2001), The Beasts That Hide From Man (2003), 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), Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), Dragons in Zoology, Cryptozoology, and Culture (2013), The Menagerie of Marvels (2014), A Manifestation of Monsters (2015), Here's Nessie! (2016), and what is widely considered to be his cryptozoological magnum opus, Still In Search Of Prehistoric Survivors (2016) - plus, very excitingly, his first two long-awaited, much-requested ShukerNature blog books (2019, 2020).

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Sunday 25 August 2013


Nepal's limbless crocodile dragon (William M. Rebsamen)

As comprehensively documented in my latest book, Mirabilis: A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (2013), crocodilian mystery beasts come in all shapes and sizes and are of worldwide distribution. Yet few, surely, can be stranger than the giant limbless version reported from southern Asia as recently as 1980.

That was when Reverend Resham Poudal, an Indian missionary, was leading an entourage through a Himalayan jungle valley in Nepal. They came upon what seemed at first sight to be an enormous log, greenish-brown in colour, lying on the ground across their planned path – and then the 'log' moved! To the great alarm of everyone present, it proved to be a huge limbless reptile, whose scaly serpentine form blended in so well with the surrounding vegetation that when stationary, it did indeed look exactly like a log or fallen tree trunk.

Its eyewitnesses estimated the creature's total body length to be at least 42 ft, and approximately 6.5 ft in circumference, but most shocking of all were its jaws. For whereas those of true snakes, even massive ones, are relatively short in relation to their body, this mystery reptile's were extremely long, greatly resembling a crocodile's jaws. And although they were motionless, they were fully open, yielding a gape wide enough for a 6.5-ft-tall human to stand inside!

As I learnt from veteran cryptozoological explorer Bill Gibbons, who has also written about this bizarre cryptid, the entourage's native Nepalese members informed the Reverend that they considered these 'crocodile-snakes' to be dragons, but stated that they were only very occasionally encountered - and even when one was met with, it rarely moved. Instead, it would simply lie impassively with its monstrous jaws agape and wait for unsuspecting prey, usually water buffaloes, to approach, not seeing its enormous yet perfectly camouflaged form until it was too late. For as soon as a buffalo walked within range, the dragon's open jaws would seize it, and from those immensely powerful killing implements, brimming with sharp teeth, there would be no escape. In addition, the natives claimed that its eyes glowed like luminescent lamps at night (a feature also reported for anacondas and other very large snakes), which helped to lure prey.

But if such a remarkable creature as this truly exists, what could it be? Possibly an immense species of snake with unusually large jaws, or perhaps a gigantic legless lizard? Might it even be a unique limbless species of terrestrial crocodilian, highly specialised for this cryptic, motionless lifestyle? Whatever it is, it certainly does not match the appearance of any reptile currently known to science.

This ShukerNature blog post is excerpted from my newly-published book Mirabilis:A Carnival of Cryptozoology and Unnatural History (Anomalist Books: New York, 2013), which is available as a hard-copy paperback book and also as a Kindle e-book.


  1. Thank you for sharing this interesting article Sir! What a creature to consider!!

  2. sounds very much like a finless form of Mososaur, being on land could be to lay eggs or as in the case of a paleoltihic species of whale (name for gotten at this time, it may have been able to hear prey through its jawbone.

  3. Could it be a caecilian, as theorized for the similar Argentinian cryptid, the name of which I can't recall?

    Also, where did you get the fantastc artwork?

  4. I agree with the idea of Dale Drinnon and think a Buru would be a good explanation except for the size.
    However, the whole behavior and description sounds like a crocodilian to me instead of something like a varan or even a serpent. And I am very much reminded of Aegisuchus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegisuchus) with its very long flat jaws. (I am fully aware that Aegisuchus lived in an other part of the world..). The missing legs I guess were an oversight, however, looking at many species of skinks...maybe it is truly legless in its natural state.

  5. But please note that there is no guarantee in any case that the buru was a lizard. I have argued - and, in the opinion of a fair few cryptozoologists, very persuasively - that the buru was more likely to have been a giant lungfish. See my separate ShukerNature post re this possibility: http://www.karlshuker.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/riddle-of-buru-and-lungfish-link.html

  6. Also of course, the buru was entirely aquatic, not being found lying on land like this Nepalese creature. And as noted in my log article above, the latter's long crocodilian jaws would argue against an ophidian (snake) identity for it too.

  7. Dear Dr. Shuker,

    Please dont get my comment wrong. I am not trying to say you are wrong with anything in this article and I really like your blog.
    Considering the Buru, well I have read your article but, no disrespect, I do not share your opinion about it. I do not pretend to know what it is, but personally I assume it to be something crocodilian.
    Anyhow,let us leave the Buru discussion out of this. This beast in your current article seems to be very similar, though land-living, to a legless version of Aegisuchus. But I do not expect it to be an Aegisuchus, just a very specialized form of crocodile like Aegisuchus, something you also consider toward the end of your article. However, the fact that a very similar creature once existed lends credibility to the existence of this "dragon". It would be very interesting to see, if there is anything reported about the tongue of this beast, i.e. if it is formed to attract prey like a snapping turtle's tongue.

    yours truly

  8. Hi Typhon, No offence taken - with the buru, as with any cryptid unrepresented by physical evidence to examine and obtain a positive identification from, no-one can be said to be right or wrong re what it may be; we can only hold opinions, theories. The Aegisuchus-like crocodilian idea is certainly intriguing - certainly it does seem more crocodilian than anything else in basic form and behaviour. I shall have to see if I can uncover additional sightings if it - perhaps Bill Gibbons can disclose further information to me.

  9. Made me think of the Liberian GBAHALI :


    Don't know if they are related to each other, but those two dragon-like beasts looks somewhat like giant versions of earless monitor lizards, with the nepalese one having mosasaur like jaws instead.

  10. this is amazing, thank you for the share. If it is found again please follow this up.

  11. Interesting and well documented, Karl. I can't wait for my copy of Mirabilis to arrive!

  12. Thanks Crystal - I hope you enjoy my book!