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Monday, 2 April 2012

Some More Notes on "Cadborosaurus"

The Lord Geekington produced the drawing at the top illustrating the various sightings of "Cadborosaurus" and complaining that the reports did not paint a consistent picture and do not belong together. And little wonder: there are different recognisable species of creatures gathered together here that are not consistent and do not belong together. The thing to do at this point is make some determinations about which reports go together and which do not, rather than throw up your hands in defeat and say "It's impossible." The Lord Geekington's enumeration of "Cadborosaurus" traitsis entry together with all the links to this prolonged series of articles. And his basic purpose is good-the key elements used to create the bogey category "Cadborosaurus willsi" and its cornerstone accounts-the "Baby Caddy" captured by Captain Hagelund  and the decayed carcass pulled out of a whale's belly do not go with the rest and they do not paint any reaklistic picture of any realistic creature. So what are we left with? In the chart above I have indicated drawings which seem to me to have identifying traits of Moose reports (one "string of buoys" report is "?M" as being a possible swimming moose) to have a configuration close to an elephant seal as "ES" and the rest are fairly consistent Plesiosaur-shaped "Cadborosaurs" listed as C 1-5. The differences in the last category can mostly be put down as the witness' lack of artistic ability more than anything else.

Kelly Nash video

In 2009, fisherman Kelly Nash purportedly filmed several minutes of footage featuring ten to fifteen (including young) creatures in Nushagak Bay. In 2011, a very short segment of the footage was shown on the Discovery TV show Hilstranded, where the Hilstrand brothers (from Deadliest Catch) apparently saw Nash's footage and

Interesting Sighting Details of the Cadborosaurus
Biologist Edward L. Bousfield and Oceanography Professor Paul H. Leblond describe the Cadborosaurus as a large snake like creature that inhibits the waters of Vancouver Island and the northern Olympic Peninsula. The creature was also sighted in the nearby waters between Oregon and Alaska.
The Cadborosaurus are described by the local people and the witnesses as a "sea serpent" that is more or less fifteen meters in length. It is akin to the popular Loch Ness Monster of Scotland based on its snake-like body. Its head appears to resemble that of a horse, sheep, or camel with slightly elongated features.
Almost a third of its body is regarded as the Cadborosaurus' neck. It is said to have a pair of both anterior and posterior flippers which are nearly fused to its body. Accentuated with body loops that are arranged in tandem series, the Cadborosaurus is blessed with extra ordinary swimming speed and flexibility. Its tail is often described as spiky.
Called by many locals as "Caddy", its name came from the spot where it is commonly sighted - the Cadboro Bay in Victoria, British Columbia. According to witnesses, the color of the Cadborosaurus ranged from dark green to a grayish brown. Its eyes that nestled on its head were observed to be as big as a third of the whole cranium.
Actually, not quite a third. But one can easily see why
a witness might say that of a Plesiosaur's skull

The tale of the Cadborosaurus cannot be displaced as just a legend as more than a hundred sightings of the creature has been reported over the last two hundred years.

Tradtionally, the creature corresponding most to the Cadborosaurus is the Sea-Serpent Sisiutl. It has been the subject of an earlier blog in which it was suggested that its peculiat design was a way of depicting a conventionalized Plesiosaur shaped creature, where the head and tail looked snaky while the body looked like a tutle's body with four flippers (hence both the head and tail ends were shown as "Snakes" while the turtlelike body was shown by the conventionalized mask in the middle. And there is sometimes the indication of what looks like Euryapsid skull openings behind the eyesexamples above and below (this was also mentioned in the earlier discussion)
Sisiutl-Rattle, one-snaky-necked "Plesiosaur" design
Standing Wave in Water
The majority of ALL string-of-buoys or hump train reports worldwide are now and have always been due to the standing wave phenomenon. I have specifically mentioned this before in regards to the Swimming moose reports, but the pattern is the same no matter what it is that is causing the wave.

I mentioned in an  earlier blog that in the Cadborosaurus reports from the 1930s it was possible for a witness to assume he was looking at a creature shaped like Oudemans' composite Sea-serpent while a different witness could assume he was looking at a version at much reduced linear dimensions (second below) in that case I was referring to the Kemp report, the illustration of which dominates Lord Geekington's composite Cadborosaurus sightings comparison at top. Upon analysis, it has a lot in common with Oudemans' reconstructon but the length of the individual segments is much less, especially including the tail. I consider the Kemp report to be a good representation of the generally Plesiosaur-shaped creature we are dealing with worldwide and which is the basic Cadborosaurus as well as what most people mean by the term "Loch Ness Monster"--Rupert T gould thought the same when he mentioned the report in his book on the Loch Ness Monster in the mid-1930s

Incidentally and in case it needs to be said, "Cadborosaurus willsi" is an invalid taxon and the name is now useless for anything else. If the British Columbian costal species of Longnecks shall prove to be an independant species, we shall have to find a new name for it now."Cadborosaurus willsi" names an unidentifiable and long-since-discarded corpse, and not any kind of Sea-serpent at all.

