Maipolina

WAter Tger of South America. Etymology: Wayana (Carib) word. Variant names: Popoké, Wat er mot her. Physical description: Lengt h, 9 feet 9 inches. Widt h, 3 feet 3 inches. Shor t, fawn-color ed fur. Whitish on chest. White stripe, 5 inches wide, along back. Large brown eyes like a tapir's. Drooping ears. Tusks like a walrus's. Clawed feet like an ant eat er's. Tuft ed t ail like a cow's.

Behavior: Waits underwater for prey. Attacks humans and canoes.

Habitat: Caves and hollows in the river bank. Distribution: Maroni River, near Maripa-soula, French Guiana.

Significant sighting: The body of a boy who drowned in the Maroni on October 21, 1962, was found partially eaten. The Maipolina was blamed.

Possible explanation: An aquatic Saber-toothed cat (Smilodon sp.) similar to the YaquarU; possibly its female counterpart, suggest ed by Kar l Shuker.

Sources: Richar d Chapelle, J'ai vécu l'enfer de RaymondMaufrais (Paris: Flammarion, 1969); René Ricat t e, De l'Ile du Diable aux Tumuc-Humac (Paris: La Pensée Universelle, 1978); Kar l Shuker, Mystery Cats of the World (London: Robert Hale, 1989), pp. 204-205.

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