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Sunday, 18 August 2013

More Water Moose sightings


In both of the Sea Serpent charts above the "Merhorse" is the one at the lowest right hand corner.
Below is the "Merhorse" of the second chart by Tim Morris (Pristichampsus) and I have modified it slightly to match the other Merhorse in the other chart more (I could have made the head even larger and morse horselike, but I settled on a compromise: likewise I cut the tail in half as a compromise between not tail at all and the length of tail as illustrated) and I darkened the beard for emphasis because it is important (It represents the bell of the moose). In the chart below I think it makes a fair comparison with a moose, including even the legs and feet (the toes are clawed in the Pristichampsus drawing but it is hard to see how many: however it is easy enough to read the feet as cloven hooves.

The lowest end sizes for "Water Horses" seen at Loch Ness are actually about six feet long and six feet high in the body, which is a really good approximation for a not especially large moose. We are also assuming a predominance in sightings of cow moose without antlers. Peter Costello gives the sizes for a "Water Horse" (in his interpretation, the creature behind most freshwater sightings worldwide, or at least all over the Northern Hemisphere)  as about 18 feet long for the female, 30 feet long for the male (In Search of Lake Monsters page 288), which does make it just barely up to the lower end of Heuvelmans' Merhorse category: he is using Mackal's (LNIB) figures and applying the averages to all similar such creatures at Lake Okanogan, Lake Champlain, Lake Storsjon and all the rest. He assumes that all of the larger reported creatures have had their lengths doubled and he automatically cuts all larger estimates of length in half (as does Mackal). Cutting the 18-30 feet estimates in half yields  9 to 15 feet long, which is really good estimate for moose size. The  other extremes of long length at 50 to 100 feet (even sometimes 150 feet long or more) are also consistent with the reported lengths of wakes in this category, and the Merhorse sightings in general as given by Heuvelmans (In the Wake of the Sea Serpents p. 553).


There is currently a move to consider moose that habitually swim for long distances underwater as another population or a distinctly different sort of creature with different adaptations. Officially moose are held to be able to swim across wide lakes in the Canadian Wilderness, and even cross narrow straits and fjords along the coastline, the same as they do in Scandinavia. They are said to be able to dive down to twenty feet and stay submerged for a minute at a time: moose can also swim for a pretty good distance completely submerged and a swimming moose is supposed to be able to travel along at ten miles an hour (estimated). While I was assembling this article, I just so happened to cross postings with Chad Arment and he says he is even working on a book that will focus on the theme of underwater moose as Cryptids, and they evidently even feature as "Unexpected encounters" in a popular video game. However to counter this view, this seems to be a matter of some moose being more adept at swimming and diving than others, rather than any kind of a new species to be involved. My definition of Cryptid includes the provision that it must be a potentially completely new species to qualify, and not to be classifiable as any currently known species. Most moose have features which work against them exploiting underwater habits: they have not got flippers or webbed feet, they have widely-spreading hoofs, which are much less efficient as swimming fins. They are also very buoyant, and if they have taken a deep breath to stay down longer, they are even more buoyant. And videos that show moose spending a long time underwater show them as tending to bob back up to the surface eventually.
It is only sufficient for my purpose that some moose are unusually good swimmers, they like doing it, and some individual moose are trained and/or adapted to be especially good at swimming and diving.

"This one was for Canoe & Kayak Magazine. The story was about how a moose can
 swim twenty feet underwater… I guess you learn something new every day."
 Photos of a cow and a bull moose grazing at a depth of about 15 feet underwater.


Underwater Moose video. These are becoming more and more common and more and more popular lately.


It is instructive to note that the Canadian Geographic (Canadian version of the National Geographic)
 includes a section on Cryptozoology and lake monsters under the heading of "Moose Facts"
and in fact some of the cited sources do speak of swimming moose as being the significant sources for some of the sightings at many of these lakes


