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Friday, 13 May 2011

The Last Dragons of Europe

A scientist named Ulysses Aldrovandus carefully described a small “dragon” seen along a farm road in northern Italy. The date was May 13, 1572. The poor, rare creature was so little that the farmer killed it just by knocking it on the head with his walking stick. The animal had done nothing wrong but hiss at the farmer’s oxen as they approached it on the road.

The scientist obtained the dead body and made measurements and a drawing. He even had the animal mounted for a museum. It had two stumpy forelegs, a very long tail and a fat body.

Aldrovandus's Cabinet of Curiosities

The following are some of the details available in the documentation by Aldrovandus (sometimes spelled Aldrovandi):
The dragon was first seen on May 13, 1572, hissing like a snake. He had been hiding on the small estate of Master Petronius near Dosius in a place called Malonolta. At 5 PM, he was caught on a public highway by a herdsman named Baptista of Camaldulus, near the hedge of a private farm, a mile from the remote city outskirts of Bologna. Baptista was following his ox cart home when he noticed the oxen suddenly come to a stop. He kicked them and shouted at them, but they refused to move and went down on their knees rather than move forward. At this point, the herdsman noticed a hissing sound and was startled to see this strange little dragon ahead of him. Trembling, he struck it on the head with his rod and killed it. Aldrovandus was surprised that the reptile did not run when he saw the man, but instead bravely raised its head and stood its ground.

Aldrovanus'dragon [NB: Representation NOT by Aldrovanus as stated, this is a later representation as made by Conrad Gesner. It may not be very accurate]

Aldrovandus reported that it was definitely a reptile and the first of this type he had seen. The creature was rather strange in appearance, but seemed to be completely harmless. It was a small specimen; Aldrovandus believed that it was only a baby judging by the incompletely developed claws and teeth. It was about two cubits (three feet) long. The corpse had only two feet. It moved by slithering like a snake and by using its feet, he believed. It could hiss like a snake and hold its head up in the air. Its slender neck had white markings like circling its neck. Aldrovandus mounted the specimen and put it on display for some time in a museum. This event has been referred to as "The Last Dragon-Slaying in Europe"

—Ulysses Aldrovandus, The Natural History of Serpents and Dragons (Bologna, Italy: Mark Antony Bernia, 1640), p.402.

This is more likely an early report of the creature known in more recent cryptozoology as the Tatzelwurm. Both Bernard Heuvelmans and Willy Ley wrote of it, but neither one of them very thoroughly going into the subject. Here is a European cryptozoology site's summary on it.

The Tatzelwurm

Other (s) name (s): France (Arass), Tyrol (Springwurm), Switzerland (Stollwurm, Stollemvurm, Tazzelwurm), Austria (Lindwurm, Praatzelwurm), Slovenia (Kuschke) Daazelwurm, Hockwurm. Scandinavia (lindorm)

Type (s): Amphibian and/or reptile.
Transcript: Testimony, sketch.

Description: Animal having between 50 and 80 cm long. Thick body (the size of an adult forearm or even thigh) resembling that of a worm or a snake skin covered with fine granulation, rather round head, forked tongue sometimes seen, indistinct neck blending into the body , thick tail, and ending abruptly, has only front legs are atrophied although some accounts suggest two pairs of legs. It is assumed that the animal is poisonous.

Range: Austrian Alps, German, Swiss, French and Italian. According to some accounts, he would be present in the Spanish Pyrenees. He would live in caves or infractuausités located in mountainous areas between 500 and 2200 meters.

Assumed identities:

- Jacob Nicolussi proposes an unknown species of venomous lizard of the family Helodermatidés normally specific to North America.

- Ulrich Magin suggested a European species of salamander unknown related to the Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) that can reach 6 feet long (about 1.80m).

- Robert Kirch suggested the possibility of the presence of unknown species of lizard of the family related to Anguidés legless blind worm (Anguis fragilis) and the European legless lizard glass (Ophisaurus apodus).

Concerning the distribution of Tatzelwurm, I think we can enlarge it. Indeed, as we have seen above, one of the other names of cryptids is Lindwurm. Should we not approach the Lindorm of Scandinavian mythology. From the description that we actually would correspond with that of Tatzelwurm. Its range include Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

Moreover, according to the description we have to deal with two kinds of animal. One white and one cave and rather brown.

Lindwurm / Lindorm
Reptile often described with a pair of short forelimbs. / "Dragon Snake" with two front legs.
Would produce surprise. / Movement alive.
Colour: greenish brown or gray. / Color: green, gray or black.
Habitat: Mountains / Habitat: Forests and Cemetery
Diet unknown / Carnivore

Unfortunately, for Norway and Denmark, it seems that some of the descriptions referred to the Marin Horse [Waterhorse or Merhorse].

There are reports of hibernation Tatzelwurm.

Here is a representation, albeit free, what could this animal.

Flucher, Hans (1932) - Noch einmal die Tatzelwurmfrage, Kosmos.
Heuvelmans, Bernard (1950 - Tracking animals ignored. Pion.
Nicolussi, Jakob (1933) - Der Tatzelwurm und seine Verwaschaft. Der Schlern, 14.
Barloy, Jean-Jacques (1985) - Survivors of the Shadow.

