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Tuesday, 17 May 2011

PNW Giant Salamander

While trolling on the internet search for Giant Salamander photos, I came upon this site with a traditional drum design from the Pacific Northwest Coast illustrating a Thunderbird and a Giant Salamander (which looks as if it is meant to have small ears)
The piece is said to be rare because the Giant Salamander design is not commonly used.

Native Drum Thunderbird and Giant Salamander
Anthony Joseph
An octagonally shape drum, handmade from wood and hide. The master painter Anthony Joseph has painted the traditional design of a thunderbird and a giant salamander, which is rare and uncommon in art and mythology. The Drum comes with a handmade drum stick, made from wood, fur, and leather.

Colour: red, black, white
Materials: Natural Hide, Wood, Fur, Leather
Age: 2010
Dimensions: 10(diam.)x1.5(d) in.

$390.00 CAD ($400.65 USD)

"Canadian Alligators", or more likely giant salamanders, are reported from both the Great Lakes region and in British Columbia since the 1800s. Ivan Sanderson makes a mention of them in his book on Abominable Snowmen and he apparently thought they were giant salamanders rather than alligators, although his opinion does not seem to have been made in print during his lifetime. A number of Cryptozoological sources online speak of them, including the one following:

Poof! Mysterious B.C. gator-like creature vanishes

VANCOUVER – Was it a prehistoric lizard on the brink of extinction, or an ordinary hoax?

No one’s sure, but a small alligator spotted in a ravine at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., has mysteriously vanished.

“It’s become a wild goose chase,” said Paul Springate, the animal shelter curator who was tracking the renegade reptile.

“I don’t want to call it a hoax, so maybe the better term is ‘mistake.’ Some security guards saw it splashing in the water, but we think it may have just been beavers.”

But Barrie Alden, former director of the B.C. Wildlife Federation in the Lower Mainland, said the alligator may be a creature he’s been tracking since the 1970s.

“This is still in the realm of the sasquatch, but the ancient stories and my research confirm it,” the ardent amateur cryptozoologist said.

“These reptiles – small alligators or large salamanders – keep appearing …Mark my words, one of these days, someone’s going to discover a new species and it will explain everything.”

But whatever it was, the mysterious creature is most likely dead now, Springate said.

Traps set last week were untouched, and there were no further sightings in a week of slogging and splashing through the ravine.

Vancouver ProvinceCanWest News Service

The earliest recollection of alligators can be found in Charles Flood’s writings. In 1915, Flood, Donald MacRae and Green Hicks saw what they described as black alligators in the Holy Cross mountains of British Columbia.

We do not have alligators or crocodiles in BC, but we are said to have a species of black salamander here which is far larger than any known species. Our sporadically seen amphibian is 6 to ten feet long and has been seen in a variety of lakes, most recently as 2004.

As for prehistoric lizards, Warren Scott is supposed to have captured three horned lizards in the 1970s somewhere near Pitt Lake. These were allagedly of an unknown species, but Scott has made some unsubstantiated outlandish claims about discovering a lost valley with hot springs, lush vegetation and plants north of Pitt Lake which no one has ever reported before. He also claimed to have been kidnapped by sasquatches a la Albert Ostman, so his credibility is somewhat lacking.

We do have a horned lizard in BC called the Pigmy Short-horned Lizard or Phrynosoma douglasi douglasi but sightings are rare and the last one was seen in Osoyoos in 1998 some 250 miles from Pitt Lake. None of our other lizards could be remotely described as horned.

Trinity Western University is notthat far away from Cultus Lake in Chilliwack where cryptid black salamanders are said to dwell. Could one of the Cultus Lake brood have made it as far as Langley? Perhaps.

It seems the Trinity Western subject has managed to get away to swim another day, but I agree with Barrie that one of these days we will get a specimen that will put an end to the mystery of this cryptid and perhaps the giant salamanders of the Trinity Alps in California which is directly south along the Cascade Mountains from here.

If you have seen any cryptid in British Columbia report it to the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club at

[It seems that some of the Siberian reports ogf Giant Salamanders do mention catfish-like barbels or whiskers and some of the known Chinese Giant salamanders are also said to have them (Grizmek). My explanation for the "Horns" is that some of the North American Giant salamanders similarly have the barbels. "Horned Giant Lizards or Salamanders" are also supposed to live on both sides of the Ohio River, in Ohio and Kentucky, according to Mark A. Hall, and some of them are also said to be pink. Ivan Sanderson separately saw a "Large pink Hellbender" on a pond in his farm in New Jersey, and there have been other reports as far south as South Carolina. Giant Salamanders in the Orient also have the pink colour phase. Most of these matters are mentioned in Eberhart, George, Mysterious Creatures (2002), under the headings of "Canadian Alligator", "Giant North American Lizard" and "Pitt Lake Lizard"]


  1. The name of the "Alligator" or Giant Salamander on the drum is most likely the same as the "Alligator" reported at sea as mentioned in the reposted blog appended to "Dr. Shuker's Leviathan" the way the two creatures are represented is similar. However, Salamanders do not live in salt water, and the saltwater "Alligator" is said to grow much larger.

    I had a giant salamander in my own backyard, see the article link above.

  3. Thank you very much for posting your link. I think it is important enough to make a follow-up blog to this one and indicating your sighting. Watch for it, it is coming soon: and please do not hesitate to write me with any more information or if I should have inadvertantly caused you trouble by posting it.

    Best Wishes, Dale D.


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