Typical "Horseheaded/String of Buoys" early-Cadborosaurus report, much the same as many "Ogopogo" reports being made about the same time but several hundred miles inland and all across Canada.

Two illustrations showing the "Horseheaded" or "Camel-like" types of "Cadborosaurus" reports. In both cases the original reference seems to have been to swimming moose reports. The lower drawing is by Pristichampsus (Tim Morris), an artist whose work is often run here and is appreciated here.
As discussed at length in earlier blogs, the characteristic long-and-low, string-of-buoys maned Sea-serpent most often refers to a sighting of a swimming moose, and places where such reports are common include Scandinavia, the Canadian East Coast and the Canadian West Coast

Date: 1998
Source: Blackman, W. Haden. The Field Guide To North American Monsters. New York: Crown Publishers, 1998.
This juvenile Caddy (10 to 12 feet) was found in the belly of A sperm whale. Some reports credit him (full grown?) with a 100 foot length.[This is the carcass of some unidentified sea creature and it is useless for identification. Whatever it is, it has nothing to do with the rest of the reports-DD] 

In editing Blackman's article on the Cadboro Bay Sea Serpent the creature is described in general terms as follows: the cadborosaur, popularly known as Caddy, is a sea serpent reputed to live in Cadboro Bay, between Vancouver Island and the Mainland of British Columbia.
Like all sea serpents it is long and thin but it also has two [four] large flippers, and a jagged crest which is frequently mistaken for a mane that possibly provides him with ballast.[??]
Its head is usually described as "horselike", it has a slender neck about two-and-a-half feet thick, and has been reported as being of various colours. [@100 feet, at 50 feet this is 15 inches, which is the usual proportion reported in other Longnecks. The Daedalus SS of 1848 was supposed to have a neck at 15 or 16 inches thick, at a length of 50-60 feet long. This creature was also maned-DD]
According to reports from sightings, like all aquatic reptiles it is extremely well suited to high-speed travel. Large portions of its body have been seen that have given the impression of its having several, snakelike, humps or coils and, like all wild animals, whenever it is approached it immediately dives and disappears. [The humps or coils are the standing wave effect of the wake-DD]
It has been described as having everything from a horrific to a loveable face. It has no visible ears but his nostrils are well defined and it has a long beard and whiskers.[On the MOOSE Sightings!]
His bulbous, black eyes are said to cast a reddish / green glow (?) under certain conditions. It is reported to have eight-inch fangs[@100 feet long, teeth are thus .75% of total length, a figure in line with other Sea-serpent estimates. But if the creature is really only 50 feet long, the teeth are then "Only" four inches long], rows of sharp, fishlike teeth, and a snake-like tongue [Long and protrusable, but only one point].
However, despite appearances, Caddy has yet to have posed a danger to humans, or to other animals, although, in 1934 a witness observed him swallowing a wounded duck.
Nevertheless, his diet is thought to consist largely of kelp and other sea plants, which is only occasionally supplemented by fish and waterfowl.[NO, this is not the common assumption. The common assumption is the creature eats fish and waterfowl. Traditionallyy, it has been associated in association with salmon runs-DD]
Caddy's existence has been part of the folklore and legends of the Chinook Indians for many hundreds of years but, when it was first documented by white settlers in the mid-1920s, it was called the "Sea Hag," because of the fear it inspired.
In 1933, Archie Wills, the editor of the Victoria Times, began promoting the beast as a local mascot. It sponsored a "name the monster" contest and selected "cadborosaurus" from the entries.
Caddy, as it quickly became known, was promptly adopted by the residents of Cadboro Bay and the surrounding areas. His most recent sighting was in 1997 (1998 article).
Ernest Lee, who hunted for Caddy throughout the 1940s, can attest to the locals' undying affection for their creature. In the spring of 1943, Lee rammed the hapless serpent twice with his motorboat.
After being struck on the second occasion, Caddy stopped moving and sank below the surface, presumably dead.
If it had not emerged just two weeks later, the public outrage over the monsters' death might have cost Lee his freedom or even his life.
Despite the fact that Caddy has resisted capture, more than enough evidence suggests that the creature does exist. The number of sightings tends to prove his existence, and the list of people who have spotted him include civic dignitaries and respected citizens.

In August 1932, F.W. Kemp, an official at the Provincial Library of Victoria, saw the beast; in October of the following year, Major W.H. Langley, a clerk of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly and a well-known barrister and amature marine biologist, also glimpsed the creature.

