Unbeknownst to many Canadians and foreigners, Canada actually has an abundancy of sea-serpent/dragon myths, otherwise known as "Loch Ness Monsters". Like their Scottish relative, these Canadian sea serpents dwell in coastal waters and inland lakes. It is widely believed that if these sea serpents exist, then they are actually dinosaurs that somehow avoided the mass extinctions of the Cretaceous Period.
In the case of Canadian Sea-Serpents, the native myths and legends about them have existed for thousands of years. Recorded sightings of such creatures date back to the 1700s.
Jacques Cartier, the French explorer who mapped much of the St. Lawrence river, kept a journal of everything he did. He and members of his crew saw what they described as "a giant finned snake" that moved like a caterpillar, using its side fins to propel itself forward in the water. Cartier's crew tried to capture the beast, but it moved too quickly and dove beneath the waters.
When Cartier consulted with natives in the region, they called the creature "Gaasyendietha". This was the first recorded sighting of any sea serpent in North America.
But it would not be the last. Across Canada and the United States there are numerous large lakes (most notably the Great Lakes, which was an inland sea during the last ice age) and a variety of sea-serpent myths to go with them.
According to Seneca myths, Gaasyendietha is said to be a dragon that dwells in Lake Ontario. Although it is seldom described, it is said to be quite large. Legends say this dragon could fly on a trail of fire, and it could also spew fire.
According to Huron myths, Angont is a vicious, poisonous reptile who supposedly dwelled in desolate places such as caves, forests, lakes in the Lake Ontario/Lake Erie region. Its skin is poisonous, walks on four legs (very similar to a Komodo dragon from China) and is approximately the size or a horse or donkey. Legends say it also causes disasters and diseases.
Amhuluk supposedly lives in a lake in British Columbia or perhaps as far south as Oregon (there are multiple locations and sightings of Amhuluk). The most celebrated location is near Forkend Mountain in Oregon, where native americans greatly fear the beast. It is described as a very large sea serpent with horns.
One story accounts how Amhuluk impaled two of three children on its horns and took them into the lake. The father visited these children, and for five days they appeared by the water. However, afterward, they disappeared and remained with Amhuluk. Many believe that this dragon's passion is to catch and drown things. The story is likely meant to scare children away from swimming in the lakes.
According to Piute myth, the Ancient Serpent lived in the Lake Pyramid and reportedly like to snatch victims. When the Piutes saw whirlpools in Lake Pyramid, they would not go near the lake, for they were afraid that the Ancient One was looking for another victim to snatch.
The Bentinck Sea Serpent:
Not actually a sea serpent, this endangered species is actually a very large snake, comparable to an anaconda. It is found in Bentinck township in Grey County, Ontario. It is a very large black snake that inhabits swamp areas, feeding on fish and other aquatic life. The largest Bentinck Black Snake ever found was thirty feet long, and was found in 1955.
The Zuni myths tell of Kolowisi, a huge water serpent with fins along its body, and small horns. One of the tales involves a young girl who goes to a spring. There, she found a small baby there and rescued it from the water. Without telling her parents, she took the baby and slept with it by her side.
The "baby" was really Kolowisi, who then transformed into his true shape. He stole the girl and took her back to the spring. There, he made her his wife.
In another story, however, Kolowisi held back the flood waters for a family to get up the mountain. By doing this, Kolowisi allowed these people to live, and then allowed the flood waters to fill the valley.
Sometimes called just "Kinepikwa", this dragon/serpent was a Shawnee myth. It was described as being a large serpent, much like a snake, that inhabited a lake. The Msi-Kinepeikwa achieved its form slowly. This massive serpent shed its skin and grew the next, growing larger each time. It is said that the first stage of this creature was a fawn with one red and one blue horn which was inside of a lake. This fawn grew and moved toward the water's edge, changing and growing until it became the serpent that the natives saw.
The Hopi believe that hue water serpents with large plumes, and are revered as nature spirits, believed to be able to cause natural disasters when angered or hurt.
The Spoonville Beach Sea Serpent:
The Spoonville story appears to be one built by tourists and local area residents, in an effort to boost tourism. Descriptions of the beast sound more like a traditional dragon story, and may be completely fictionalized. There is no native myth about a sea serpent in that region, suggesting that this is just fabrication. The sea serpent is described as a huge creature with red, bloodshot eyes. The scales were said to be green, and smoke was said to billow out of its nostrils.
Gloucester's Sea Serpent:
On August 22, 1817, a publication in Boston entitled "A Monsterous Sea Serpent: The largest ever seen in America" was published. It reported a sea serpent that appeared in the harbor to be about forty-five to fifty-five feet in length with a head similar to a horse. Other sightings of the creature reported up to one hundred feet long and that the head was more snake-like.
In Massachusetts, literally hundreds of people saw this creature. So many saw this sea monster that the government was forced to investigate. The Linnaean Society of New England created a special committee to investigate. Members included the judge John Davis, the doctor Jacob Bigelow, and the naturalist Francis Gray.
According to hundreds of reports, it moved like a caterpillar, had a neck as thick as a barrel and approximately 45 to 100 feet long.
Also called the "Tie Snake". According to the Seminole, it is reputed to have a single horn, which is said to be an aphrodisiac. It is described as being at least the size of a horse, and at least 20' in length, with 4 fins on its sides.
There are many more legends and sightings across North America, such Ogopogo in British Columbia, and the Lake Champlain sea serpent in Pennsylvania. I am not listing all of them on here.
Sea serpent legends/sightings are only found in temperate parts of Canada and the United States. When they are sighted, most people don't even know the proper name of the creature because they didn't even know that the region had a sea serpent myth.
Most police forces do not keep track of such sightings either, firmly believing that people are just pulling their legs.
It would be difficult to tell just how many sightings occur per year, because most people likely don't report the sightings, and even if they did, most authorities wouldn't even bother to write up a report. They have murderers and rapists to worry about. Tracking down a so-called sea serpent, which may or may not be a prank, is considered to be a waste of time.
And even if they did find one, it would most certainly be an endangered species, likely eat fresh-water fish, and is nothing much to worry about.
It is important to note that this planet has many unusual creatures that we don't learn about in grade school. Schools tend to teach animals that fit into the ABCs (A is for Anteater, B is for Bird, C is for Cat, etc). The Komodo dragon (a poisonous reptile about the size of a horse) and 50' long giant squids are real creatures, but they are rarely ever seen. No one has ever made a high-quality photo of "big-foot" and sasquatches, but we know they exist because we have fossils of them (in the scientific community, the fossils are known as homo gigantus).
We know that sea-serpent-ish dinosaurs did once exist, because we have fossils of them. We also know from these fossils that they ate fish.
We even have one preserved "sea serpent" that was found in the nets of a Portuguese fishing boat off the coast of Newfoundland in 1989. It was partially decomposed, and is believed to either have been hit by a passing ship (its fins were torn badly) or it had been preserved in ice for millions of years and had only recently melted.
Every religion has flood myths, and they also have some form of sea serpent/dragon myth, including the bible. Either these religions made up these myths to explain the bones of dinosaurs, or people have actually sighted such creatures.
And like every good fish story, the tale tends to get longer and more impressive with the telling. Before you know it the lowly sea serpent has sprouted wings and can spit fire.