Cryptid Profile: Algerian Hairy Viper
In 1852, locals from a village near Draria, Algeria, came across a creature that had never been seen before. While making their way through the surrounding forest, a group of villagers came upon a large tree in a somewhat open area. As they continued their trek forward, one of the villagers took notice of what appeared to be hair growing around the diameter of the tree trunk. Perplexed, the witnesses moved closer to the tree to better observe what they truly believed was hair. Suddenly, as if startled, the hair began to move and make its way down the trunk back towards the forest floor. Obviously frightened, the villagers jumped back and watched in amazement as what they originally thought was nothing more than an odd growth on the tree, turned out to be a living creature.
Once fully on the forest floor, the villagers quickly realized exactly what this creature was. There before them in the dirt was a large, two-foot long snake covered in thick hair. As the villagers approached the hairy reptile, the creature let out a hiss, increased its speed, and slithered away back into the undergrowth away from potential danger. Eventually, the Museum of Natural History in Paris, France heard the story of the Algerian Hairy Viper and thought it would make a good addition to the museum’s current collection. Scientists at the museum made their way to Algeria to search the area and hopefully collect a specimen to bring back to Paris, but sadly their mission failed. The Hairy Viper remained hidden and has never been seen again.
So, is the Algerian Hairy Viper really an undiscovered hairy snake? Cryptozoologists are split when it comes to settling on what the A.H.V. actually is/was. Some feel that it truly is an undiscovered and extremely rare species of hairy snake, while others feel it is actually an undiscovered species of giant hairy caterpillar. Some feel that the creature witnessed was actually a caterpillar, but rather than just one large caterpillar, what the villagers were seeing was nothing more than a tightly grouped hairy caterpillar procession that was making its way from high up in the treetop, along the trunk of the tree, and down to the forest floor to continue on its journey. The final theory as to what some believe the A.H.V. could actually be, involves a weasel.
To be more specific and explain that theory, a subspecies of stoat weasel. The body of a stoat weasel is long and thin and when crouched low to the ground, they could take on the appearance of a somewhat hairy snake. Female stoats measure around 15in (both body and tail length combined) and they are known to nest in odd places such as fallen log piles, old rotted trees, under tree roots, and in brushwood. Finally, one more fact about the stoat that helps sell the idea this is the animal witnessed by the villagers all those years ago. When the stoat is startled or nervous, it hisses.
-The Pine Barrens Institute
*Image Credit: Google