Judge James Thomas Brown, who had spent over thirty years as the highly respected Chief Justice of the King's Bench in Saskatchewan, observed Caddy from a distance of less than 150 yards.
Caddy sightings are still more impressive when observed by groups of witnesses. In February 1953, for example, at least ten people watched for over an hour as it cavorted throughout Qualicum Bay, halfway up the east coast of Vancouver Island north of Victoria.
The following February, near Nanaimo, it repeated this performance for a group of more than thirty people. Such sightings are difficult to dismiss as hoaxes or mass hallucinations and have inspired a handful of scientists to investigate the creature.
Marine scientists Paul LeBlond, from the University of British Columbia, and E.L. Bousfield, from the Royal British Columbia Museum have determined that Caddy is an enormous reptile with mammalian traits.

They have also been credited with baptizing it with its scientific name, Cadborosaurus willsi, and in December 1992 Bousfield notified the American Society of Zoologists of its existence.
The efforts of researchers such as Bousfield and LeBlond have also unearthed sightings of a variety of cadborosaurus that lacks both whiskers and a visible crest.This creature, dubbed Amy, is believed to be Caddy's mate. The female serpent is smaller, reaching only sixty feet or so, has darker [dull gray] skin, and has been much more elusive. [Halving the given lengths yields a much more reasonable 50 feet long for the male-maximum-and thirty feet long for the female-typical] Caddy and Amy have evidently produced offspring. Captain Bill Hagelund reported capturing an infant cadborosaurus while fishing in Pirate's Cove in 1968. The small, eel-like creature was sixteen inches long and roughly one inch in diameter. Its lower jaw contained a full complement of tiny, sharp teeth. It also had underdeveloped flippers, a spade-shaped tail, and a layer of yellow fuzz on its underbelly.
Captain Hagelund had thought of taking the baby monster to scientists at the Pacific Biological Station, in Departure Bay, but it became afraid that the serpent's frantic efforts to escape would result in its death. In consequence he released it back to the wild.
Unfortunately, not all of Caddy and Amy's offspring have been so fortunate; several cadborosauri have been shot at by frightened fishermen but the body was never recovered.
The species, cadborosaurus, appears to be preyed upon by other sea creatures. In October 1937 the corpse of a young cadborosaurus was extracted from a sperm whale's stomach. It was taken to Naden Harbour whaling station in the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the northwest coast of British Columbia, where it was extensively studied but where only three photographs were apparently taken.
Although decay prevented a more thorough description of the creature's exterior, the rotting mass was roughly ten feet long, possessed a horselike head, and had a snakelike body.
Unfortunately, as with so many reported finds of monsters and other creatures of the unexplained, this corpse also disappeared before a reliable study could be made.
However, while the famed "Caddy corpse" has vanished, the living creature still appears to be alive and well. In 1996 there were over a dozen sightings of him and, in June 1997, it was spotted in a much publicized encounter when it surfaced near Desolation Sound, in the middle of Vancouver Island's east coast.
All people are urged to keep a lookout for Caddy. It has been known to roam throughout the entire Pacific Northwest Coast but it appears to prefer the security of Cadboro Bay, where it might be most commonly expected to be seen.
If you see him always approach him slowly, using every effort to avoid startling or confusing him. Don't make sudden movements and don't attempt to touch him. Keep a comfortable distance between you and always leave him with an escape route.
Never approach within one hundred feet of a small animal, as the parent may interpret this as an attack on its offspring and will surely attack in its defense.  

 There is a minority of "Cadborosaurus" sightings that seem to indicate large white sturgeons seen at sea, as this drawing from Kaijulord at Deviant Art seems to indicate.-DD
[Some additional illustrations were added below]
"Cadborosaurus willsi", nicknamed Caddy, is an alleged sea serpent reported to be living on the Pacific Coast of North America. Its name is derived from Cadboro Bay in Victoria, British Columbia, and the Greek root word "saurus" meaning lizard or reptile. Reports describe it as being similar in form and behavior to various popularly named lake monsters such as "Ogopogo" of Okanagan Lake in British Columbia and to the Loch Ness Monster of Scotland.
Creatures identified as Cadborosaurus

Sea lion

In 1943 two police officers, Inspector Robert Owens and Staff Sergent Jack Russell saw a “huge sea serpent with a horse like head” in Georgia Strait. Later “with a pair of binoculars Sgt. Russell saw that the strange apparition was a huge bull sea lion leading a herd of six sea lions…Their undulations as they swam appeared to form a continuous body, with parts showing at intervals as they surfaced and dived. To the naked eye, the sight perfectly impersonated a sea monster.” [2]

Giant oarfish

There have been suggestions that Caddy could be an example of the king of herrings or giant oarfish (Regalecus glesne). This species can reach 7 m in length and weigh up to 300 kg; some think the red mane on the head and back of the giant oarfish resembles a horse head with mane. A modern illustration by David John, "based on LeBlond/Bousfield composite and eyewitness accounts" shows Caddy with a red mane.[3]
"They're long and silvery and they undulate like a serpent would as they swim through the water," said H.J. Walker, a senior museum scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which has several oarfish in its collection. [4]

Basking shark

The carcass of a decomposing basking shark is often mistaken for Caddy and has fooled experts and laymen.[1] A rotting basking shark may resemble a decomposing plesiosaur.[5] The Plesiosaur shape is mistaken for Caddy[Also asumed to have a Plesiosaur shape-DD].