Subject: Re: Tatzelwurm Tues, Feb. 5 - 16:56

Well I just found a vague description of a case of Tatzewurm Sicily.

"One of the last case of spectacular Tatzelwurm took place in 1954. Farmers near Palermo in Sicily observed an animal like a worm with two forepaws and head of a cat attacking pigs."

That's all I could gather. There's a picture circulating on the net but I do not know if it was made at the time of the testimony or after.

If you have any information thank you kindly communicate as being in Sicily I could investigate to see the truth of facts.

Thank you in advance.
Subject: Re: Tatzelwurm Fri, Feb. 22 - 11:23

Well here is testimony regarding possible cases of Tatzelwürms. I apologize in advance for the poor quality of my translation.

1750.x. Italy / TS: Sonnenberg / Bad Salt / Martell
The animal was spotted on numerous occasions. The size and silhouette evoked those of a cat, the muzzle was lengthened by more than cons, and the thick, pointed tail. According to a witness the animal looked like a lizard or a snake. The animal was equipped with only 2 legs and the footprints left by the latter revealed that they were equipped with claws. To move the animal used its two legs waving in the body. Pursuing a prey, he began to arch her body while resting on his paws. He then threw himself upon his prey, a rabbit, like an arrow, barely touching the ground. Despite repeated observations of the animal has been described with only one pair of legs .. 6)

1779. Austria / S: Mösen Leitstube / Unken
According to oral tradition and a document of the time, a farmer was attacked by two Tatzelwurms while he reaps the bays on the road near Unken Schwarzbach. In panic he had fled and died of a heart attack near the "pass" from the leading Thalbruck Heuthal. I found three different copies of the reproduction. The oldest and most famous, (now in the museum 'Haus der Natur, Salzburg) there were about half bites on his abdomen with his face visible in profile. With his left hand he holds his nose in an apparent attempt to protect the breath of Tatzelwurm which can be seen in the background on a rock. (See also MAg/16). The Tatzelwurms have a tail, two pairs of legs, the skin is mottled and have a forked tongue. If the perspective is correct, (which is often not the case) across Tatzelwurm must have been one meter. On a shelf most recent text was added: 'in intense fear is death here, chased by jumping to Hans Fuchs Unken in 1779'.

1800.x. Austria / T: See Mols / Wattental
The Mols See is a small alpine lake located at 2,200 meters above sea level, 17 kilometers southeast of Innsbruck. In full chase, a gunsmith City Hall saw a kind of crocodile and shot him. Before dying the animal bit his arm, which remained partially paralyzed. 7)

1811.05. Switzerland: Im Boden / Haslital
In a very hot morning, a teacher watching sheep near a barn. He saw a very ugly animal, about 1.80 meters long and thicker than a man's arm. With both legs about 15 inches long, he raised to a height of 30 inches [centimeters?] and looked at the teacher. The eyes were as big as [those of?] a large chicken and its forked tongue occasionally emerged from his mouth. His head looked like a snake but wider, flatter and nostrils were not located overhead. The worm had short hair thin at the back. The teacher and the animal looked. Then the observer ran as fast as he could.

1826.x. Austria / T: Mt Hinterhorn / Kitzbühel
One day a boy is sent regularly to Alpe Lämmerbühel to fetch the butter did not return. The next day his body was found beside a trail. He had gotten rid of his 'Kraxl' body revealed severe bites. Bears and wolves were exterminated in the region but some people had claimed to have seen a big lizard. Most hunters have hunted the monster they called 'Höckwurm' and claimed to have managed to kill him.

1833.b. Austria / U: Gambsfeld / Gosau

A spirited young man was climbing on the rocks below when suddenly his hands a wild animal had emerged. He had a gray-silver and three dark spots back. His head was like a snake, the body as thick as a forearm. He had more than 60 cemtimètre [two feet] long. The animal had four short legs barely visible but it was moving fairly quickly. When the animal tried to flee, the man struck him with his hiking stick. Following this, the animal is raised along the stick and was bitten on the hand. The young man was unable to kill the animal but then he felt a burning pain and his arm swelled up. Back home a surgeon because of injury and subsequent infection advised him to get his arm amputated. The man did not want his arms and recovered after several months.

1845.x. Germany / B: Mt Watzmann
Two boys of twelve years wanted to observe the marmots as they often did. They were trained to climb over debris, when they saw on a stone, an animal they had never seen before. He had a flat head and a blunt tail and it was almost as long and as thick as a man's arm. The color was reddish. Boys do not recollect whether there were legs. When they started throwing stones at the animal, he ran, like an arrow, and continued spitting and making leaps of over three meters. A hunter told them later that they were lucky to have responded well and was never reprimanded again harm a 'Bergstutzen'.

1845.09. Austria / T: Pillersee / S.Ulrich / S.Adolari

For more than a month, a snake, measuring over four meters [feet?] long and about 13 centimeters thick vertically ondualnt, was seen several times by many people near the brook between the Street. Ulrich and the Street. Adalar, located 17 km northeast of Kitzbühel, Tyrol. It is blamed for the death of two sheep. He fired it twice but failed to wound him.


