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  • WILD CASE FILES

MONTAUK MONSTER

A strange, alien-looking creature washes up on the shores of Montauk, Long Island.

When the body of a mammal decomposes, one of the first things to rot away is its snout. This is due to the large amount of bacteria in the soft tissue of its nose and mouth. They also quickly lose their fur.

The teeth on the carcass are quite large and indicate that the animal was a carnivore and belonged to the same family as dogs, cats, bears, weasels and raccoons.

The digits on the forelimbs of the carcass are really long, slim and almost finger-like. They resemble human fingers which is not characteristic of dogs. Dogs have fairly short digits on their paws.

The Final Analysis: The “Montauk Monster” is actually the decomposed body of a raccoon, a nocturnal mammal found throughout the eastern coast of the United States.

TEXAS MONSTER WEB

A giant web engulfs an area of forest about the size of a soccer pitch. It stretches over 12 meters into the tree tops and covers trees like plastic shrink wrap.

It is the biggest spider web ever documented.

When spiderlings hatch out of their egg case, they come out by the hundreds. As they disperse, they each release a strand of silk from their abdomens that carries them on the breeze. This is known as “a ballooning event.”

Most spiders are cannibalistic. If they live too closely to each other they will feed on one another as they compete for resources.

That year, Lake Tawakoni saw a tremendous amount of rain which resulted in a high survival rate among the insects that spiders like to eat.

The Final Analysis: When the population of insects at Lake Tawakoni spiked, the spiders did not have to compete against each other for food as they normally do, and they became semi-social – spinning their webs alongside each other to catch insects – ultimately creating the world’s largest documented spider web.

EXPLODING TOADS

During the spring mating season, European Common Toads at one particular pond in Hamburg are swelling up and exploding, scattering toad entrails and body parts across the otherwise serene park.

Examination of the carcasses reveals that primarily male toads are exploding.

During the toad mating season, the male can spend hours on the back of the female, making him vulnerable to predators such as crows, which tend to attack from above, striking the male first.

When crows attack, they avoid a toad’s toxic skin by plucking its liver from the side of its body with its beak.

A toad missing its liver will swell and die. But will not likely explode.

The Final Analysis: If an attacking crow punctures a toad’s lung, air leaking from the damaged lung will cause the toad to inflate until it eventually bursts.

BLOOD RED RAIN

Villagers hear a sonic boom and wake to see blood red rain falling from the sky. The strange liquid stains clothes pink, causes trees to shed their leaves, and inexplicably falls from the sky for days on end.

Scientists put the red rain under the microscope and discover that it is not desert dust as presumed but appears to be composed of organic matter – living cells.

“Panspermia” is the theory that life exists throughout the Universe and that life on Earth arrived on comets that smashed into our planet – releasing the building blocks of life as we know it.

All living things on Earth contain DNA. Tests of the organisms in the red rain reveal that they do not contain DNA.

The idea that the Red Rain in Kerala is an alien life form that arrived on an incoming meteor or comet makes headlines.

The Final Analysis: Despite a decade of research on these mysterious cells, no one has definitively proven what they are; experts cannot agree on the source or the cause of the red rain. Some argue it is algal spores released by lichen living on trees in Kerala. Another theory is that, due to the unusual construction of the cells and the strange way they reproduce, the red particles are a primitive form of alien life which arrived in an exploding comet of extraterrestrial origin.

ALIEN SQUID INVASION

A “red devil” of the deep – the fierce Humboldt squid – has invaded the Californian coast, eating anything in its path, threatening some of the biggest fisheries in California.

A Humboldt squid has a sharp parrot-like beak and thousands of teeth in each of its suckers. They grow from the size of a grain of rice to more than two meters in length and can weigh as much as 50 kg.

Humboldt squid eat 5-10 % of their body weight daily, which is the equivalent of a person going to McDonalds and eating 40-60 quarter pounders in a sitting.

The normal range of the Humboldt squid in the eastern Pacific is from South America, to the coastal waters of Mexico. The Humboldt squid began appearing off of the Californian coast in 2003.

The Humboldt squid inhabits one of the most inhospitable parts of the ocean known as the Oxygen Minimum Zone or OMZ. The OMZ is expanding both north and south along the US coastline due to climate trends.

Most creatures in this low oxygen zone can’t swim very far or fast, but the Humboldt squid have the advantage of a large gill surface which allows them to consume less oxygen, lower their metabolism and still thrive in the harsh environment.

The Final Analysis: As the Oxygen Minimum Zone has expanded along the US coastline, the Humboldt squid have followed.

TURTLE DEATH ZONE

In the Gulf of Mexico, two hundred of the planet’s most endangered sea turtles – the Kemp’s Ridley turtle – wash up dead on the shores of Biloxi Beach in Mississippi just weeks after the worst oil spill in United States history.

The Deep Horizon oil spill is the prime suspect but autopsies reveal no evidence of oil of any of the dead turtles. Tissue samples are also analyzed for signs of toxins from the oil dispersant used to mitigate the spill, but early tests find no evidence of the toxins.

All of the dead turtles wash up on a fifty-five mile stretch of coastline, which is unusual for such a territorial turtle.

Investigators examine the stomachs of the turtles but find no evidence of ulceration or internal bleeding. They do find that all of the turtles have sand in their lungs – suggesting that they have drowned.

The spike in turtle deaths coincides with the start of the shrimp fishing season. Two months after the turtles start washing up dead – all fishing activity along the coastline is stopped due to the oil spill. When fishing stops, the turtle deaths dropped dramatically.

By law, fishermen must have a hole in their nets called a turtle excluder device or TED to allow trapped turtles to escape. Fish and Wildlife agents inspect fishing boats in the area to ensure that their TEDs are in working order.

The Final Analysis: It is believed that the turtles were passing through the boats’ TEDs (which were in working order) and would come out swimming normally, but because of an abundance of boats in the area, another boat would come by, pick up a turtle, and it would shoot through its TED before the turtle had a chance to get a good breath of air. The drowned turtles may have been caught two or three times by different boats before finally drowning. The fishermen had done nothing illegal; it was a matter of too many turtles and too many boats in one area.

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  • Beach Monster? photo

    Beach Monster?

    Investigators unravel the mystery of a strange alien-like creature that washes up on the shores...

    (02:36)
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