First Nations accounts

A native image that fits Caddy's description has been traditionally used throughout Alaska. The image indicates that Caddy or a Caddy-like creature moves north to Vancouver when the waters warm. The Inuit of Alaska have even put the picture on their canoes to keep the creature away. The Cadborosaurus is called "hiyitl'iik" by the Manhousat people who live on Sydney Inlet, "T'chain-ko" in Sechelt mythology, and "Numkse lee Kwala" by the Comox band of Vancouver Island.[1]


There have been more than 300 claimed sightings during the past 200 years, including Deep Cove in Saanich Inlet, and Island View Beach, both like Cadboro Bay also on the Saanich Peninsula, also British Columbia, and also at San Francisco Bay, California.[1]


Carcasses associated with Cadborosaurus

  • 1930: On November 10 at Glacier Island near Valdez a skeleton was found in ice. The skeleton was 24 feet long with flippers. Some of the remains were preserved in Cordova for scientific study. Creature thought to be a whale but undetermined.[7]
  • 1934: In November on Henry Island near Prince Rupert, badly decomposed remains about 30 feet long found. Dr. Neal Carter examined the remains. Creature identified as basking shark.[8]
  • 1937: In October a purported Cadborosaurus carcass was retrieved from the stomach of a sperm whale in Naden Harbour and photographed. A sample of this carcass was sent to the BC Provincial Museum, where it was identified as a fetal baleen whale by museum director Francis Kermode.[9][10]
  • 1941: A carcass called “Sarah the sea hag” was found on Kitsilano Beach. W.A. Clemens and I. McTaggert-Cowan identified it as a shark.[11]
  • 1947: In December at Vernon Bay, Barkley Sound, Vancouver Island a 45 foot creature was found. It was identified as a shark.[12]
  • 1950: In Delake, Oregon a creature was found with 4 tails and thick hair. It was identified as a whale shark.[13]
  • 1956: Somewhere near Dry Harbour south of Yakutat, Alaska a 100 foot long carcass was found with two inch long hair. Trevor Kincaid is quoted as saying “description fits no known creature.” W.A. Clemens identified the carcass as a Baird's beaked whale.[14]
  • 1962: In April near Ucluete a 14 foot long carcass was found with elephant like head. The carcass was dragged ashore by Simon Peter and later thought to be an elephant seal.[15]
  • 1963: In September near Oak Harbour, Whidbey Island a carcass was found with a head resembling a horse. A. D. Welander of Fisheries thought it was a basking shark.[16]

Purported live capture

  • 1968: In August, W.Hagelund claims to have caught a baby Caddy near De Courcy Island.[17]
  • 1991: In July, on Johns Island (San Juan Islands), Phyllis Harsh claims to have caught a small 2 foot baby Caddy and returned it to the water.[1]
 [both of these incidents are thought to have involved small fish unrelated to the sightings of the larger creatures, such as pipefish]

Pipefish, the size range of 14-16 inches long matches

Television and media appearances
Cadborosaurus has also been featured on the television documentary series Northern Mysteries.

The Effingham Carcass, Vancouver Island, 1947; supposed remains of 'Caddy'


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Bousfield, Edward L. & Leblond Paul H. (2000). Cadborosaurus: Survivor from the Deep. Heritage House Publishing.
  2. ^ Vancouver Province Newspaper. Page 1., March 9, 1943
  3. ^
  4. ^ December 03, 2010|By Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times
  5. ^ Heuvelmans B. (1968), In the wake of the sea-serpents. Hill & Wang, New York.
  6. ^ Viegas, Jennifer. "Loch Ness Monster-like Animal filmed in Alaska?". Discovery News. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
  7. ^ Daily Alaska Empire, November 28, 1930
  8. ^ Vancouver Province Newspaper., November 23, 1934
  9. ^ Vancouver Province Newspaper, November 23, 1937
  10. ^ Vancouver Province Newspaper, October 16, 1937
  11. ^ Vancouver Province Newspaper, March 5, 1941
  12. ^ Seattle post Intelligencer, December 7, 1947
  13. ^ Victoria Daily Times, March 7, 1950
  14. ^ Life Magazine., June 8, 1956
  15. ^ Vancouver Sun., April 14, 1962
  16. ^ Whidbey News Times, October 3, 1963
  17. ^ Hagelund, W. (1987), Whalers no more. Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park,BC.
  • Bauer, A. M. & Russell, A. P. (1996). A living plesiosaur?: a critical assessment of the description of Cadborosaurus willsi. Cryptozoology 12, 1-18.
  • Bousfield, E. L., & P. H. LeBlond (1995). "An account of Cadborosaurus willsi, new genus, new species, a large aquatic reptile from the Pacific coast of North America". Amphipacifica Vol 1 Suppl. 1: pp. 1–25, 19 figs.
  • Coleman, Loren and Clark, Jerome. Cryptozoology A to Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature with Jerome Clark (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1999, ISBN 0-684-85602-6).
  • Jupp, Ursula. (1988, reprinted 1993). Cadboro: A Ship, A Bay, A Sea-Monster. Jay Editions.
  • Wright, John D. (2009). Cryptids and Other Creepy Creatures. (ISBN 0-545-11959-6)

