Published: 9:24 AM - 07-01-11
Cadborosaurus willsi, known colloquially as "Caddy," is a species name coined to cover a sea serpent which is said to frolic off the coast of British Columbia.
Similar to the Loch Ness Monster, Ogopogo, Champ and other plesiosaur-like creatures, Caddy has a head like a horse, a long neck, flippers, and an undulating spine. Cadborosaurus takes its name from Cadboro Bay in Victoria, where it has frequently been sighted.
A corpse which washed up on the beach in 1937 is famously said to be that of a Cadborosaurus. Of course, many keen observers since then have pointed out the similarity between this corpse and that of a rotted whale or basking shark.
Also working against Cadborosaurs is the way that reports of an undulating spine at the surface certainly match that of the notorious wake effect. This visual effect has surely been the source of many a supposed "sea serpent" sighting.
And finally, the "horse-like" head and snorting noises often reported both can easily match a misidentified moose, deer, or elk swimming across the water. These ungulates take to the water more often than you might think. Moose in particular are very strong swimmers, and are often spotted surprisingly far off to sea. (Their swimming ability may well outmatch their navigational skills.)
But back to this new video evidence. Shot by a pair of professional fishermen, it purports to show a school of ridge-backed aquatic creatures being pursued by a pod of beluga whales. At one point, one of the creatures allegedly moves to shield a smaller (supposedly juvenile) creature from the belugas.
Frankly, there is no reason not to believe that these are sturgeon. Sturgeon, those bizarre gigantic plated ridge-backed fish of the deep, are often found in the same estuaries frequented by beluga. Although beluga are unlikely to actually attack sturgeon (beluga prefer smaller fare, like herring), they are certainly inquisitive animals. The beluga may simply have rousted and herded the sturgeon off the bottom for the sheer fun of it. Beluga frequently feed on crabs and other seabed animals, and could easily encounter sturgeon, which are also native to Alaskan waters.
Interestingly, sturgeon is most likely also the answer to the question of the Lake Iliamna Monster. Occasionally sighted from the air, this "monster" is almost certainly simply due to sightings of a basking sturgeon.
Although sturgeon are usually a solitary fish, we know almost nothing about them. They are known to form massive schools at the bottom of lakes and some rivers, for no known reason. Presumably breeding, but who can say?
There's no reason at this point to assume that the video is anything other than a pod of beluga whales toying with a small school of sturgeon. But until the video airs next month, there's no way to know for sure!