Sachamama

Giant Snake of South America.

Etymology: Quechuan, "mother of the earth."

Physical description: Black snake. Length, 132 feet. Width, 15 feet. Two pairs of snail-like feelers at the base and the tip of the snout. Conchlike shell on its back.

Behavior: Uproots trees. Said to remain dormant for many years.

Distribution: Amazon jungle, Peru.

Significant sighting: A large snake is said to have disrupted a soccer game and other activities in the Peruvian village of Nuevo Tacna on August 14, 1997. Maximo Inuacari watched as a black monster emerged from the jungle and dived into the Rio Napo, leaving behind a 1,600-foot-long, 30-foot-wide trench in the mud and submerging several boats. Several hundred people felt the earth tremble. The mayor of

Maynas County, Jorge Chavez Sibina, flew over the area by helicopter with Peruvian radio journalist Carlos Villareal shortly afterward to survey the devastation.

Possible explanations:

(1) A giant slug, suggested by Karl Shuker.

(2) Earthquake, flood, or wind.

Sources: "Boa! Boa! Boa!" Fortean Times, no. 104 (November 1997): 18; Karl Shuker, "Sachamama: A Snake in a Shell?" Fortean Times, no. 111 (June 1998): 16-17; Karl Shuker, "Close Encounters of the Cryptozoological Kind," Fate 53 (May 2000): 26-29.

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