External links

Cryptopinnepeds from Naish et al: I include these here only to indicate that the top reconstruction has a strong resemblance to the (INVALID) composite reconstruction for "Cadborosaurus willsi" (D. Naish drawing also above, as an illustration in the "Cadborosaurus" review)
A commentator on one of the Cryptozoology message boards thought that it was laughable that Naish (et al) would need to seek out unknown pinnepeds as candidates for "Cadborosaurus" reports when we have a perfectly acceptable "Known" pinneped candidate, the elephant seal. To illustrate the concept I have added some comparisons with elephant seal photographs below.-DD

In this case the witnesses would commonly be exaggerating the thinness of the neck on a thick-necked animal, but the shapes and the attitudes characteristic of the creatures, seem a good match.

Lord Geekington's breakdown and commentary on the "Cadborosaurus" reports is reprinted below. This is only being done for purposes of discussion.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 

A Baby Cadborosaur No More. Part 4: What is 'Cadborosaurus'?  

In Woodley et al. (2011), we used LeBlond and Bousfield's 'Cadborosaurus wilsi' to compare with the Hagelund specimen, among other candidates. The authors include a number of "striking"/"major" characteristics along with additional details, but we note that none of the reports have all the major traits and there are a number of odd traits which are not directly commented on. So what do the 178 reports in Cadborosaurus: Survivor from the Deep actually say about 'Cadborosaurus'?

1. Its dimensions, ranging from five to 15 meters in length

Note: Sightings are exclusively in feet. The converted range is 16'5" to 49'2.5".

Where did LeBlond and Bousfield get this size range? There were 65 reported lengths with a range of 5-300 feet, a mode of 20 feet, and an average of 41.8 feet (standard deviation = 42.3 feet). The proposed size range of LeBlond and Bousfield excludes about 41.5% (n=27) of the reports. Why?

[On a statistical basis for reports worldwide, reports do run down to 3 to 5 feet long for the smallest ones commonly. The trouble is that these could all too easily be known animals such as otters. Therefore the lower limit at 10 feet long may be arbitrary but it does mark the reasonable lower limit for creatures that are supposed to be at large size. And in the case of marine sightings, 60 feet is a good maximum: Heuvelmans mentions the figure of 60 feet under the descriptions of both Longnecks and Merhorses, and says the larger size estimates are due to confusions with the wake]

5 feet long (1)
8 feet long (1)
10 feet long (2) [for practical considerations 10 feet long is the lower limit for "Monsters"]
12 feet long (1)
12-14 feet long (1)
15 feet (2)
15-20 feet long (2)
16 feet long (2)
18-20 feet long (1)
20 feet long (9)
20-23 feet (1)
20-50 feet long (1)
25 feet long (5)
30 feet long (6)
30-40 feet long (1)
32 feet long (1)
35 feet long (2)
35-40 feet (1)
40 feet long (6)
40-100 feet long (1) [This value is vague enough to need discarding]
40-50 feet long (1)
50 feet long (3)
55 feet long (1)
60 feet long (5) [Note: ALL estimates above 60 feet long are in isolated reports only-DD]
60-90 feet long (1)
80 feet long (1)
90 feet long (1)
100 feet long (1)
100-110 feet long (1)
150 feet long (1)
300 feet long (1)

2. Its body form: snake-like, or serpentine...

An accurate assessment, although there are some contradictions.

Snake/serpentine/"garter snake" (12)
Eel (3)
Turtle-like (2)
"caddy-like creature" (1)
Crocodile-like (1)
"dragon" (1)
"hose" (1)
"plesiosaur" (1)
Tapering (1)
"reptilian formation" (1)
"much more reptile than serpent" (1)

...with extraordinary flexibility in the vertical plane
Note: I did not include reports of neck motion, which were usually from side-to-side.

