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Mongolian Death Worm

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Mongolian death worm

Depiction of a Mongolian Death Worm

1. GroupingEdit

Worm

2. First reportedEdit

No first date on record

3. CountryEdit

Mongolia, Middle East, Asia, North Africa

4. RegionEdit

Gobi Desert of Mongolia, Thar Desert of India, Pakisthan, and western tip of Northern Africa

5. HabitatEdit

Desert; Subterranean

6. PhysiologyEdit

It has been described as a bright red worm with a wide body measuring 0.3 to 1.5 meters (2 to 5 ft) in length.  The Death Worm is also said to protect itself with toxins, stomach acid, and electric discharge to ward off predators or defend itself. It is sometimes described as having darker spots or blotches, and sometimes said to bear spiked projections at both ends

It's name (Mongolian: олгой-хорхой, olgoi-khorkhoi) translates to "large intestine worm".  This is due to it's red blood-like color and size, which is the size of a human's intestine.  The Mongolian Death Worm will reportedly change pigmentation if threatened; it will become a bright yellow and then attacks it's prey.  It has several layers of teeth, which it uses to "drill" itself into the prey's body rasping away tissue with its sharp keratinized teeth.

7. HistoryEdit

The Olgoi-khorkhoi, better known as the Mongolian Death Worm, is a worm-like creature. The Olgoi-khorkhoi is said to inhabit the southern Gobi Desert of Mongolia, Thar Desert of India and Pakisthan, and western tip of Northern Africa.  It's reported to live underground, hibernating throughout most of the year; it becomes active in June and July.  It's been said that the worm is mostly seen on the surface when it rains or the ground is wet.  The worm has frequently been reported to feed on camels and lay eggs within it's intestinal tract. It also has a preference for local parasitic plants such as the goyo plant.

Mongolian nomads believe that the giant worm covers it's prey with an acidic substance turns everything a corroded yellow.  The nomads say that the creature when poising for attack will raise half it's body from the sand and begin to inflate until it explodes.  This releases a highly toxic poison that kills upon contact, this poison supposedly corrodes metal as well.

In his book "On the Trail of Ancient Man" (1926), Roy Chapman Andrews (an American explorer, adventurer and naturalist who became the director of the American Museum of Natural History) quoted Mongolian Prime Minister Damdinbazar who in 1922 described it thusly:

"It is shaped like a sausage about two feet long, has no head nor leg and it is so poisonous that merely to touch it means instant death. It lives in the most desolate parts of the Gobi Desert…"

In 1932 Andrews replubished the information in the book "The New Conquest of Central Asia", saying: "It is reported to live in the most arid, sandy regions of the western Gobi". Andrews went on to say this on the worm, None of those present ever had seen the creature, but they all firmly believed in its existence and described it minutely."He did not believe the creature existed.


Mongolian-death-worm

Artist rendering of a Mongolian Death Worm

A Czech explorer Ivan Mackerle described the worm from second-hand reports as a "sausage-like worm over half a metre (20 inches) long, and thick as a man's arm, resembling the intestine of cattle. Its skin serves as an exoskeleton, molting whenever hurt. Its tail is short, as [if] it were cut off, but not tapered. It is difficult to tell its head from its tail because it has no visible eyes, nostrils or mouth. Its colour is dark red, like blood or salami."  Due to the sheer volume of sightings and strange deaths, he came to the conclusion that the Death Worm was more than just legend.  These reports continue today frequently and are often unconfirmed.  Although some believe the worm to a leggless reptile, it matches not reptilian descripitons from local reports.

British zoologist Karl Shuker brought the animal back to the general attention of the English-speaking public in his 1996 book The Unexplained, followed a year later by his Fortean Studies paper on this subject, which was reprinted in The Beasts That Hide from Man in which it was hypothesized that the death worm was an Amphisbaenid.  It was also included in Loren Coleman's Cryptozoology A to Z.

A joint expedition in 2005 by the Centre for Fortean Zoology and E-Mongol investigated new reports and sighting of the creature. They found no evidence of its existence, but could not rule out that it might live deep in the Gobi Desert along the prohibited areas of the Mongolian–Chinese border.

In 2005, zoological journalist Richard Freeman mounted an expedition to hunt for the death worm but came up empty-handed. Freeman's conclusion was that the tales of the worm had to be apocryphal, and that reported sightings likely involved non-poisonous burrowing reptiles.

Reality-television series, Destination Truth conducted an expedition in 2006–2007.


A New Zealand television entertainment reporter, David Farrier of TV3 News, took part in an expedition in August 2009, but came up empty-handed as well.  He conducted interviews with locals claiming to have seen the worm and mentioned on his website that the sightings peaked in the 1950s.

The series Beast Hunter, hosted by Pat Spain on the National Geographic Channel, featured an episode on the disputed existence of the creature as well.

Though no physical evidence has been found there are too many sightings to dismiss.  Experts a certain that it's not a real worm, as the desert is too hot for most annelids (worms).  It's been suggested that it could perhaps be a skink, but they have little legs and scaly skin whereas witness accounts specify the worm is limb-less and smooth bodied.

8. EvidenceEdit

Nothing more than eyewitness accounts, which are sadly dismissable.

9. Possibility of ExistenceEdit

2. Somewhat improbable: The most probable explanation is that it's a type of venomous snake.

10. Sources.Edit

11. External LinksEdit

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