If you want all the other evidence I have collected let me know.

(For the latter case I doubt whether Tatzelwürm because more than 4 feet [meters?] seems huge to me.)

Subject: Re: Tatzelwurm Sun, April 13 - 12:43

1857.b. Austria / T: Wurmbachtal / Innsbruck

The Wurmbach, a small stream rises in the mountains of Nordkette, four kilometers north of Innsbruck, at 1,100 meters above sea level. During the 19th century, many people (1827.x., 1853.x.) claimed to have observed in this region the 'Murbl', a particular animal: 45 inches long and as thick as a man's thigh, reddish . Other people have confused with a 'Fatschenkind' because the roundness of his head was similar to that of a child.

1881.s. Austria / St: Mitterndorf

Two men climbed a rocky slope when suddenly one of them caught on a rock at the same level as its head, only 50 cm from him, a gray animal. At the same time the animal ran and crawled slowly into a small cave nearby. He was 60 inches long, as thick as a forearm and had a blunt tail. The skin was gray. Before a pair of short but powerful legs, about 2.5 inches long, stood out clearly from the body. It seemed that the animal had 2 or 3 other pairs of hind legs. The nose was apparently very large, very large eyes and prominent eyebrows.

1883-4.07. Austria / T: Mt Spielberg

An animal resembling a large lizard with a short tail, measuring about 30 centimeters long and as thick as a forearm was seen for 20 minutes from the mountain restaurant. The witness gave the animals a wide berth as he passed a threatening position, but has been observed for some time. It was affirmative on the fact that there was no hind legs. The skin was brown-green, smooth or finely scaly, his eyes bright and terrifying. The witness was sure he had not confused the animal with another animal known alpine.

1884.08.e. Austria / St: Gollingraben / Irning

A 13 year old boy was vacationing with his father on a mountain in the Alps. Goalkeeper cautioned the 'Bergstutz' who, according to rumors, bitten to death a year before the dairy 9). One day, while the boy, after seeking Edelweiss reached the bottom of a wall, a remote animal abominable about 2 meters had crawled towards him. It was 50-60 centimeters long, as thick as an arm and thinner towards the tail. He had two front legs turned backwards. No hind leg was not distinguished, although the boy has not refuted the possibility to their presence. The skin was bare, the color "brown reddish gray. What has particularly marked the young man was staring, aggression and how to spit and growl of the animal. No odor was noticed that the guardian has expressed the breath of the animal repellent. The boy runs away as fast as he could, leaving behind his shoes and his jacket, which the keeper had to look back later.

1893.s. Austria / U: Stodertal / Totes Gebirge

One summer day, a girl aged 17 walking his dog suddenly attacked an unknown animal who defended himself by hitting his tail around and spit. The girl feared for her dog threw a stone at the animal killing him immediately. She could look at it calmly. It was 30 to 35 centimeters long and thick four to five centimeters. The head was triangular and repulsively ugly with dark eyes and shiny. He had a long groove, very large nostrils and legs like a lizard, but more plump. The skin resembled that of a crocodile, with a color of dry earth, with raidesà kinds of hair back. The girl left the body where it was. His former teacher thought he should be a 'Bergstutz'.

1894.b. Austria / S: Ennstal, H. Lackner;

A professional hunter has stated in his Count Platz, owner near Radstadt, Salzburg, the next thing. The hunter was approaching a narrow bridge over the river Enns, when he became aware of a weasel on the other side, is also headed towards the bridge. Suddenly stopped the marten and the hunter could see why. In the middle of the bridge there was a kind of worm. The weasel ran towards the meadow nearby where the hunter could be observed to jump at times. She then returned with a root in the mouth and threw it on the Heckwurm, which disintegrated into pieces. Count warned the hunter to tell the truth, but he assured him on his honor that he had not lied.

1895.b. Austria / St: Donnersbachwald?, Housing;

Similar case. The horses refused to advance on a bridge. An animal like a worm was on a bridge connecting rods. While the truck was still undecided how to spend his horses, a ferret came with a leaf in the mouth. By keeping the worm, weasel began to whistle, whereupon the worm broke into several pieces.

1901.x. Austria / S: Upper Murtal

A farmer, looking for lost sheep, observed a 'Bergstutz' tan 15 paces from him. He had at least one meter long with a head like a cat, but with a wide mouth, a color like that of a toad or a lizard, no hair and no hind legs. the animal produced a whistle like that of a woodchuck, preparing to attack the witness who preferred to flee.

1907-8.s. Austria / St: Murau

One summer afternoon, a hunter had to go in a rocky area known for its multitude of snakes, to 1700 meters. Suddenly he heard strange sounds and when he looked toward the sound, he saw beside him in the bank, an animal resembling a worm, measuring between 40 to 50 centimeters long and black with yellow spots. The animal moved quickly build on its front legs and back, jumping on the hunter. Drawing his hunting knife, the hunter stepped back out of the fields'attaque, stabbing the animal at the same time four or five times. Severely wounded, the animal flees into a crevasse and several tries to get it out were unsuccessful. The head was large and in the teeth of mouth were bigger than those of a snake. The legs were short, smooth skin and very resistant. The length of the jumps of the animal was between two to three meters. The hunter was assumed that the reasons for the attack of the animal was probably to protect his offspring.