It is interesting how infrequently the plane of locomotion is mentioned, and that a couple are not vertical. It appears the "extraordinary" motion was interpreted from the reported "coils" (see below).

"vertically"/"up and down"/"rise and fall" (5)
"undulation" (3)
"side to side"/"like those of a crocodile" (2)
[ALL "Vertical undulation" reports are of "Humps" and most fall into the Standing Wave category]

3. The appearance of its head, variously described as resembling that of a sheep, horse, giraffe or camel

Out of the 55 animal comparison descriptions, "horse-like" was by far the most common with 23 (about 42%). The difference between horse-like, camel-like, and giraffe-like heads appeared to be interpretive (some reports used more than one description) and if they are lumped together, there are 36 examples (about 65% of total). Why LeBlond and Bousfield chose "sheep-like" is mysterious considering it is known from a single instance - why not "snake-like" or "seal-like"?
  [Why indeed? Worldwide, "Snake-like" and "Seal-like" heads are by far the most common]
Horse-like (23)
Camel-like (7)
Snake-like/serpentine/garden snake-like/python-like (5)
Giraffe-like (3)
Seal-like (3)
Camel/giraffe (2)
Horse/Giraffe/Camel (1)
Dog-like/Giraffe-like (1)
Sheep-like (1)
Cow-like (1)
Airedale-like (1)
Boxer dog-like (1)
Cat-like head (1)
Lizard-like (1)
"Reptile head" (1)
Frog-like (1)
Eel-like (1)
Seahorse-like (1)

Animal comparisons were not the only way to describe heads:

Flat head//flattish (3)
"long" (1)
"bulky" (1)
"blunt" (1)
"immense forehead" (1)
"heavy snouted" (1)[Probable elephant seal reference]
"square" (1)
"nose about a foot long" (1)[Definite elephant seal reference]
"round, ball-like head" (1)
"gaping maw like hippo" (1)[Probable elephant seal reference]
"thicker than body" (1)

4. The length of its neck, elongated, ranging from one to four meters
Note: This is about 3'3" to 13'1.5"

Another weird treatment of size, as while the lower bounds were roughly right, 3 of the 15 descriptions exceeded the upper bounds. The mode is 7 feet (due to averaging the 6-8 foot range) and the average is 8.8 feet with a standard deviation of 5.9 feet.

3.5 feet long (1)
4 feet long (2)
4-5 feet long (1)
5 feet long (1)
6 foot neck (2)
6-8 feet long (2)
7 feet long (1)
10 feet long (1)
12 feet long (1)
15 feet long (1)
15-16 feet long (1)
20-30 feet long (1)
[In the general run of Longnecked reports world-wide, 3-4 feet would be the minimum and 20-30 feet the maximum in any good sample. It is just about that at Loch Ness.-DD]
Some descriptions gave head height out of the water instead of estimating neck length. If those additional 11 figures are added to the prior data, there is a new lowest figure (2 feet), the mode is once again 7 feet (but n=5 and not n=3), and the average is now 9 feet with a standard deviation of 7.34 feet.[Which does not allow for the neck to be carried on a diagonal slant, which is common]

Head 2 feet above water (1)
Head 3-4 feet above water (1)
Head 4 feet out of water (1)
Head 4-5 feet above water (2)
Head 6-7 feet above water (1)
Head 6-8 feet above water (1)
Head 7 feet above water (1)
Head 10 feet above water (1)
"neck and upper part 25 feet out of water" (1)
"like 30 foot telephone pole" (1)

The description of a "long neck" was very common, second only to a horse-like head, although the reports of a "short neck" and "no long neck" are quite interesting. I do not know what an "eel-like neck" would entail

Long neck (20)
Short neck (1)
"no long neck" (1)
Giraffe-like (2)
"Log that raised up" (1)
"Eel-like neck" (1)
"Thick" (1)
"Slender" (2)
[The specification that the "Neck is about one-third of the length" is made above and is consistent with the standard rough-guess estimation made world-wide.-DD]

5. The vertical humps or loops of the body, arranged in tandem series directly behind the neck
Note: Only concerned about count, other traits (e.g. "large", "low") not included. "Hump" and "Bump" synonymized (sometimes used interchangeably), but "coil" and "loop" treated separately.

