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Giant Snake

There are many indigenous names for giant snakes, like the Gasháisdowanëh or uktena, that have been reported sporadically around Canada, mostly in Manitoba and northern and central Ontario as far south as Sturgeon Lake. Described as 10 to 20 ft long and as thick as a stovepipe, if discovered, it would be the largest snake in Canada (the largest known being the grey ratsnake, about 8 ft long, but not very thick). Presumably some sightings of these giant snakes are escaped exotic pets, but many predate when owning pet snakes was commonplace, and the sheer number of reports makes this theory seem unlikely. Another problem with the “escaped pet” theory is how they could survive winters, as practically every snake species of a similar length to Canadian giant snake reports live solely in the tropics and are unable to hibernate, implying that the species this cryptid belongs to is native to Canada.

In the 1880’s a man named Sam Sunstrum was camping with his friends on a thin isthmus between two lakes, deep in Algonquin Park. While they were walking to their campsite, they came across a giant snake on the path, slithering towards the lake to the west. He estimated it to be more then 20 ft long, nearly touching both sides. On August 13th, 1927, a man named William Levy killed an eight foot snake with his rake in Mitchell, Ontario. Unlike the Grey Ratsnake, which can reach eight feet, this snake was green with brown patches. In 1960, a giant “anaconda” was said to have snapped fishing lines in Cowichan Lake, British Columbia.

In 2008, a person was hiking on a trail near the shoreline of lake St. Martin, Manitoba, when they spotted the shedded skin of a snake in a tree where it split into two branches. The shedded skin measured 8.5 ft long. Herpetologist Brian Crother studied the DNA from the shed skin and put it into a genetic database for snake DNA, and found it to be an unknown species. Its closest genetic relative was a Boa constrictor, but was shown to be distinct both genetically and in its patterns on its scales.

At an unspecified date, a woman who goes by “Winnie,” was driving home in Peguis from a trip to Winnipeg in her minivan when she saw a log on the road. She slowed down to drive around it, but then sped off, realizing that it was actually a massive snake. In Gypsumville, Manitoba, a man named Michael was duck hunting with his friend on the edge of a lake. As they were walking around the lake, they kept hearing an eerie call, which they didn’t recognize. They eventually reached a swamp, and while they were walking back, they came across a massive snake with its mouth open, making the same uncanny call. Understandably, they ran away in fear. Although the idea of a vocalizing snake sounds far fetched, there are multiple species that can vocalize. Near Gypsumville is another town called Little Saskatchewan, which has also had various giant snake reports. For instance, there was a fisherman who was lifting a fishing net out of the water, when he saw an extremely large snake swim towards him, bending the reeds as it approached. At the same spot, a teenager saw the head of a gigantic snake poking out of a flooded ditch. The snake’s head was larger then a human’s, and its head was more rounded and flat topped then a garter snake. In late 2009 or early 2010, a man claimed to have seen a 20 ft long snake skin found near the shore of Lake Huron near Port Elgin. In late June of 2015, in the woods outside the village of Providence Bay on Manitoulin Island, a man claimed to have encountered a 9 ft long snake as wide as a large coffee mug. The snake was black with yellow stripes.

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