Moose Facts

 •  Moose have a life span of 15 to 25 years.
•  The average moose weighs between 550 to 700 kilograms.
•  Moose are the largest member of the deer family.
•  The flap of skin that hangs beneath a moose's throat is called a bell.
•  Only males have a rack of antlers. They are flattened and range from 120 to 150 centimetres across and weigh 20 kilograms. Their antlers may have as many as 30 tines (or spikes).
•  Each year, antlers are shed in November or December and another, slightly larger set begin to grow the next midsummer.
•  Moose live in every Canadian province.
•  Moose are very good swimmers and can easily swim 16 kilometres.[per hour]
•  Moose can run faster than 50 kilometres per hour.
•  Having poor eyesight, moose rely on their keen sense of smell.
•  A male moose is called a bull and a female moose is called a cow.
•  The word moose comes from the Algonquin word mooswa, which means "twig-eater."
•  Moose eat willow, birch and aspen twigs, horsetail, sedges, roots, pond weeds and grasses, leaves, twigs, buds and the bark of some woody plants, as well as lichens, aquatic plants and some of the taller herbaceous land plants.
•  Moose can feed under water.
•  Moose can dive more than five metres for food on a lake bottom.
•  It is estimated that there are between 500,000 and 1 million moose in Canada.
•  Unknown species of animals are referred to as cryptids.
•  The term cryptozoology was coined by Dr. Bernard Heuvelmans to scientifically describe his investigation of unknown species. It is not a recognized branch of zoology.
•  Cryptozoology is commonly grouped with paranormal research.
•  Many crytozoological phenomena are based on aboriginal legends.
•  Cryptids range from Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster to ivory-billed woodpeckers to more bizarre creatures, such as atmospheric beasts and werewolves.
•  The first recorded sighting of a Sasquatch was in 1811 near what is now the town of Jasper, Alta. A trader named David Thompson found some strange footprints, 36 centimetres long and 20 centimetres wide, with four toes, in the snow.
•  Bigfoot is said to stand 1.4 metres in height and weigh 58 kilograms and have long black, coarse hair covering its entire body.
•  Across western Canada, at least 19 water monsters have reputedly been spotted in three of the four provinces. Alberta has no reported cases.[Untrue]
•  Canada’s most famous water monster is Ogopogo of Lake Okanagan in the south central interior of British Columbia.
•  The first recorded sighting of Ogopogo by a Caucasian was by Mrs. John Allison in 1872.
•  The monster called Sicopogo lives in B.C.’s Shuswap Lake, not far from Kamloops.
•  Lake Memphrémagog — an international lake 113 kilometres east of Montréal located on the Canada-U.S. border — is said to be inhabited by a sea serpent.


  1. Dale: I do agree that the cryptozoological underwater moose are likely regular moose and that many lake monster sightings may be moose, however I strongly disagree with your assertions regarding marine "Merhorse" type animals. First of all, I do have to point out that the images you are referencing are artist's conceptions and not actual eyewitness sketches. Secondly, if a witness is able to view the whole body of the moose out of the water, how would they still interpret it as an unknown animal with flippers? Other than those two details, nice article.

    1. I think you are missing the point. You can cherrypick details out of sightings to build any kind of creature you like, but doint it that way that is being dishonest. To most serious Cryptozoologists these days, Heuvelmans' Merhorse is simply a mistake, a bogus category made up by misinterpreting the reports. In the case of your reconstructions you keep publishing, the results really are imaginary because you have them made up out of preconceived notions without even consulting the database. Now, Tim Morris can probably answer you for himself as to why he chose to make Heuvelmans' Merhorse to look like that and I shall ask him specifically about that point: but I am here to tell you he is NOT alone and he is NOT creating some oddball design out of whole cloth-there are other independent reconstructions drawn from the reports and we have run them here on the blog before. Examples are here:
      and here:

      We are NOT saying that the witnesses had seen the legs clear of the water and thought they were looking at an unknown animal with flippers; in the case of swimming reports the best that can be done is to estimate the size of the limbs by the amount of disturbance they make in the water. However these "Waterhorses" are NOT always seen only swimming in the water, sometimes they come out on land, and on such occasions they are said to have LEGS and NOT flippers
      In this case it is best to remind yourself that The Water-horse is not only a creature that is seen in the water, it is a creature which comes onto land out of the water, at which times it looks strikingly like a horse This does not only happen in Scotland, it also happens in Scandinavia and New England, and in East and West Canada, and in freshwater lakes as well as the shores of the sea. There are cases in Maine where the "Merhorse" came to land, left "Claw" marks where it walked (NOT flippermarks, the legs are normal-quadruped legs even as the head is a normal ungulate head) and it looked exactly like a large horse when it came out of water. That the Waterhorse has cloven hooves is a well-attested tradition, and the description of the hoofmarks makes them about the right size and shape to be moose tracks. Furthermore moose are quite capable of swimming out to sea on occasion, and most of the "Sea" sightings happen very close in to shore. So I suggest you take a closer look at those sightings with a more open point of view before you condemn the theory out of hand. and please remember that the identifying features of a horselike or camel=like head, and a shaggy mane of hair down the back, are much more likely to be accurate descriptions of a moose rather than any kind of a sea animal

    2. Dale, actually I have full access to the reports in question and there are plenty of sightings which suggest to me that a maned and horse-headed form of longneck is present. I can write a list of sightings if you which. Like I said, there definitely are reports which are moose, but not everything with a horse-like head or mane is a moose. There are several sightings which eyewitnesses specify features that don't agree with that.