Hump/Dome/"upturned barge" (9)
Humps/Bumps/lots of humps (6)
2 Humps (6)
3 humps (7)
4 humps (1)
4-5 humps (1)
5 bumps/humps (3)
5-7 humps (1)

2 humps/coils (1)

1 coil/loop/arch (5)
Coils (3)
2 coils (3)
3 coils (1)
3-4 coils (1)
5 coils (1)
5-6 coils (1)

"folds"/"fold after fold" (2)

"resembling a gable of a house floating in the water... back looked much like the roof of a shed" (1)

"three distinct undulations" (1)
[Humps and bumps are most commonly due to the Standing Wave effect. Hdant evidence that such creatures can have a variable number of humps on the back, as Heuvelmans explains in the Longnecked category. Please note that Heuvelmans does not recognise that "Merhorses" have humps on the back-DD]

6. The presence of a pair of anterior flippers...
"Flippers" (3)
"no fins or flippers" (1)

Other fins are mentioned with unknown placement:

fins 4 feet high (1)
"revolving fins" (1)
"fins all over the body" (1)
[ Describes the "Mane" as continuing down along the whole length-DD]

Dorsal fins are mentioned more frequently than flippers, yet LeBlond and Bousfield make no mention of them:

Dorsal fin (1)

long fin on back (1)
fin on back (1)

"fin on its back reached to about three feet" (1)
"2 foot fin on its back" (1)
"continuous fin running the length of the body" (w/ illustration showing dorsal placement) (1)

[All of these statements may be construed as meaning about the same thing-DD]

...posterior flippers absent or nearly fused with the body
What is the evidence for this claim? The only relevant (and highly bizarre) detail I could find was:

"little feet on the side back of the tail" (1)
[The description is drawn from the corpse pulled out of the belly of the whale and it is  spurious]

7. The tail, dorsally toothed or spiny...
Known from precisely one report:

"Toward the tail it appeared serrated like the cutting edge of a saw... with something moving flail-like at the extreme end" (1)

With a couple contradictions:

"flat like that of a beaver" (1)
rounded like lizard tail" (1)
[On the other hand, a good many MORE reports specify that the medial dorsal "Mane or fin" runs the whole length-DD]

... and split horizontally or fluke-like at the top
Flukes (1)
Split tail tip (1)
Fish-like tail (1)
[Which could be observations of fishes, actually]

8. The very high swimming speed, clocked at up to 40 knots at the surface
Note: About 46 miles per hour or 74 kilometers per hour. Units converted to knots.
3 knots (1)
3.48 knots (1)
5.2 knots (1)
10 knots (1)
13-17.4 knots (1)
25 knots (1)
34.7 knots (1)
35 knots (1)

"Fast swimmer" (1)
"Much faster than boat" (1)
"Very fast swimmer" (1)
"Moving fast" (1)
"speed... astounding" (1)
"low speed" (1)
[Tests by Roy Mackal at Loch Ness confirmed that untrained observers could commonly misjudge speeds of objects on the water by as much as fivefold-DD]

And now for the additional traits:

Sometimes the back is described as serrated, sometimes as smooth[Male vs Female?]
Serrated back (2)
Not serrated (2)
"horns on its back" (1)
"line of moving spines" (1)
Jagged dorsal crest (1)
Spines 8" apart (1)
"serrated markings along the top and sides" (1)
Ridge running across top of body (1)

Body colour is reported as ranging from "gun-metal" blue, through orange, green, brown, gray to black
Brown/Brownish (10)
Dark/Blackish (6)
Dark brown (5)
Gray (4)
Dark green/greenish (4)
Light brown (3)
Grayish brown (3)
Dark gray (2)
Chestnut brown (2)
Green (2)
Shiny black (2)
Blue-gray (1)
Greenish Brown/Dark Olive Green (1)
Greenish-Blue (1)
Bluish-Green... some in the sun like aluminium (1)
Yellow and blue (1)
Stripe brown and yellow (1)
Yellow head (1)
Camel-colored (1)
Brownish yellow (1)
Bright orange brown (1)
Fawn-colored (1)
Flesh-colored face (1)
"whitish tan in color on the throat & lower front... solid tan upper head" (1)
"Light brown [head] with white streaks running up and down it" (1)
"gray brown with a dark brown stripe running along the body slightly to one side" (1)
Mouse colored (1)
Gray, silvery like dogfish (1)
Color of kelp (1)
Color of porpoise (1)
Color of wet seal (1)
[Silvery reports sound like oarfish, especially with a red mane or fin. The remainder of the reports divide up into brown and bright shades of brown, as opposed to a duller gray-brown or gray. Black reports are due to shadows and yellow due to strong sunlight.This is about the pattern at Loch Ness and in similar reports worldwide. Reports of "Fawn colored, Tan, Camel-colored, etc" could be more reports of swimming moose-DD ]

Fur, fuzz, or hair on the neck or body is sometimes mentioned, "like that of a seal", or "like coconut fibre"; most often, however, the skin is described as smooth
This is completely inaccurate. There is precisely one report which describes the animal as smooth and not hairy:

Smooth, no hair (1)

Other reports also suggest that hair was absent, but make no mention of smoothness:

No mane (3)
No hair (1)
"wart-like rather than hairy" (1)
"scaly appearance" (1)

