The Swiss and Austrian Alps might seem like an unlikely location to have an encounter with a strange, stumpy 2-legged giant lizard, but this is exactly the alleged location of the Tatzelwurm (“claw worm”) also known by a variety of other regional names like Stollenwurm (“tunnel worm”) and Bergstutzen (“mountain stump”), according to Cryptozoology A-Z: The Enclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature by Loren Coleman and Jerome Clark.
The strange lizard, reported to be 2-3 feet long is a classic creature of cryptozoology.
In some Alpine lore, the front end of the animal looks like a cat, with a serpent-like tail.
But it commonly is depicted as a two-legged lizard, dragging along on its body and tail. It was reported in 1779 and again in 1841.
Although you could yodel your way into the Alps to try to find the cryptid yourself, a better bet to come eye-to-eye with the creature would be to check out the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.
A brand new exhibit featuring a life-size model of the Tatzelwurm is right at home in the museum next to models of Bigfoot, Lake Monsters, and other mystery creatures.
The vivid Tatzelwurm model was created by artist Kim Parkhurst, who has an art studio named Toadbriar Art & Animals in Massachusetts. Parkhurst has placed the Tatzelwurm in an Alp environment, crawling over a rock to snack on some duck eggs.
Museum founder and director Loren Coleman subscribes to a theory by his cryptozoology predecessor Bernard Huevelman, who believed the creature is probably related to the Gila monster.
Infrequent reports in recent years might mean that the creature is now extinct (if it ever existed at all).
In addition to the Tatzelwurm display, the another new item the will be displaying later in the month is the body of the alleged “Minnesota Iceman,” a sideshow exhibit billed as the “missing link” between modern man and Neanderthal.