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'Incredible discovery' at Lake Champlain

November 6, 2014 | Comment icon 28 comments

Could there be beluga whales in Lake Champlain ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Daniel Case
Researchers seeking the lake's famous monster have found evidence that beluga whales may be living there.
Tales of a mysterious creature not dissimilar to the one thought to lurk in the waters of Scotland's Loch Ness have been recorded around North America's Lake Champlain for hundreds of years.

The legend is believed to date back to 1609 when Samuel de Champlain wrote an account of a serpent-like creature measuring 5ft long with large teeth, a body as thick as a man's thigh and tough silver-grey scales that his blade could not penetrate.

Fast forward four centuries and Dennis Hall, a man who claimed to have witnessed the creature in 1985, has since returned to the lake and believes he has found evidence of something remarkable.

Hall and a team of fellow monster hunters had been out on the lake with underwater audio equipment when they managed to record sounds suggesting the presence of a large aquatic mammal.
"I was listening with the hydrophone and all of the sudden I started hearing 'eekeeekeek,' like monkey noises and it was strange and then clicking like 'click, click, click," said Katy Elizabeth, head of the "Champ Search" organization.

Hall believes that the sounds are those of a beluga whale, a species that could certainly go a long way to explaining the sightings of a large creature in the lake over the years.

Bill Ellison of the Echo Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington however has his doubts.

"Not only would they have a hard time getting here, but they'd have a hard time living here," he said. "They live in salt water. I think it's really highly unlikely that a beluga whale could swim up the seaway, up the Richelieu River and Lake Champlain without being noticed by anyone."

Source: | Comments (28)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by Rafterman 8 years ago Whales and other ocean mammals can survive for brief periods of time in freshwater. The primary issue, however, is food supply since they have evolved to live on saltwater species. Also saltwater aids tremendously in buoyancy.
Comment icon #20 Posted by ancient astronaut 8 years ago
"I was listening with the hydrophone and all of the sudden I started hearing bulls#*t".
Comment icon #21 Posted by Kashora 8 years ago
I'm wondering if it's possible that something did evolve to hold its breath longer than we currently know about. I think it's highly unlikely that it would be a freshwater creature, but one that can be fresh and marine. It seems that there would be a lot of evolutionary pluses if it could do that. I think too deep into this so my mind just went to maybe it developed a symbiotic relationship with a microbe to help it stay under longer. I live on a massive lake (Winnebago) and whenever someone spots a curious something, it turns out to be a sturgeon. The lake is considered to be the second bigge... [More]
Comment icon #22 Posted by Yes_Man 8 years ago
Many aquatic mammels actually do. in Canada whales and dolphins are often seen in the St. laurence river, some have even made their way to Ontario's lake . belugas are well adapted to artic enviroment but they will need to breed oxygen at surface so often that everyone must have been seeing them. I 've personaly meet someone that saw something in the lake champlain. One night he has heard a very powerful water splash , according to the deion it was like a few tons truck will be smashed in the water. In the same time there was a sort of agony noise unlike everything he has heard. The noise was ... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Yes_Man 8 years ago
Ok , no whales but what makes the sound then? a sturgeon as some people have said
Comment icon #24 Posted by Aitrui 8 years ago
When a fishing lure drags along the floor of a lake (or any body of water shallow enough) it will inevitably create friction or snag on something. That creates a tension on the fishing line which briefly behaves much like a guitar string. This imparts sounds from the boat into the line and as we all know sound tends to travel a long way underwater. The reel on a fishing rod has a ratchet which makes a clicking sound when there is a certain amount of tension on the line and if the person holding the rod thinks there is a fish on (which they often do if they hear click..eeekeeek) t... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by qxcontinuum 8 years ago
yeah must have been a sturgeon ..looks like they can reach up to 18 at this size they are truly monsters! I was just reading Champlain's deion from 1600's.. " "Champ", Lake Champlain monster In 1609 Samuel de Champlain wrote that he saw a lake monster five feet (1.5 m) long, as thick as a man's thigh, with silver-gray scales a dagger could not penetrate. The alleged monster had 2.5 foot (0.76 m) jaws with sharp and dangerous teeth. Native Americans claimed to have seen similar monsters 8 to 10 feet (2.4 to 3.0 m). This mysterious creature is likely the original Lake Champlain monste... [More]
Comment icon #26 Posted by biologist1 8 years ago
I am a marine Biologist and this sound indeed does sound like Belugas. Beluga Whales are known to go into fresh water going after a food source. It is totally possible. Here is Champ Search's recordings compared to Belugas. Very Intriguing.
Comment icon #27 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
I am a marine Biologist and this sound indeed does sound like Belugas. Beluga Whales are known to go into fresh water going after a food source. It is totally possible. Here is Champ Search's recordings compared to Belugas. Very Intriguing. Yeah, but how hard would it be for this guy to go up to Nova Scotia and make a recording there and claim it was made in Lake Champlain? No very hard. Now if he had a photo to go with the recording and you could see a known building or landmark in the background, those would work good together.
Comment icon #28 Posted by stereologist 8 years ago
I read the section on belugas in the wikipedia and they state the following: These animals usually only dive to depths of up to 20 m (66 ft),[63] although they are capable of diving to greater depths. Individual captive animals have been recorded at depths between 400 and 647 m below sea level,[64] while animals in the wild have been recorded as diving to a depth of more than 700 m, with the greatest recorded depth being 872 m.[65] A dive normally lasts 3 to 5 min, but they can last up to 15 to 18 min. If there is a beluga in the area you'd think it wo... [More]

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