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Altamaha-ha

Altamaha-ha as drawn by Ric Spears.

1. GroupingEdit

Aquatic (unknown species)

2. First reported Edit

By the local Tama Indian Tribe pre-dating English settlement.


3. Country Edit

Georgia, United States of America


4. Region Edit

The Altamaha River Basin


5. Habitat Edit

River


6. PhysiologyEdit

The Altamaha-ha River monster or "Altie" is said to live in the second largest river basin in the United States, second only to the Mississippi. Extending 137 miles where it meets with the three major tributaries; the Ocmulgee, Oconee, and Ohoopee. These tributaries and rivers around them have all claimed to have spotted the Altamaha-ha.

The Altamaha is said to be around 20 feet long, even some reports in lengths of up to 40 and 50 feet long. The size of the head is aproximately 2 to 3 feet long and the neck thickness of 1 to 2 feet. Its features include large, protruding eyes with an alligator-like snout holding large shining conical teeth. It's back is covered in serrated ridges like a series of dorsal fins or sawteeth next each other and 2 to 3 humps. It has a true dorsal fin that sets rather low; which is set far back and is elongated. It's color supposedly is metal grey on it's top half and white-yellow on the bottom. It swims in an up and down pattern. Altamaha-ha has been spotted coming up for air and submerging again. The horizontal tail, dolphin-type dorsal fin and the fact that it only has front flippers suggests the Altamaha-ha may be an unknown cetacean; either an archaeocete such as a zeuglodon or a freshwater dolphin of the family Platanistidae., though an unknown species of eel is possible. With it's massive dorsal fin it's been claimed to have a 75 lb pull at full speed.

The creature is believed to be non-agressive as no one has claimed to have been attacked yet; and only acts defensively around boats. Some people have claimed to have been swimming and been brushed by the creature. It's been seen swimming in plainsight, trolling, and even basking on the shores of the river at times. There's speculation that the Altamaha-ha maybe oceanic in nature, only coming inland to spawn. If so there has been no physical evidence to support this theory.

7. HistoryEdit

SightingsEdit

The stories go back to at least the 18th century, but the Tama Tribe were the first to tell stories about Altamaha-ha. They said that a giant, snake-like creature lived in the waters; one that hissed and bellowed. There were a smaller number of reports in Florida as well. In the 1920's timbermen riding the river reported something that fits the description of Atamaha-ha.

Spotted again in the 1940's by troop of Boy Scouts all said they saw a snake like monster in the river. During the 1950's two officials from the Reidsville State Prison claimed to see a 30 foot creature in the water. July 1969, Donny Manning and his brother decided to take trip on his house boat. They headed down the Altamaha River to Clark's Bluff. The house boat's lights allowed them to see father and they decided to fish for catfish. Donny baited his three pronged hook with oatmeal and soda. Fishing just outside the rough waters, something was hooked. Most catfish when hooked run, stop, and turn; whatever Donny caught just ran. It would come out of the water every so often where they could see it. They say it measured 10 to 12 feet in length. At first they thought it could be a sturgeon. It continued to jump around and knew it wasn't. Donny claimed that it had a bill like an aligator, with a horizontal tail, and spiny kind of ridges along the top of it's body. The teeth were sharp and pointed. It was a gun-metal gray on top and whitish-yellow on the bottom. Donny says he's seen all kinds of fish, this was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen. He'd been using a Saltwater rig with 40 lb. test line and whatever he caught snapped the line. He also said that the way it snapped, it had to be at least 75 lbs.

Summer 1980, Andy Greene and Barry Prescott reportedly saw a Altamaha-ha beached on a mud bank near Cathead Creek. They said was a dark color with rough skin. Going on to say that it was 3 to 4 feet thick and 20 feet long. After about ten minutes the creature finally managed itself into the water and disappeared. There have been over 350 sightings of the Altamaha-ha to date.

8. EvidenceEdit

Nothing more than eyewitness accounts, which are sadly dismissable.

9. Possibiltiy of ExistenceEdit

2. Somewhat improbable

10. SourcesEdit

  • Frontiers Of Zoology
  • Tales of the Cryptids: Mysterious Creatures That May or May Not Exist by Kelly Milner Halls, Rick Spears, and Roxyanne Young (Columbus, OH: Darby Creek Publishing, 2006).
  • Sightings of the "Altamaha-Ha" or river creature of Darien, GA
  • Brown's Guide to Georgia

11. LinksEdit

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