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View Full Version : Another Herp-related one, the Mongolian Death Worm...


Rob Hill/Geckos Anonymous
01-22-2003, 06:34 PM
This is an interesting little animal. Correctly known as the Olgoi-khorkhoi and/or Allergorhai-horhai, there was even mention of it during Roy Chapman Andrews' famous Central Asiatic Expeditions. Supposedly, he was warned about this animal by some Mongolian officials and if his party were to come in contact with it, to kill it if they could.

Generally described as being 3-4 feet long and very fat. Some descriptions include barbs or horns at one or both ends. The color is generally referred to as dark red or reddish brown. Supposedly they are so deadly that the mere sight of one causes people to drop dead. They have also been said to squirt a deadly venom at those who get too close, as well as even electrocute their victims. I've read one account that they are only found by themselves, never in groups.

Now for the fun part...what could this deadly little beast be?

There are several speculations about what the animal the "Death Worm" is based upon could be. They range from spitting cobras to advanced lungfish.

There was a post today on cryptozoology.com that stated it could be a recognised or possibly new species of sand boa(Eryx sp.) and that as with many snakes, the deadliness of the creature is greatly exagerrated. The size definitely seems to fit as none of the things I've read say it is an exceptionally large animal, and there are a couple of sand boas that hitthe 3-4 foot range. I like this person's idea better than anything else that has been postulated.

Any thoughts or ideas?

meretseger
01-23-2003, 10:29 PM
The tatzelwurm has been sighted in France a few times and is supposed to be sort of like a snake, sort of like a cat, and sort of like a giant salamander. We always hoped it would be something like a fluffy Persian with no back legs. Oh, I guess a new Eryx would be cool too....

meretseger
01-23-2003, 10:29 PM
Jason and Erin Benner (I know it's not the BOI, but SOMEONE might yell at me!)

Rob Hill/Geckos Anonymous
01-24-2003, 02:45 PM
There is some back and forth if the "Death Worm" is a relative or variation of the Tatzelwurm. I don't know too much about the Tatzelwurm so there's not much I can add to the relationship if there is one. But I will definitely be looking up more on that one:)

Fluffy Persian with no legs. LOLOL I love it. :D

As far as a new species of Eryx, I think it's quite reasonable. It may not even be a new species, but a heretofor unkown range of a known species, which to me is just as exciting.

There was an expedition a few years back, but nothing was found. Oh well, another one of those we'll never know until it's found kind of deals that pretty much make up cryptozoology. lol

hydrogen cricket
12-28-2004, 05:37 PM
this is all i have to put forth on this topic:

the mongolian peeps have probably come across a certain species of snake or something that they have yet seen before and started rumours. after all, there is no animal in the kingdom that has both electricity and venom at the same time, and that lives in the desert. this is just another good story to probably scare kids or something. you can read the following and post your thoughts on it.



taken from <i>http://www.parascope.com/en/cryptozoo/predators06.htm</i>


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The dreaded Mongolian death worm.



The desolate Gobi Desert is said to be the home of a mysterious, deadly creature called Allghoi khorkhoi, also known as the Mongolian death worm. It is described as a fat, bright red snakelike animal measuring two to four feet in length, which is vividly likened to a cow's intestine. In fact, the name Allghoi khorkhoi means "intestine worm." The death worm is so feared among the people of Mongolia that many consider the mere mention of its name bad luck, and it is attributed with the dramatic ability to kill people and animals instantly at a range of several feet. It is believed that the worm sprays an immensely lethal poison, or that it somehow transmits high electrical charges into its victims.

The foremost investigator of the Mongolian death worm is Czech author Ivan Mackerle, who first learned about the creature from a female student from Mongolia. After Mackerle told her about a diving expedition he had made in search of the Loch Ness Monster, she told him in a conspiratorial whisper, "We, too, have a horrible creature living in Mongolia. We call it the Allghoi khorkhoi monster, and it lives buried in the Gobi Desert sand dunes. It can kill a man, a horse, even a camel."

Intrigued, Mackerle set out to learn more about this Mongolian monster, but information on the topic was very hard to come by. As he would soon learn, this was primarily because most Mongolians were afraid to discuss the death worm. In addition, the Communist government of Mongolia had kept the nation isolated, and outlawed the search for Allghoi khorkhoi, which the government considered a "fairy tale." Communism collapsed in Mongolia in 1990, and the new political climate provided Mackerle the freedom to mount an expedition to the country's desert wastes to hunt for the worm.

Mackerle and his colleagues befriended some Mongolian nomads who were willing to discuss the death worm, after a couple of bottles of Mongolian vodka loosened their tongues. They said that the worm squirts an acidic liquid that immediately makes anything it touches turn yellow and corroded. The nomads also said that the color yellow attracts the Allghoi khorkhoi. They told a story of a young boy who was playing outside with a yellow toy box, a death worm crawled inside. When the boy touched the worm, he was killed instantly. The boy's parents found his body and a wavy trail leading away in the sand. They knew what had happened and followed the trail to kill the worm, but it killed them instead.

Mackerle's group also encountered an old woman named Puret who reluctantly agreed to discuss the worm. "I have never personally seen the Allghoi khorkhoi," she said, "but I have heard much about it. It is said to move about under the sand, and when it wants to kill someone, it moves half its length out of the sand. It starts to inflate. The bubble on its body keeps getting larger, and, in the end, the poison squirts out from it."

If the Mongolian death worm is real, it's highly unlikely that it is literally a worm. Annelids and similar invertebrates are unable to survive in a brutally hot and dry climate like the Gobi desert, because their bodies cannot retain moisture and they would rapidly die of dessication. It has been suggested that Allghoi khorkhoi might be a worm that has adapted some sort of cuticle membrane to hold in moisture, but a more reasonable candidate would be a snake or other reptile.

Mackerle has posited that the creature might be a skink, a strange variety of lizard whose nondescript head is hard to distinguish from its tail. Skinks also live buried under desert sands. But they have four stubby legs and scales, unlike the reportedly smooth-bodied death worm. Mackerle has also suggested that it could be a type of lizard called the worm lizard, although that species is not poisonous. Among lizards, only the Mexican beaded lizard and the gila monster possess poisonous venom, but they do not squirt it, and their venom definitely is not instantly lethal on contact.

Another possibility is that the death worm is a member of the cobra family called the death adder. This species has an appearance similar to the descriptions of the Allghoi khorkhoi, and it does spray its venom. But although the death adder could conceivably survive in the Gobi environment, they are found only in Australia and New Guinea.

Then there is the matter of the death worm's reputed ability to kill its victims from a far distance, without even shooting venom. Some have proposed that this might be performed with an electrical shock of some sort. This hypothesis might have arisen from an association with the electric eel, but the eel and all similar electricity-discharging animals are fishes, and none of them could have the ability to live on land, much less in a desert. Most likely, the "death from a distance" component of the Allghoi khorkhoi legend is an exaggeration based on fear.

And the death worm itself is most likely a fiction based on some desert-dwelling snake or reptile, which is not truly as deadly as its reputation would suggest. Unless, of course, it really is a species that's never been identified before. Admittedly, any animal that can instantly kill anyone who tries to observe it would stand a good chance at escaping scientific classification.
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hydrogen cricket.....