1908.s. Austria / T: Kufstein

The witnesses in this case Dr. Ing. Frauenfelder and his father Hermann, a professor of natural sciences. The men were in a wilderness area west of Kufstein, Tyrol, and climbed to a crevice. Suddenly interrupted his son in a hollow assension and they saw a tail of a reptile, 60 to 70 inches long protruding. The tail was 10 to 12 centimeters thick with a circular cross section. The two men seized the animal and tried to get out of the hole. But the thing has learned about the latter. They began to feel mysterious when they realized that this would be a pretty big animal to develop such a force. Yet the son tried to provoke him by hitting his tail, but without success. After ten minutes the animal had disappeared into the hole. The tail was cool to the touch, like a stiff cable and hard like a tire properly inflated. Witnesses felt that the animal had to be between 160 to 180 centimeters long. He did not crawl like a snake, that is to say, by the muscular contractions, but moved with the aid of its legs, although they can not see it. 'This was no winding movement, but a trailing' were later told by the witnesses. (Flu4/502-503).

1908.06.10 Austria / St: Mt Strickberg / Preuneggtal

The informant recalled that when he was a boy, he and his father had arrived in time to see a 'Bergstutzen' that had bitten a woodcutter, who was later killed. The woodcutter died despite the treatment he received. The animal had a length of between 30 to 35 centimeters long and was shaped like a large lizard with a head and a mouth wide enough. There was only one pair of legs, two inches behind the head. The animal was not hairy, but smooth and a dark, reddish-copper color. According to another source, which mentions the fatal outcome for the woodcutter, the animal was black and the front legs were slightly longer than those in the back '(which should claim that he had four legs) (Flu4 / 504.62).

1914.05. Yugoslavia / S: Dobrow / Postojna = Adelsberg

During a summer day, a soldier noticed a particular animal resembling a crocodile near a stone. Feeling threatened, the animal stood up on his legs, rolled his eyes and exposed teeth. It was between 25 to 35 centimeters long and three inches thick. The head was round with large reddish eyes. It had strong legs with long claws. The tail had a length of 20 centimeters (It is not clear whether it should be 20 centimeters counted or not additional). The body was gray and green, very scaly and had a peculiar smell. The soldier threw him his battle jacket, was packed inside and quickly closed the covers. At the same time the animal has croaked and cried horribly. Immediately a larger animal of the same kind appeared in the neighborhood. The soldiers, fearing an attack dropped his pack and threw stones at the animal which then disappeared, grumbling among the rocks. When the soldier showed the hold to his commander, he said, 'oh brother, fortune favors the foolish, the Tatzelwurm, the most dangerous and most venomous animal because of the surface of his skin' . For a while the animal was kept in a box. He ate mice, toads and snakes ring. Many area residents have considered a true Tatzelwürm. So we ordered the soldier to go to Bezirkshauptmannschaft Adelsberg (then an Austrian administrative district) where he was also regarded as a true and Specimens, as the witness thinks, probably killed. Two months later, war broke out and then the trace of this specimen was lost.

1914.s. Italy / TS: Marlinger Berg

In plowing, a farmer woke up an animal that jumped on his horse. The farmer tried to kill him with a whip improvised. At that time the animal made an incredible leap, disappearing behind a stone wall, 15 meters away without touching the ground between. The animal was 30 inches long, 5 inches thick and had a short tail. The head was round, like the frog. He had only two front legs that were still move simultaneously. The color was black with large yellow spots. The farmer never saw this kind of animal.

1914.07. Italy / TS: Braien / Tiersertal / Ritztal

A boy of nine and her younger brother and sister came across an unknown animal they had never seen before or after. He had a large head with eyes protruding, the rear body was short and it was maybe 50 inches long. 'It seemed that with a pointed head, the boy had said later. At both sides of the animal children have seen a green snake 90 cm long respectively, which were apparently struggling with the animal. The entire group moved through a field vanishing at the edge.

1920.f. Austria / T: Atterkar / Ötztal

Glacier Atter five km NE of S ö lden some hunters found a particular animal, partially frozen in the ice. They cut a leg from behind intending to use it as carrion for foxes. Back to S ö lden they repeated their discovery. After a few days an innkeeper and a hunter jumped up and tore the place the animal. It was a meter long with a skin, like a stockfish '. The head, as long as a hand had no ears. The full denture consisted of incisors and molars, with a hole between. Behind the head there was a sort of fine or gills as long as a finger and as wide as a hand. They appeared to replace missing front legs. The remaining back leg showed no development of a foot. The carcass was felt and smelled like a dried fish saltwater The innkeeper took the carcass to the house where he was allegedly seen by many native and foreign guests. Although he intends to bring in Innsbruck for a specialized examination he has forgotten several times. On July 31, 1921 her house was harmed by an error field. In the confusion during labor or the carcass has been lost.

