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October 23, 2007

T - The Trick Squilligoss

by sven at 8:00 am

Reprinted with permission from Professor Ichbonnsen's Monster Month blog.

[click to enlarge]

The Trick Squilligoss is a large oceanic amphibian found in the vicinity of Australia. The adult animal is between 8 and 16 feet in length. In appearance, it looks rather like a cross between a frog and a squid. It spends most of its time in deep ocean waters -- but has increasingly been sighted coming onto land.

The Squilligoss has four legs with webbed, three-toed feet. The legs have a cartilaginous skeleton that allows the creature to stand upright on land -- and also a muscular "skirt" which it can use for propelling itself underwater. There are two thin arms, which attach internally to a sort of flexible ribcage. Like squids, the creature's head has a mantle. Its beak is situated at the front of the body when swimming -- or on top of the head when it's standing. There is an air bladder on the ventral side of the head, along with two faintly bioluminescent eyes.

Normally, the Trick Squilligoss preys upon giant squid... However, due to decreasing populations of squid, the animal has increasingly been coming onto land to raid herds of cattle. Squilligosses appear in the local folklore of certain areas as a "Screaming Devil."

The Squilligoss' unearthly appearance easily "tricks" people into thinking that it is a supernatural apparition. Standing upright, the beak looks like horns. The neck bladder collapses and becomes wrinkled in a way that makes it look rather like a wide mouth with rows of long teeth. The mantle appears to be the grim cowl of a robe. Underwater, the beast emits high-pitched shrieks as a form of echolocation; on land these alien calls sound like "screaming."

The Trick Squilligoss only appears on land at night. Being most used to traveling in the murky depths of the Tasman sea, its eyes are sensitive to daytime light levels. Given the poor lighting conditions under which it has always been seen, it's not difficult to understand why terrified eye-witnesses would misinterpret what they're seeing...

A ghastly silhouette with glowing eyes, crouched over and feeding upon the mangled corpse of a cow -- a shadow twice the height of a man, which turns and lets out a blood-curdling shriek when disturbed.

posted by sven | October 23, 2007 8:00 AM | categories: bestiary