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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 17:30 EDT

Mongolian death worm

The Mongolian death worm is a cryptid that is claimed to inhabit the Gobi Desert. It lives underground in hibernation except for the months of June and July. It will surface from its underground habitat when it rains and soaks the ground.

It is alleged to kill its prey from a distance. It either sprays an acidic venom that dissolves anything it touches, or by an electrical discharge. According to legend, touching the worm will cause severe pain or instant death.

Locals have claimed that the worm attacks camels and lays its eggs in the intestines. It also is said to feed on parasitic plants such as goyo.

The description of the Mongolian death worm is that it is bright red in color, has a wide, thick body that is two to five feet in length.

There have been expeditions and investigations into the existence of the creature. Claimed sightings peaked in the 1950s, and after zoologist Karl Shuker’s 1996 book, The Unexplained, a resurgence of interest into the creature emerged.

In 2005, two expeditions were conducted. One, a joint venture by the Centre for Fortean Zoology and E-Mongol. The second by Richard Freeman, a zoologist. Both found no evidence of the death worm.

Other notable investigations were from SyFy’s Destination Truth in 2006-2007, and Beast Man, a series on the National Geographic Channel in 2011.

A variety of books, games and films feature the death worm or its likeness. Including J.R.R. Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit, the 1990s film Tremors starring Kevin Bacon, and an iOS game called Battle Nations, where an enemy resembles the death worm.

Image Caption: Artistic illustration of the Mongolian death worm. Credit: Pieter0024/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 1.0)

Mongolian death worm