    3. Also, please take into account that Tim does have a revised Merhorse illustration which obviously was not inspired by moose observations:

    4. Please see Tim Morris' comments below. He explains what is going on, and then after that I make several more specific and pertinent points which are necessary to understand what is going on. Incidentally if you read my earlier reports on Cadborosauruses, none of this should surprise you because I made the case clear on several prior occasions when the matter came up before

    5. In the earlier reports I was most careful to make the distinctions between the Longnecked Cadborosauruses and the more mooselike Cadborosauruses. As far as I am concerned, they are easily distinguished from one another

  2. Any particular reason for modifying Tim Morris' merhorse for the moose comparison? You changed the shape of the head, lengthened the tufts of hair to give the impression of ears and shortened the tail. Why? Why not let the original stand on its own?

    1. I did in fact mention that, and I told Tim Morris I was doing that. I explained my reasoning above. I gave Tim the option to comment upon the fact also, but he declined.

      The reason is, there are reports which state it that way
      Basically I modified the head in version 2 to more closely approximate the head in version 2. The head in version 2 was less obviously horselike, had a more pointed instead of a blunted snout, and lacked the sometimes-reported ears. I will admit the ears are inconsistently reported. As to the tail I did mention above that given the options of A) a long tail as shown, or B ) no tail at all-(and Heuvelmans mentioned both as possibilities but preferred the latter), I simply cut it in half for the composite reconstruction. I considered that all of these were important enough aspects to the reports that I needed to include them in.

      I WAS indicating I had made a composite version and anyone that wants to compare the original has easy access to the original. As to the features in actual reports, Such reports HAVE been printed on this blog in the past and remarked upon at the time. In particular I have published several illustrations of sightings which included the ears.

    2. I did consider the option of cutting out both Merhorses and putting them together, and indicating I was making a blend of the two, but I dropped all of that as being unnecessary.

  3. Tim Morris' Comment is: "that particular reconstruction is a bit old, and I have done others. I mainly based it on Heuvelman's criteria, and the reconstructions that have already been published. I perhaps should have based it more strongly on actual sightings. So long as we're clear that there is a[ny] distinction between mer-horse and long-neck, those 2 categories cross-over somewhat."

    Tim Morris is saying that he is using the distilled descriptions from reviews of reports (By Heuvelmans and others) in this reconstruction and not any individual reports which he had reviewed and analyzed individually on his own. I think this is a fair statement. In order to recognize there is a category in the first place one is bound to be going by Heuvelmans' criteria in the reports and his definition of the category.

    My understanding is, and I think Tim is saying, that the actual legitimate Merhorse sightings are mostly in with the Longneck sightings and overlap with the Longneck sightings: the problem then is to define the "something different" in the sightings that can be contrasted with the Longnecked/Merhorses, which calls for somewhat of a discriminant functions analysis.The category once again falls into the subsections, small sightings at 20-30 feet (as per Peter Costello, above) and then the largest "Merhorses" at about a hundred feet long: and those we have also accounted for. The really big ones have an altogether different body plan which includes a long, strong, thick tail, associated often with the older series of Merhorse reports or "The Classical Sea-Serpents." The "something different" sightings (of the smaller series) as contrasted to regular Longnecks have a larger head relatively, shorter neck relatively, thicker neck relatively; shorter body relatively (With characteristically only one hump on the back); with more prominent eyes, ears, whiskers, beard and mane, and the submerged parts more ambiguous although the general impression is there are four legs (limbs): if the two rear limbs together are adjudged to be the "tail", then the length of the rear limbs approximately equals the length of the head and neck. On animals seen ashore, the length of the head and neck again equals the height of the shoulder off the ground (more or less), so that the length of the four legs is about the same. All of which is pretty much cut and dried and is in accordance with Tim Morris' representation here.

    Another thing to note is that the category features a head of mostly a fixed and unchanging absolute size of the head as reported consistently throughout all the reports being usually in the range of 2-3 feet long and a foot thick: the neck is "Slender and medium-length or long", with the definition that the medium length neck is two or three times the diameter and the long neck four times. We are talking about a neck that is ordinarily only about as long as the head is or a maximum of twice the length of the head, which is to say 4-6 feet, and that measure may. be implied to include both the head and the neck by the usual convention of measuring these things.


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