Bunyip of Murray Bridge (Peter Moore)
Blog Words : Weird@Wanderlust | 21 August

6 mythical creatures that (may) exist and where to find them

Where to find the world's most elusive creatures. And how you can pass the time if have have trouble finding them

Illustration of Bunyip (J Macfarlane)Illustration of bunyip drawn in 1890 (Creative Commons: J Macfarlane)

1. Bunyip, Australia

What is it? A large, malevolent creature, the bunyip is said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks and waterholes across southern and eastern Australia. Descriptions are scarce – those who have encountered it were too terrified to note its appearance – but it is said to combine characteristics of an emu and a crocodile.

Where to look The Murray River and its associated waterways have long been a hotbed of sightings. If that proves fruitless, drop by Sturt Reserve in Murray Bridge in South Australia where you'll find a coin-operated bunyip down by the river front.

While you're there Not far from where the Murray River hits the sea, you'll find Kangaroo Island. Home to over 10 million animals, you're bound to have a wild encounter of some kind here. More information

Illustration of (Creative Commons: LeCire)

Illustration based on witness description (Creative Commons: LeCire)

2. Chupacabra, Puerto Rico

What is it? A creature the size of a small bear, with a row of spines that goes from its neck to the tip of its tail. Known locally as the 'goat-sucker' after its penchant for drinking the blood of livestock, particularly goats.

Where to look The Puerto Rican town of Canóvanas, where an eyewitness claims to have seen the creature kill 150 goats. The woman had just watched the science-fiction horror movie, Species, and police noted that her description of the creature bore a striking resemblance to Sil, an alien creature that feature in that movie.

While you're there Kayak Mosquito Bay or heading to the hills for wildlife encounters of a more gentle nature. More information

Artist's impression (Creative Commons: Bango Art)Artist's impression by eye witness (Creative Commons: Bango Art)

3. Dobhar-chú, Ireland

What is it? Half otter, half dog, and with a haunting screech, this creature has terrorised coastal island for centuries. The earliest reported encounter was in the 17th century, when a Dobhar-chú allegedly killed a woman when she was washing clothes down at Glenade lough in Country Leitrim.

Where to look? The last known sighting of the creature was on Omey Island in Connemara in County Galway. Failing that, the headstone of the woman killed in the 17th century features a depiction of the creature. You'll find it in Conwall cemetery.

While you're there Why not explore Connemara by horseback? It's a great way to encounter the island's wonders and high enough to keep you out of harms way should a Dobhar-chú emerge from the sea. More information

Artist's impression (Creative Commons: Jean-No)Artist's impression (Creative Commons: Jean-No)

4. Mokèlé-mbèmbé, Republic of the Congo

What is it? The Mokèlé-mbèmbé is Africa's version of the Loch Ness monster: a giant herbivore with long neck and a small head with a love of deep water closely resembling the extinct Sauropoda.

Where to look Lake Tele in the Congo River basin. Be warned: all previous expeditions mounted to find evidence of the creature have failed, including one for a joint BBC/Discovery Channel documentary.

While you're there They're a lot smaller and hairier than the Mokèlé-mbèmbé, but why not check out the Western Lowland gorillas in the Congo’s Odzala-Kokoua National Park? More information

Doctor examining Yeti scalp (Creative Commons: Gowron)Doctor examining Yeti scalp (Creative Commons: Gowron)

5. Yeti, Himalyas

What is it? A large ape-like creature that has been spotted everywhere from India and Nepal to Bhutan and Tibet, the Yeti (or man-bear, as the locals like to call him) has been part of Himalayan folklore for centuries.

Where to look Take your pick of any the Himalayan kingdoms – each of them have their Yeti hotspots. If you're not fussed whether your Yeti is alive or dead, stop by the Khumjung Monastery in north-eastern Nepal and check out the Yeti scalp they have on display.

While you're there Walk the Great Himalaya trail, a trek that will take you across the whole length of this fabled mountain range. More information

Kappa statues (Creative Commons: KarenJC)Statues of Kappa in Tokyo shrine (Creative Commons: KarenJC)

6. Kappa, Japan

What is it? The Kappa, or water-child, is a scaly humanoid with reptilian skin that inhabit the ponds and rivers of Japan. They are portrayed as mischievous troublemakers and used by parents to warn children of the dangers lurking in water.

Where to look Kappa are said to be most prevalent in Saga prefecture on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, but have been reported all over Japan. It has been suggested that the Kappa is based on the hanzaki, a large aggressive salamander that grabs its prey in its powerful jaws. You'll find them in Kyushu as well.

While you're there Take a hike on Honshu, Japan's largest island. More information

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