Sharlie

Freshwater Monster of Idaho.

Etymology: The name was chosen by local residents in 1954.

Variant names: McCall serpent, Slimy Slim.

Physical description: Length, 20-40 feet. Black to dark green. Smooth skin, sometimes described as shell-like or rubbery. Head like a camel's. Ears like a bulldog's. Blunt snout. Long neck. Three to four dorsal humps, the middle one being the largest. Large, flat, finned tail. Behavior: Swims with vertical undulations. Distribution: Payette Lake, Idaho. Significant sightings: In July 1944, Thomas Rogers and others saw a 35-foot-long animal with a head like that of a "snub-nosed crocodile" undulating through the water.

In 1952, Pauline Miller watched a bulky, three-humped animal with a finned tail floating in the McCall city dock. It had a distinct, scaly, shell-like covering on the top.

On June 12, 1977, Cathleen B. Millburn and Doug Crowther were fishing in a boat off Cougar Bay when they noticed a disturbance in the water and saw three swiftly moving humps. Possible explanations:

(1) The White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) is the largest freshwater fish in North America, growing to 20 feet long. However, there have been no reports of a dorsal fin, and sturgeon are not known in Payette Lake.

(2) The Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris) matches the size, but unfortunately, this is a marine mammal. Sources: "Slimy Slim in Idaho's Payette Lake,"

Time, August 21, 1944, p. 22; A. Boon McCallum, "'Sharlie' Is Name Selected for Famous McCall Serpent by Group of Judges," Payette Lakes (Idaho) Star, January 21, 1954; Dabney Taylor, "Sea Monster Swims Again," Scenic Idaho 2, no. 2 (1956): 8-9, 56-58; Gary S. Mangiacopra, "Sharlie: A Preliminary Report of Possible Large Animals in the Payette Lakes of Idaho," Of Sea and Shore 12, no. 1 (Spring 1980): 43-46.

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