Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 3rd, 2012
The caucus and primary season is upon us.
In terms of learning a bit more about and having some fun with the cryptid landscape of America, I’m going to use the current election calendar as a way to highlight a minor monster or a little-known fact of a celebrity cryptid, from state to state, as the 2012 political battles unfold.
Today, the spotlight turns to Iowa, and that first-in-the-nation contest there.
So, what does Iowa have to offer?
The first destined cryptid honor goes to the allegedly unnamed giant snapping turtle reported from the Big Blue pond in Lester Milligan Park, Mason City, Iowa.
This 34-feet-deep pond is a site for local and national divers. It is noted as such online, and gatherings for scuba divers are organized for the location.
This Iowa cryptid due to the mere definition of it being a cryptid is an unknown. Please note, just because it is theorized to be a “giant snapping turtle” does not mean that’s what it is until it is captured. It is “cryptid” because we actually don’t know what it is, and the theories usually run to the mundane and explainable when something is still unexplained.
“I’ve heard rumors that there’s one as big as the hood of a Volkswagen, but I don’t believe it,” said Jim Wahl, a fisheries management biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Clear Lake. “The rumors I hear come through third-, fourth-hand, scuba-diving sightings. Whether it’s legitimate or not, I don’t know.”
Wahl said Big Blue, in Mason City’s Lester Milligan Park, is not a monster’s kind of hangout: snappers prefer small streams, creeks, marshes and shallow lakes.
Of course, I think this “monster” should be named “Big Blue,” (not because of its color but) in recognition of its Iowan location. Additionally, this name would be to give a nod to the famous monster from the X-Files series named Big Blue that was a giant reptile reported from a body of water in Georgia.
Giant snapping turtles do exist. Here’s one from Arkansas, an alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) caught in the White River at Guion (Izard County). The turtle was later donated to the Little Rock Zoo. Photo: Becky Falkowski.