Mention of hair is, however, comparatively much more common:

Hair on head and body (1)
"Shaggy" (1)
Hair (1)
Covered with hair (1)
Short fur (1)
Furry (1)
Smooth-haired, like seal (1)
Mane (1)
Long floppy mane (1)
Mane like seaweed (1)
"kind of mane"... looking like the teeth of a drag saw (1)
"stuff hanging down like hair" (1)
"sort of mane" (1)
Mane the color of seaweed (1)
"sort of mane" (1)
"dirty hair covering long neck" (1)
[Specific reports of scales, warts or hair are nearly always references to the mane. The mane is NOT Hair by general consensus of opinion, but consists of fleshy material the consistency of kelp leaves]

Some witnesses see bumps on the head, which they variously describe as ears or horns, sometimes both together.
"no ears" (6)
Ears (3)
Small ears/short ears (2)
Horns or ears (2)
Small ears/small strait horns (1)
horns or horse-like ears (1)
small horns... giraffe-type stubs AND large, floppy ears (1)
2 blunt horns (1)
2 knobs like horns (1)
Two protrusions, possibly horns (1)
pointed formation above eyes resembling horns (1)
Two bumps, rounded on top (1)
Bulgy on top (1)
bulge behind ears (1)
No horns or ears (1)
[Ears and/or horns are most frequently the dead giveaway for Swimming moose reports-DD]

Most mention eyes, sometimes large, sometimes coloured.
This is certainly not "most".

Eyes (5)
Large/Big (7)
2 eyes in front/"set to look forward"/"in the front of the head" (3)
No eyes seen (3)

Red eyes (2)
Jet black eyes (2)
Large black eyes (1)

"roll" from reddish to green (1)
Cow-like, film over them, large, timid (1)
Eyes like alligator (1)
Bulgy eyes (1)

And also:

"eye bumps" (1)

There is also occasional mention of facial whiskers.
Very occasional.

Whiskers (2)
Whiskers under jaw (1)
Beard (1)
No whiskers (1)
[Whiskers could mean a report of a seal, but under the jaw or beard would mean a moose-DD]

Traits that do not fit in any category:

"sea pet" (1)
"body appeared smooth from one side, but with spikes when turned in other direction" (1)
"looking like huge diver wearing a helmet" (1) [Large rounded object or hump?]
"broad flat chest" (1)
"shoulders" (1)
"exaggerated lips one sees in a minstrel show" (1)[Probable Moose]
ON LAND (2)[One of these is possibly an exaggerated elephant seal. The other is described as being eel-like and 90 feet long but only three feet thick. Neither one of the land reports match the general run of "Cadborosaurus" sightings and are probably not "Cadborosaurs"]

Ever since pondering over Heuvelmans' Many-Finned, I am increasingly convinced that, at present, the classification of unknown marine species into 'types' is a deeply flawed approach in desperate need of a more rigorous approach.

So what does this mean for how 'Cadborosaurus' and the Hagelund specimen compare? Stay tuned...
Previous entries:
A Baby Cadborosaur No More. Part 1: Introduction

A Baby Cadborosaur No More. Part 2a: Hagelund's Account

A Baby Cadborosaur No More. Part 2b: Hagelund's Account - annotated

A Baby Cadborosaur No More. Part 3: Dealing With Traits

Tet Zoo Coverage:
A baby sea-serpent no more: reinterpreting Hagelund’s juvenile Cadborosaurus


LeBlond, P. H. & Bousfield, E. L. (1995). Cadborosaurus: Survivor from the Deep. Victoria, British Columbia: Horsdal & Schubart.

Posted by Cameron McCormick at Wednesday, September 21, 2011


  1. this is brilliant. i saw this awful mystery mongering show called "monster hunters" and they we're talking about the caddy. on the show they showed a 2 second clip of the elephant seal and i was like well , mystery solved. but not for these guys. so after seeing the show i was going to combine a poic of the caddy corpse with a pick of an elephant seal carcass but before doing so i wanted to check and see if it had already been done and that's what lead me to this brilliant article. i'm a huge fan of Benjamin Radford and the work him and his colleagues do . he's the co-host on an awesome podcast called "MonsterTalk" where they talk about "monsters" with a skeptical and scientific slant. i think you'd be a great guest on the show.thanks for the great read and keep it up.

  2. I hear that the unseen portion of Kelly Nash's "caddy" footage is worth millions if not billions of dollars; the possibility that it is a hoax should be considered by anyone who has plans to sell his house for this piece of footage before he buys it.
    I watched the seen portion of the footage on youtube; when I paused in the middle the " humps" began to look like simple waves.

  3. Possibly, but the mere insinuation does not constitute proof. I would be more interested in the part about the humps looking like waves myself, although there is no consensus of opinion about that yet.


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