Europe

Tatzelwurm

Tatzelwurm Front Detail By Miirufae-D2Z9Nc7

The Tatzelwurm is one of the most famous European cryptids—a lizard-like animal that looks something like a dragon, but with a row of spiked ridges running down its back and a cat-shaped head. The first sighting of the Tatzelwurm was in 1779, when a man claimed that the creature jumped out in front of him, scaring him so badly that he had a fatal heart attack (how he reported the story after dying is anybody’s guess).

More and more people began seeing the Tatzelwurm throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, providing similar reports in most cases: the animal was about seven feet (2 meters) long, with razor teeth, a short neck, and a short, blunt tail. Some people even said the Tatzelwurm bit them. In Germany, the cryptid is named the stollenwurm, which means “worm that lives in holes” because it’s believed to hibernate in mountain caves during the winter.

The most recent sighting was in 2009, when a research assistant near the border of Switzerland and Italy claimed that she saw it running by on two legs, like a “prehistoric velociraptor.” Is it real? What do you think?

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