1921. Austria / C: Maria Rain

A railway official has claimed several times to see animals with a head like a crocodile, but with six legs instead of four. The natives in the region have called 'Kuschke, 13). One day such an animal, a male, 14) was overwhelmed by a train and could be considered. The thing was 40 inches long and 35 millimeters thick. The head and back was blue, the abdomen gray, snake-like skin. In the mouth it was a lot has shown its teeth, two larger in the upper jaw and lower respectively. The eyes were large and yellow, the pupils of a cat like that. From this the informant concluded that the animals hunted for prey at night.

1921.s. Austria / S: Hochfilzenalm / Rauris

A poacher and a herdsman chased on a altidude above 2000 meters, when they saw on a rock looking at an animal "with a look scary, sharp, mesmerizing." The poacher, he immediately pulled over with his rifle. At this time the animal jumped incredible 3 meters high and 8 feet long to the men who fled. The animal was gray in color, 60 to 80 centimeters long and as thick as an arm. He had a head resembling that of cat and as large as a fist, no visible neck, tail thick, but tapering 'like a turnip' towards the end. The witnesses were sure that the animal had only two legs in front.

1922.a. Italy / TS: St.Pankraz / Ultental

A twelve year old daughter was playing in a wood. Suddenly his sister began to cry heavily. When she ran towards her she saw at a distance of two or three meters an animal she had never seen spirit to crawl between the stones. It looked like a giant worm, at least 30 centimeters long, with two legs behind the head and a gray color. The skin is not scaly, but had furrows like a worm. At first the children were so terrified they did not think to escape, but then they did then for fear that the animal back.

1924.x. Austria / S: Weisspriacher Lantschfeld / Murtal

A partial skeleton consisting of the occiput and dorsal vertebrae with ribs four to five inches long, measuring 1.20 meters long, was found. Much of the skeleton was intact, only missing the head, some vertebrae and tail tip. A veterinary student thought that this could be the skeleton of a doe. The informant, however, rejected this explanation because the small rib and the fact that the bones or pelvic or humeral or tail bones were found. At the point where the skeleton was discovered, two years later a shepherd boy of 12 years has claimed to have encountered a 'monster, at least two feet long' (1926).. The boy scared drums that never returned in this part of the Alps.

1927.s. Austria / S: Leogang Steinberge

Three loggers were observed an unknown animal about six feet away. Interviewed individually they gave the following description: about 50-60 inches long, as thick as an arm with sensitive teeth and a feline head, but without visible ears. The body had no hair, no scales, but on the head there were a few hairs. No hind legs were not seen. He was very aggressive and its appearance was frightening, especially the eyes. It hisses and spitting like a cat.

1927-8. Italy / TS: The "berhof / Flaas / tsch" gglberg

One evening late in fall, 1927 or 1928, when the sun had already set Reiterer just got up from the mill with a sack of flour on his back when he almost stepped on a worm 'is a stone from the path. Reiterer, by narrowing a step back, thought that the worm was asleep, but suddenly the thing run a 'Wappler, 16) and is mounted like a snake in a threatening position, sitting, like a cat on its tail 'in a way that less than half its lenght remained on earth. At the same time he turned to the farmer and now Reiterer clearly saw a number of legs on her abdomen. The front legs were bigger, others decreased in size towards the tail, the last being "as big as the teeth of a saw-mine '. The legs have been equipped with a number of toes. Reiterer, with his bag of flour has declined slowly, step by step, keeping a watchful eye on the worm. The latter was only 40 inches long, as thick as the arm of a boy and it was shaped like a wedge, with a small tail, fine finish. Strange head, 8 or 9 inches long and sitting square on the neck , thick and highly mobile inch or so in length. In the open act out a sharp tongue has been seen as an arrow, darting. Reiterer could not repeat if it was forked or not. He could not also see the ears, the body was bald, but rough as a large snail. The body color was a dark gray abdomen a little clearer. Reiterer could observe the worm for a while until it went sideways and disappeared into the bushes. The movement, like a salamander wound simultaneously with each foot on one side and then with all feet on the other '. The father visited Trafojer Reiterer again in 1944 and a third time in summer 1947. At his request Reiterer has produced two sketches, presentation of the animal in the plan view, on the other side. In the first seven or eight pairs of legs are shown, but only five in the second. Reiterer has not yet counted the legs, but he was positive that the entire underside of the animal had been equipped with them.

1929.04.l. Austria / U: Tempelmauer / Mt.Landsberg

A teacher seeking the entrance to a cave watched an animal about 40 to 45 inches long like a snake and about 2.5 inches thick. He had two legs. The head was flat, the skin almost white and smooth. The animal did not move and looked at the witness intently with his eyes. When he tried to capture the animal quickly disappeared into a hole nearby. The witness believed that this could have been a rare species of newt (or salamander).

1929.05.l. Austria / T: Igls / Innsbruck

In searching for lily of the valley observed a trader in a place frequented only 17), a 'Lindwurm'. The animal had a flat head, the snout is broader. His eyes resembled those of humans, black. The neck was recognizable, the anterior legs clearly visible, five inches long and turned inwards. No pairs of hind legs were seen. The total length was about 70 to 80 centimeters [27 to 36 inches] and about 5 inches thick. Its tail was blunt, the body of a gray color with brown below. When the observer approached, the animal is initially remained in his position watching it. He then turned and crawled slowly into the thicket two meters away. The observer returned several times over the next few days in the same place but never saw the animal.

