Wednesday 25 March 2020

Liberia's Cryptid Crocodile

The Gbahali

Liberia is a country on the West African coast.It  has a population of around 4,900,000. English is the official language, but over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the numerous ethnic groups in the population. Tropical rainforests cover the hills, elephant grass and semi-deciduous forests make up the dominant vegetation .It  is a hot climate with heavy rainfall from May to October. The civil war has been over in Liberia since 2003. The country is in the process of rebuilding and is fairly stable now.
The Gbahali is a Cryptid said to live there .Described as 20 or 30 feet long, reptile like that kills people who stray into the river.

It first came to western notice when John-Mark Shephard wrote to Loren Coleman in 2007 and it was published on Cryptomundo . He was working in North Western Liberia.
The following quotes are from the letter:
It is described as being like a crocodile or monitor lizard, but much larger (up to 25 or 30 ft long). It has an armored back with three rows of serrations running down it, a powerful tail, and a short snout with many large teeth. It is known to be an ambush predator, carrying its prey underwater to drown before coming on shore to eat it.”
“When I showed the villagers a picture of a Postosuchus taken off the internet, they all agreed that that is how the head and body of the gbahali looks, although the legs are semi-erect like a crocodile. As recently as this November 2007, someone was attacked and killed by a large unknown animal near a village called Gelema, on that river. The United Nations police went to investigate, and found out that only the man’s head and a few body parts were left on the river bank. In this same village, the town meeting house was built according to the length of a gbahali that was killed there in years gone by”

Postosuchus died out over 200 million years ago and is unlikely to have survived until modern day.However there are several types of crocodile in Liberia : slender-snouted crocodiles which live in rivers running  through rain forest and dwarf crocodiles that live in small streams in the  rain forest some entering the adjacent river and Nile Crocodiles.
 The largest is the Nile crocodile which can grow to 20 feet long and  which is known to swim up rivers during the rainy season, much like the gbahali is said to do.
 Rare pygmy hippos are surviving hidden in Liberia’s forests . According to British scientists, the creatures, which are almost never seen in the wild, were spotted in Liberia’ Sapo National Park using special camera traps. So it is possible a type of unknown crocodile could also be surviving there. So far no outsiders have seen the Gbahali but it could just be a matter of time before somewhere captures it on camera.


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