“Flying Snakes” and Pterosaurs in Namibia

Welcome, RM-2

I’m grateful to this new subscriber, from the UK, who has been active in cryptozoological research (he recently gave me important information on another unrelated sighting report). By the way, Namibia, on the southwest coast of Africa (much desert), is the second most sparsely populated country in the world, according to Wikipedia.

A desert is not usually the best place to search for a living pterosaur, but a few eyewitness accounts are of such sightings. Consider one sighting in a Southern California desert. The eyewitnesses estimated that the flying creature may have been three times the size of an eagle.

The late-ninteenth century Tombstone newspaper account has limited credibility. Why? For one thing, that was a period in Western American history when some newspapers are said to have fabricated stories when things became quiet. A giant pterodactyl in the desert may have been one of those fabricated stories. Nevertheless, if anyone has any historical information that might verify that account, please let me know by email. Thank you.

4 Replies to ““Flying Snakes” and Pterosaurs in Namibia”

  1. In 1942,a flying snake like animal swooped down from a cave in the vicinity of a farm near Kirris West sixty miles east of Keetmanshoop,in south-west Namibia.The flying snake,or whatever it was frightened Michael Esterhuise, a farm hand, severely and left a trace on the ground and a burning smell.It was investigated by Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer of coelacanth fame. It shot into the air again and made a sound like “wind blowing through a pipe” according to Lawrence Green in These Wonders to Behold(1959)p.187 or “a great roaring noise” according to Roy Mackal in Searching for Hidden Animals (1983)p.52

    Up to now I had thought the dragon-like flying snake of Namibia was a distinct cryptid from the ropen of Papua New Guinea but the Namibian animal is reported to have a light on its head,just as the ropen has a light,but on the tail.See p.124 Searching for Ropens 2nd ed. Jonathan Whitcomb.

    “The snake is also reported to have a light on its head.This may be a reflective scale, a white spot, a lighting up stone, a lamp or a mirror depending on the perspective of the viewer on the mythological context that we view the “creature” within. The light only shines at night, but the only direct witness that we have to the light did not see the snake itself.” R.Muirhead The Flying Snake of Namibia:An Introduction. Centre for Fortean Zoology Yearbook. 1996 p.115.

    The ropen,like the flying snake of Namibia has been known to attack people. For example a ropen attacked and killed an old man “crippled with cancer” in about 1995 who was carried into the air and dropped.This happened near Lae. See Whitcomb Ibid p.17.

    Another similarity between the “flying snake” of Namibia and the ropen is that both live in caves.

    Concerning pterosaurs in Namibia,Mackal op cit p.54 offers the following tantalizing snippet of information:

    “Sundberg obtained further information from a Swedish Museum official,who did not want to be named,that a similar creature[to a Kenyan pterodactylus]was observed in Namibia,also in a swampy area,by an American expedition in late 1975.Allegedly a film was obtained in the latter case.

    Sundberg was a Swedish journalist.

    There is not enough information here to say with any finality whether or not this creature was the same kind as the Kirris West cryptid of 1942.

    Altogether I believe that the question as to the true identity of Namibia`s “flying snakes and pterosaurs is still open to debate.

  2. Thank you, RM-2. This 1942 sighting seems to have been in the Kalahari Desert; some of it is actually more semi-arid, with few severe droughts and interesting life. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalahari_Desert

    When comparing cryptids like this to the ropen, remember that we are using the Western version of the word “ropen.” We mean a long-tailed nocturnal flying creature, featherless and glowing at night. Specific locations in Papua New Guinea have different variations of descriptions of the light: how long the flash will usually last, what part of the body glows. The point? There may be a number of varieties of ropen, including one in Namibia, Africa.

    Finding a nocturnal cryptid in Namibia could be much more difficult than most people would realize. There have been rhinoceros expeditions in Africa, well-funded expeditions that failed to locate even one of the giant mammals after many days of searching; and this was in barren areas where there were very few trees for any animal to hide behind. Remember that rare rhinoceros (I forgot which kind) when a living-pterosaur critic asks how a pterosaur could have remained hidden.

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