1931.b. Austria / St: Gesaeuse-Mts.

A poacher has seen an animal at a distance of 10 meters and described as follows: "the 'Bergstutzen has a length of between 50 to 55 centimeters long and has a round head with short ears. The color is gray Dark, very dark back. He has only two front legs, large feet like a basset hound and his appearance is scary. It moves with the help of its tail, which is very thick. "

1933. Austria / C: Spittal / Drau

Workers removing a stone wall found in a hollow space, a strange animal accompanied by a number of snakes. He was 60 inches long, five to six inches thick, with a blunt tail. His head was like the cat with big eyes. The look has been described as scary, angry, by shooting the eye. Before he had two small feet; on hind the witness is not sure there were. The skin was dirty white with a yellow tint. It was as thick as the arm of a man with an estimated weight of five to seven kilograms. He was so terrified he launched into the stream.

1954 Italy / Palermo

Farmers near Palermo in Sicily observed an animal like a worm with two front legs and a head cat attacking pigs.

1969.08. Italy / TS: Lengstein

In summer 1969 a native of the region reported the observation of an animal 'as thick as a baby, 70 inches long with two legs. When the animal saw the witness he has inflated his neck. It would have been easy for the witness to enter but did not dare, for fear that the animal is poisonous. A lady from Hannover, Germany, an academic and a zoologist, claimed to have seen the footprints of the animal.

A couple of people have been attacked near Rauris Austria with a tatzelwurm who jumped 9 feet (2.75m) into the air toward them. It was 2 to 3 feet long (between 60 and 90 cm), was gray and had a head like a cat.

In the 1980s and 1990s have seen several times this animal and a skeleton was found.

another hoax like this photo taken in 1934 by a photographer named Balkin, near Meiringen.


Subject: Re: Tatzelwurm Tues April 15 - 20:28
Interestingly all these stories, where are you?
Are there still has today? And what of "Austria"?

The description varies tatzelwurm still not bad according to circumstances, some points anyway:
Color-for example, but it just easily explained
-The number of feet: sometimes there are 2, others 4, see carément throughout the body It would be possible for example that males and females have 4 and 2?
-The shape of the head of a snake once ok it makes sense, but a head of a cat? Everyone knows what a cat so it must be used to reason but ... (If I ever seen a sea monster described this way: a sort of snake-headed cat)
It is also the presence or absence of hair, ears, gills ...
Anyway it looks like the "tatzelwurm" actually includes several species.

If not what intrigues me is a beast with only two front legs, attrophiées more, she can physically make leaps as described in the testimony?

And some stories are quite bizarre, especially with the weasels (the 2nd I understood nothing).


Yes sorry I readdressed the translation today.

About the site I found all these stories I search for 2 days. I would put the source once found.

Concerning your questions Tahra I am working on it to see if there is no more money or try to link male / female, young / old people, reasons for aggression, etc. ....

Furthermore we should not place undue reliance on the "cat's head." Example: we speak of the sea horse as he has a head resembling a horse or a camel, but this does not mean it is of this species.

ArTaB @ N

Subject: Re: Tatzelwurm Thurs, April 17 - 17:20

What I notice is that 219 years (1750-1969) there is a large majority of onset for Austria. Of a total of 35 appearances there for the same 25 countries and 34 for the same massive (the Alps). This is huge ... well I think.

A reptile can live as high as 2000m above sea level?

Custodian of the land
Subject: Re: Tatzelwurm Fri, April 18 - 11:47

I would say even more especially the northwestern part of Austria.

But there would be no harm in Scandinavia where scientists could meet nearly 60 stories about it (source on another site I'm looking too - damn pc is crashing). If these testimonies Scandinavian proved, would show a connection between one of the names of the animal - the Lindwurm - with Lindorm of Scandinavian mythology.

Regarding the cases of weasels who allegedly killed a Tatzelwürm, we can say, with caution of course, this may be the predator in their natural environment.


Perhaps it is something like this?

Tatzelwurm as represented in an Almanac in 1841

Mexican Two-Legged Worm Lizard (about a foot long)

Brazilian Worm Lizard, Amphisbaena alba, up to three feet long.

A type of Amphisbaenid as large as the Brazilian species but including the two forelegs as in the Mexican species would be most like the two-legged Tatzelwurm reports. It would be darker in colour than either of these species, a sort of grey or brown. It would be a burrowing animal and sometimes startled by rooting pigs, dogs, or plowing farmers. It would not be poisonous but it would have a nasty bite. Furthermore, Amphisbeanids have an unusual spine which allows for vertical undulations and they can unexpectedly "Spring up" like a striking snake.

This is because of a type of locomotion called comcertina movement: the coils of the body are gathered up and then the animal flings itself forward to an anchoring point and gathers up its coils again. "Leaping" snakes (such as the ones doing this in trees) are actually using this type of locomotion. So it seems to witnesses as if the Amphisbaena has leaped the length of its body vertically or horizontally according to the direction it take. This takes a lot of strength for the animal to do suddenly and so when it is "Coiling and Uncoiling" in this fashion it is presumably in a panic. Apparently when people see this, THEY go into a panic.

