Mongolian Death Worm
The Mystery of the strange Mongolian Death Worm of the Gobi desert, where tales are told of a large worm that can kill from several metres using an acid like spray that causes paralysis and death.
The Mongolian Death Worm, alternatively called 'intestine worm' as it resembles a cow's intestine, is supposedly a native of the Gobi desert. The creature has not been captured, and its existence is almost all mythology and folklore from the area.
Killer sand worms? It sounds familiar (Dune?) and mainstream science has long thought of the worm as nothing more than a colourful myth. Apart from the sightings, there is no other evidence known.
The first written reference appears in Professor Roy Chapman Andrews' 1926 book "On the Trail of Ancient Man", although he was not entirely convinced by the tales of the monster he heard at a gathering of Mongolian officials: 'None of those present ever had seen the creature, but they all firmly believed in its existence and described it minutely.'
Czech Explorer Ivan Mackerle wrote:
"Sausage-like worm over half a metre (20 inches) long, and thick as a man's arm, resembling the intestine of cattle. Its tail is short, as [if] it were cut off, but not tapered. It is difficult to tell its head from its tail because it has no visible eyes, nostrils or mouth. Its colour is dark red, like blood or salami. It moves in odd ways - either it rolls around or squirms sideways, sweeping its way about. It lives in desolate sand dunes and in the hot valleys of the Gobi desert with saxaul plants underground. It is possible to see it only during the hottest months of the year, June and July; later it burrows into the sand and sleeps. It gets out on the ground mainly after the rain, when the ground is wet. It is dangerous because it can kill people and animals instantly at a range of several metres."
According to local legends, the creature lives under the sand and is able to spray an acid like liquid that causes paralysis and death. It is also claimed that this creature has the ability to kill from a distance with some sort of electrical discharge. Numerous Mongolians have reported seeing this creature including a Mongolian Premier. Those who claim to have seen the worm have described it as being deep red in colour and measuring between two and five feet long.
Possible related animals
Electric Eels are long worm-like creatures that can generate electric discharges powerful enough to disable or kill prey. They are not true eels, they are only eel-like in shape and are part of the knife fish family. Unlike many fish, the knife fish is an obligate air-breather. It rises to the surface every 10 minutes or so to gulp air before going back underwater. This would indicate that a possible evolution branch could exist on land.
There are snakes (i.e. Spitting Cobra) that spray venom in the eyes of prey and it is highly accurate to a distance of 10 feet.
Operation Death Worm
In 2005 a scientific expedition by British scientists, led by cryptozoologist Richard Freeman, went on a mission to discover some solid scientific evidence for the existence of the Death Worm.
After four weeks in the desert, the group said they were convinced that the worm really does exist. "Every eyewitness account and story we have heard describes exactly the same thing: a red-brown worm-like snake, approximately two feet long and two inches thick with no discernible head or tail".
The team did not find any trace of the Death Worm, however, they did discover two animals previously unknown to science: a dragon-like lizard and a two-meter-long horned snake.