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Dingonek cave

Detail of a cave painting supposedly depicting a dingonek, although it was not found anywhere near where a dingonek has been sighted.

The dingonek, also called the ol-umaina, is a large, reptilian monster reported in the vicinity of Lake Victoria. While no descriptions of the animal agree entirely, they are often classified as the same creature due to their similarities, most notably a mammalian head and leopard spots. All recorded reports of it are by Englishmen occupying the Lake Victoria region, but one attributed it (and its name) to the Kipsigis people in Kenya, and another to the Maasai people. The dingonek is often compared to or conflated with the lukwata.

Appearance Edit

The dingonek is 14 to 16 feet long, with a mammalian head (compared to a leopard[1], otter[2], or dog[3]) and spotted like a leopard. It has a broad back, a short neck, and a broad, powerful tail. It has short legs[3], and its feet are about the same size as a hippopotamus, but clawed like a reptile's. It has also been given, by different accounts, the traits of walrus-like tusks; scales like an armadillo; leopard ears; a finned tail[1]; and "ears [like] a puff adder" (possibly referring to the brow scales of Bitis caudalis, as puff adders have no external ears)[3].

The animal has been variously described as a cross between a whale, a leopard, and a sea serpent, or a cross between a snake, a crocodile, and a leopard.[1]

Interestingly, modern descriptions of the animal sometimes include a massive, scorpion-like stinger on its tail, a single horn jutting out of its forehead, and scales like a pangolin's. It is also often red or grey instead of spotted. The exact origin of these additions is unclear.[4]

A cave painting often cited as a depiction of a dingonek resembles a black and red walrus with spots. It has a long body, stubby legs, and a paddle-like tail. However, it should be noted that the cave painting is from South Africa, extremely far away from where the animal has been sighted.[5]

Behaviour Edit

The dingonek is semiaquatic, and has always been reported in or near rivers. When in the water only its head is visible[3], and it swishes its tail back and forth like a crocodile in order to swim. It will sometimes rest on large logs and riverbanks. It's able to spring its full body out of the water as if standing on its tail, and did on one occasion after being shot.[1]
BC Keates Dingonek

A depiction of a dingonek encounter

In one report, the dingonek (or perhaps a similar animal) attempted to snatch a man off the bow of a steam tug, and almost capsized the boat before the crew fought it off. The creature has been shot on multiple occasions, but the bullets were never enough to kill or even injure it[3], even when shot by an experienced hunter behind its ear.[1]

Similar creatures Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Bronson, Edgar Beecher. In Closed Territory, Chicago, A.C. McClurg & Co (1910). Pg 131-133.
  2. Jordan, John Alfred. "LUQUATA or DINGONECK", The Daily Colonist, Victoria B.C. (18 September 1932). Pg 2.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Hobley, CW. "On Some Unidentified Beasts", The East Africa Natural History Society (1913). Pg 50-52.
  4. Morphy, Rob. "DINGONEK: (ZAIRE)", Cryptopia (2009).
  5. "Stow / Image / STOW_117", The Digital Bleek & Lloyd.