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Canadian cryptid, American cryptid
Freshwater cryptid, Swamp-dwelling
Lake monster, Carnivore, Out-of-scale, Semi-aquatic, Featured in Native folklore
The Canadian Alligator, also called S’í:lhqey in Halq'eméylem, is a cryptid that inhabits most of western and central Canada, with most sightings occurring in British Columbia. Its westernmost sightings occur off the Haida Gwaii and the easternmost occur around Quebec, where they are called Dos Lisse. Canadian Alligators, seem to not be alligators, but massive salamanders, about 10 feet long. Their diet and behaviour seem similar to crocodilians. Usually, they are described as resembling alligators when seen swimming. Unlike alligators, they have smooth skin, large shark-like teeth, axolotl-like frills, sometimes mistaken for horns or antlers, and a long paddle-like tail. Presumably, Canadian alligators are related to mudpuppies, a species of small salamander that resembles a smaller version of the Canadian alligator. The Canadian Alligator seems to prey on fish, crustaceans, and occasionally beavers. They are sometimes seen basking in the sun at dusk on the very remote valleys of Great Bear Rainforest. Similar reports of giant mudpuppies also occur in the United States, especially around the South Atlantic. Some lump Canadian alligators together with the Trinity Alps giant salamander in California, but they seem to be a separate, unknown species in the Cryptobranchidae family. Nithy, another salamander-like cryptid, inhabiting the Nith River in southern Ontario is likely related or even the same creature as the Canadian alligator. On October 10th, 1900, George Goudereau saw a lizard-like creature in Kootenay Lake. He watched as the 12-foot long animal swam in the direction of a compost pile on a nearby beach. He then watched it dig around in the pile, presumably in search of food. It gave up and casually swam back in the water. Goudereau’s sighting was featured in a newspaper, and a man named A C.D. Robertson came forward with his story, also in Kootenay Lake. He claimed that when he tied fish to a stake and left them in the lake, he saw a giant scaly creature similar to Gouderau’s description opening its massive jaws and eating the fish. In 1915, three men claimed to have seen multiple 10 cm long “baby alligators” swimming around in a muddy pond near Hope, British Columbia. In June 3rd 1973, Warren and Sharon Scott observed two large “reptiles” swim slowly across the water next to each other In a pond in a valley near Pitt Lake, British Columbia. While the couple watched from shore, Warren spotted what appeared to be three smaller creatures, only 15 cm long, swimming closer to the water’s edge. Assuming these to be infants of the larger creatures, Warren captured three of them and sent one of them off to the Simon Fraser University biology department for study. Records of what became of this collected specimen as well as the two remaining with the Scott’s has been lost. In 2002, Dan Gerak, the owner of the Pitt River Lodge in British Columbia, claimed to have seen a five foot long smooth skinned black creature. He likened it to an oversized salamander. Although Canadian alligators are associated with British Columbia, there are just as many sightings in more eastern provinces. In 1968, a man named Don Humphries was canoeing when he saw a 14-16 foot grey animal he described as “part alligator and part fish” clamber out of the water and begin feeding on the bank. Strangely, he described it having a single tooth that hung downwards from its mouth at the front. In the book Lake Monster Traditions; a cross cultural analysis (1988) written by the two Quebecois cryptozoologists Michel Meurger and Claude Gagnon, featured various sightings of Canadian alligators in Lake Saint-Francois, Quebec. One witness claimed to have seen what they thought was a 12 foot long log floating in the water until he saw the "log" swim forward a couple yards and dive down. Another witness, Pierre Bédard, claimed to have seen a Canadian alligator when he was 15 years old. It was twilight on the lake and he suddenly heard splashing. He shined his flashlight at the source and saw a creature, which he described as either black or very dark green, as it was too dark to tell, had scaleless, smooth skin and was about 10 feet long. A gamekeeper named Toussaint Dostie claimed to have seen a 15 foot long dos lisse. He claimed it had a flat head, round eyes, was brown in colour, and was “jagged on the top”. In 1989, a man claimed to have seen a pair of Canadian alligators near Goderich, off Lake Huron. He watched as the two log-like animals raised their heads and looked at him before swimming away. In the mid 2000’s, a teenager was walking across the power dam at the mouth of the Winnipeg River when he decided to look in the water. He saw, only a metre or so below the surface, a creature he described as a giant version of a mudpuppy, an animal he was familiar with, as he would sometimes snag them with his fishhooks. It had the distinct large head, tube-shaped body, and external gills, but instead of reaching 20 to 40 cm, it was nearly 10 feet long. He noted that it swam very similar to a crocodile. Illustration by Tim Morris (Pristichampsus on DeviantArt)