Richard Muirhead kindly sent me these two strange stories of animals of peculiar appearance found in the 1600s.The first was written by Roger L’Estrange who you can find more about here : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_L%27Estrange#Family_life
The story is some men out fishing came across a strange creature and is as follows :
“whilst he had the liberty of viewing this monstrous creature, which he found to have all the parts of a Toad and more; therefore having com∣petent skill in Limning, and having the advantage of Pen∣cil and Paper about him, did with all exactness Draw this strange Animal, which from his own hands came to mine, whose Description you shall now have, and when the En∣graver with whom the figure is, has finished it, that shall be also presented to you.
This Creature was in Length exactly Fourteen Inches: as it Sat it was Ten Inches and a Half over; upon the hinder parts of his Back, and the fore-part eight and a Barley Corn, how high it might stand he knew not, for it sat all the while crooling down; its nose was as black as jet, proportionable to the rest of its body, and of each side adorn'd with Bri∣stles; under his Eyes was a perfect Seaming made Cistern-fashion, of a Green colour, whilst his eyes most delicately beautiful, seem'd to drop that way; over which were placed bristles of a muddy green; under his Gills were Flapps like two scollop shells, of the Colour of a Gurnets fins, admirably blew and shining, & always expanded; under them were two Pouches or Bladders, of a deep Orange colour, larger then the Fins, being a big as ordinary Pear∣plumbs, and something of that figure▪ the head had a Sea-Green scaly Armour on, which ran along itsback within four Inches of its tail; the hinder-part was covered with perfect Hair, but dusky, hoary co∣loured, of the same manner was that as went along the sides and feet. But what is yet most strange, is his Tail, which was thrice as long as its body, which it wore on its back, somthing like the True-Loves∣knot, and tho' it seem'd so intricate, yet when he of∣fred to turn this creature on its back to view its bel∣ly, it flung its Tail as sudden as the jirk of a Coach∣mans Whip, & had not he stood sideways, he might have had too much cause to have repented his cu∣riosity; but as it hapned it's tail fell into a slit of that stone which was its former Mansion, and though the poor Creature strove hard, yet it could not re∣lease it thus engag'd; upon which there appeared as close as might be, onely reckonable, a hundred ninety seaven scaly rings, jetty, black, and shining, which he made a shift by this means to reckon, and may be guess'd to be the indications of its Annual extension; at the end of the Tail was a forked sting, within an Inch of which was a small Pouch, of the colour of Gum Bugiae.
The Gentleman finding his Over-grown Toad in this posture, would have gagg'd the Toad, but no sooner had he touch'd its Nose, but it recoil'd back∣wards, even off the Stone, which it seem'd so to Hatch, and Cherish before. But there being an un∣fortunatehollow or miss of ground, where this rare Animal falling, & not coming quick enough to the ground, the said Satchel or Pouch neer the sting broke, out of which there issued the most Diapha∣nous Yellow Liquor as ever was seen, deeply stain∣ing the stone, upon which the Toad that then hung above-ground fell down, his Tail freely coming to him; which he had not enjoy'd above three Mi∣nutes e're he departed this scurvy world: but before it received its change, it gave three such shrieks that the stranger was not onely forc'd to stop his ears: But this Lamentable Dirge, forc'd the Neigbours out of their Houses: He perceiving the Creature quite dead, took a fresh resolution, and turn'd it up∣on its back, and found its belly to be as white as the driven snow; cover'd with a most delightful down: about that time when he was busie viewing this pleasing Object, his Nose was surpriz'd with a most ungrateful Stench, which he found to proceed from that Limpid Yellow substance that the Toad had spilt, in which (it seems) its Seal of Life was plac'd. Just at its Departure its Head mov'd, and it vomited forth a Triangular Stone, being an Inch from each Angle, and in Depth according, which he drew to him with a Staff, keeping his Fingers upon his Nose”
Read it here : https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A95083.0001.001/1:2?ALLSELECTED=1;c=eebo;c=eebo2;g=eebogroup;rgn=div1;singlegenre=All;sort=occur;type=simple;vid=151826;view=fulltext;xc=1;q1=strange+animal#hl1
The second story also concerns a toad like creature:
The letter from Thomas Flatman to his brother is dated 25.09.1662 and is in the Bodleian Library Oxford. He described a strange serpent a yard and a half long with a head like a toad. It had a large yellow ring about its neck and four yellow legs and wings like a bat. It was covered in thick scales and had been seen eating a water hen. It seemed to like the sunshine.
So were the creatures a cryptid, an unknown creature or simply a normal animal misidentified? The second sounds like a flying lizard, the first I have no idea .