The name Amphisbaena means "can go either way" in Greek and is thought to relate to the animal's odd locomotion, which can include also caterpillar-like crawling. The Greeks said the Amphisbeana lined in Libya, North Africa. No known species lives there now, perhaps the Tatzelwurms once had a now-extinct relative which lived in that region.

Skull of Worm lizard showing sharp teeth.

World Range of Amphisbaenids after Wikipedia, adding twolegged Tatzelwurms as red squares.

The Tatzelwurm reports would make a minor extension of the known range of such creatures. Incidentally, Amphisbaenas are evidence for a former TransAtlantic landbridge because of this peculiar distribution.

A statistical analysis of all Tatzelwurm reports shows several distinct patterns that are internally consistent but mutually contradictory.

I had made a statistical analysis of all of the Tatzelwurm reports at hand in the early 1990s and submitted my report to PURSUIT but the report was never published. The data had been taken from reports already published in PURSUIT by that time. Roughly half of the reports remark on the head being round, broad and flat but about 12% say it is more like a cat's head and another 12% say it is like the head of a frog. Ulrich Magin states that the overall shape is compared to that of a lizard nine times and a salamander or newt four times; it is also compared to a "Snake or worm" on many occasions. I assume comparisons to the shape of a crocodile go into the lizard category. The eyes are lidless and staring, usually dark in colour but red or yellow once or twice, and commonly compared to a snake's eyes or a cat's eyes. A few witnesses could not see any eyes on the head. "Annulations" on the belly like an earthworm or a caterpillar are mentioned rarely. Slightly over 1/3 of the cases mentioned a mottled appearance. The colour is usually grey or brown, or grey-brown, and ranges from a very light grey or "White" (or silver-grey) to very dark or "Black." the colour can be mixed with yellowish or greenish. The tail is blunted but flattened from side to side and taller than it is wide. Slightly over 1/3 of the reports specify that the tail is blunted.

A poisonous bite is stated 15% of the time, the skin is said to be poisonous (and caustic to the touch) 10% of the time, and a very bad smell (or "Poisonous exhalations") is noted about 10% of the time, probably a strong odor of stale urine or ammonia fumes. a pointed or forked tongue is rarely mentioned.

Basically the reports either specify a certain number of legs or they do not specify a definite number, but of the reports which specify a number of legs the reports which say the animal has four legs are the majority. Very few reports also say either no legs at all or extra pairs of legs. Furthermore, the proportions differ in the nuber of legs reported by Geography: the two-legged reports are more common in the South, in Italy and Spain, while in Austria both types of reports occur. a seal-like locomotion is sometimes mentioned with the belly dragging on the ground, but also the creatures are sometimes said to undulate vertically. Leaping is reported 20% of the time, said to be preceeded by a trembling motion, recoiling, humping the back and then uncoiling to spring in the air. One reported leap of three meters high and eight meters long seems so very large that the statement is suspicious. Ordinarily the creatures seem to jump upwards only as far as its whole length on the ground.

Ulrich Magin felt the Tatzelwurm was built much like a Giant salamander and my analysis of the given dimensions tends to confirm that idea. A Tatzelwurm's height at its shoulder is about 1/6 of its length. Its width at the shoulder is more like 1/5 of its length and the body thickness (vertically measured) is 1/10 its length behind the shoulder, becoming cylindrical at about the hips. The rounded head is about 1/5 the length of the whole creature and it is nearly as broad. The neck follows after that and appears as a small constriction. The two forelegs are bowed, like a bulldog's legs and are set apart from each other by nearly the whole breadth of the shoulder area. When the hind legs can be seen, the tail is estimated at an average 1/3 of the overall length: since the hind legs are not always made out, estimates vary between 1/2 to 1/4 of the whole length being the tail.

The Average Tatzelwurm would be between 50 and 80 cm long (around two feet long with a range from 18 inches to two feet six), with a smaller peak of estimates at 30 cm long (one foot) wiyth a larger series of estimates at a meter to a meter and a half long and the largest estimates at two meters or so (about six feet: most experts feel that allegations stating twelve feet long or more must be exaggerations) The average would also be 10 cm wide and 5 cm thick (4 inches broad at the shoulder and 2 inches thick at the belly) There seems to be another Geographic difference in that some of the two-legged series ae markedly longer and thinner overall, basically cylindrical, and reported more often in the Southern regions. These are almost always two or three feet long, rarely larger. One estimate of a Tatzelwurm's weight is in the realm of 10-15 pounds but the more usual average would be 25 to 50 pounds, with the big ones weighing a hundred or two hundred pounds.

At the point of estimating sizes, another interesting fact emerges: the larger ones are seen in and around brooks or lakes more often, and in caves where they are said to breed in underground streams. And the smalles ones are said to do most of the jumping and whistling, and sometimes said to have sparse hair or whiskers.

Giant Salamander skull and (Below) the whole skeleton. The teeth may look very small and fragile but the mouth is very large indeed and so the bite is dangerous. Males sometimes decapitate rival males in combat over females because theit bite is so fearsome.

