A local resident found a strange half-alligator, half-fish creature while walking her dog along the canal in Risca, South Wales last week. The mysterious animal is expected to be a South Wales alligator gar, which is concerning residents and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) as alligator gars are not native to the area.
Caroline Brown, the woman who found the monstrous-looking fish, didn’t know how to react. The razor-sharp teeth and fish-like body gave her immediate pause. Even her dog didn’t want to touch the sea dweller.
“It was a really strange looking thing, and it scared me at first, as I didn’t know if it was alive,” Brown said of the encounter. “I’ve never seen anything like it before and even my dog Molly didn’t want to approach it. As I got closer, I realized there was a smell coming from it, and I knew it was definitely dead. I’ve got no idea how anything like that would turn up in these parts.”
The simple answer is alligator gars wouldn’t turn up in South Wales. But it happened. And no one knows how.
Alligator gars have fossil records that trace back to the Early Cretaceous period more than a million years ago. Once, they dominated the world’s waterways. However, due to unrestricted harvests and indiscriminate culling, they are difficult to find.
Now, alligator gars are only native to the southern portion of the United States and in some areas near Mexico. Winding up in South Wales is a nearly impossible journey for an alligator gar without human help.
If humans did introduce this dangerous species into South Wales waters, it could impact local fish populations and even local South Wales cryptids.
South Wales Cryptids
The most-notable local South Wales cryptid is the Afanc lake monster. It has been described as having crocodile, dwarf, demon, and beaver attributes. While it may be difficult for alligator gars to reach the Afanc in Llyn yr Afanc, a lake near Betws-y-Coed named after the creature, it is possible for the animals to live there.
Alligator gars have a vascular swim bladder lung, which allows them to breathe in air. This means they’re capable of inhabiting a lot of places where most fish would suffocate.
They also adapt quickly to varying salinities, allowing them to live in swamps, brackish marshes, estuaries, freshwater lakes, bays, and more.
While it is unlikely that the alligator gar could pose a threat to Afanc (even at 10 feet and 350 pounds), it could supplement the cryptid’s food source. A more confident and aggressive lake monster could lead to increased sightings.
If the alligator gar entered the Atlantic Ocean, it could interact with a variety of cryptids. Cassie, Lusca, and Ningen are a few possibilities.
Introducing non-native species to new water channels is a very dangerous activity for both humans and the world’s wildlife. If alligator gars are being released in South Wales, please contact the authorities with information.
Hopefully, this is one odd occurrence. Exotic pets are illegal in the area.