Museum mount of Andrias Giant salamander skeleton from Russian Wikipedia. The Faked Tatzelwurm skeleton shown up above is probably modelled parly after such a skeleton. Some giant salamanders in certain locations mat suffer mineral deficiencies which result in a more cartiliginous skeleton in adulkthood, hence less likely to leave any physical remains of note. The Alps are just such a region where the mineral deficiencies would occur.

Painting of a Water-Monster of Northern Europe-Similar depictions of Irish "Piasts" and smaller "Water-dragons of Poland and the Baltic countries, and the Balkans. The giant salamanders are called "The old man that lives in the Waters" in these areas as well as in Chinese Folklore, and some of the Chinese ones are said to have barbels like Catfish whiskers.

Japanese Giant Salamander exhibit at the Smithsonian Zoo. Illustrating the size of such creatures, which can grow to almost six feet in length.

Model of a large Tatzelwurm by a German Cryptozoologist and taken out of the discussion reproduced above. The Chinese giant salamanders are able to hold their little legs close to the body in such a way that either the hind legs or all of the legs can escape detection by witnesses. In this way, the witnesses' inconsistacy as to whether the Tatzelwurms have only one pair of legs, two pair, or even many pairs at the bottom can be explained ("Tatzelwurm" also means "Centipede")

Chinese Giant Salamander going ashore and not showing its hind limbs tucked under.

Range Map for Giant Salamanders (Andrias) Also showing locations for Cenozoic fossils in Europe and North America. The fossils in Europe include some very famous examples that used to be illustrated in all of the older Natural History books (the Homo diluvi testis, "Man who witnessed the Flood").

Tatzelwurm artwork from an amateur Cryptozoology site and describing it as "Probably based on mistaken sightings of Giant salamanders and Mangey otters" Mangey mustelids are likely, but probably not only one species. However, there is a distinct series of Tatzelwurm reports featuring short ears, a face like a cat, sparse hair on top, whiskers and otherwise "Ugly" skin texture and overall appearance. It is found as the dead bodies freaturing a mammal's differentiated molars and foreteeth, which would not ordinarily refer to any reptile or salamander.
It is also reported as making great leaps and climbing trees occasionally. So basically we are in the category of European Chupacabras. The reports of this type confusingly included in with the reports of the other types run at least as far back as 1811.

Sconherr, Luis, "The Tatzelwurm-Mythical Animal or Reality?" PURSUIT Vol 22, No. 1, Whole No. 85, Pages 6-10

Magin, Ulrich, "European Dragons: the Tatzelwurm" in PURSUIT Vol. 19,No. 1, Whole No. 73, Pages 16-22
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  1. The last category of reports here illustrates the dangers of including ALL of the reports in one category together. Ulrich Magin included some of these reports in his PURSUIT article and thus he came up with a creature much the same size and shape as a giant salamander but with "Possible sparse hair or whiskers"-Obviously those reports did not belong, and the reports of skeletons with mammalian dentition did not belong either.

    Incidentally, after separating the reports into the two-legged and four-legged categories, the two-legged reports tend to represent smaller animals that line in warmer regions, lower elevations and to the South (nonetheless, I see no problem for some of them to be present in Austria and Bavaria-or even Southern Sweden if the reports should tend in that direction. For the time being, I don't think the Swedish reports mean the same thing) However another consideration is that the Giant salamanders are hardier animals that can live in much colder climates and in mountainous areas.

    Pliny and other Ancients also said that the Amphisbaena had bright eyes like a cat, was venomous at either end, was a "Glass snake" that could be cloven in half and rejoin and was more resistant to cold weather than other snakes. The part about the eyes was denied by Nicander, who said the eyes were dull: some depictions did indeed show the Libyan (or Numidian) Amphisbeana with two little clawed feet.

    The actual Amphisbaena does indeed have the "Glass Snake" ability to drop its tail when captured and then regrow the lost tail. The part about its ability to withstand cold (and to be curative against Chilblains) might be due to knowledge of the European kind-and the information makes no sense when speaking about an animal supposedly living in the Sahara desert. Yet the bestiaries state the Amphisbaena also comes out of hibernation before the other reptiles. The bestiaries also state that they eat large quantitiesants: I don't doubt that they do eat large numbers of ants and termites, as well as snails and other invertebrates, but they are predators that will eat frogs, smaller lizards, and even small mammals. Some of the stories make out that they eat dead human bodies but I suppose that is just for nastiness. One thing to be noted, though, is that the real Amphisbaena lizards can bite pieces out of their food and take chunks out at a time, unlike true snakes which cannot bite and must swallow their prey whole.

    In the case of the Sicilian creature illustrated, I really think the pig had dug the creature up while rooting in the ground but then the "Tatzelwurm" bit down with its jaws and began thrashing around with its body. This might have alarmed unwary pigs as well as their keepers. Pigs will normally eat snakes found when rooting which is probably how the predicament got started in the first place.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  2. These also sound alot like the "giant serpents" described by Marco Polo!

  3. Interesting comment, I had not considered that possibility myself. Thank you for your contribution.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.

  4. Thanks to have written the source. I am the admin on this french forum and the writter of this article (Yofri).

    I had all these witnesses from a german website but i can't find it.

    For me, i think like Heuvelmans and think that this animal is a 2 legs lizards like the sheltopusik.


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