Guide to Patagonia's Monsters & Mysterious beings

I have written a book on this intriguing subject which has just been published.
In this blog I will post excerpts and other interesting texts on this fascinating subject.

Austin Whittall

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Creature at Lake el Toro (Bull's Lake)


Vaccae Marinae (Sea Cows). An enduring myth.
Adapted from: [1]. Ortelius, A., (1587). “Islandia”.
Copyright © 2007 by Austin Whittall

At first I was mistaken when trying to identify this lake, I took it for the same named "Lake Del Toro" (Bull's Lake)which is located in southern Chile, (51°14’ S, 72°45’ W) south of the magnificent Southern Continental Ice Field. It is big, with a surface area of 202 km2 [78 sq. mi.].

However, the correct lake is "Laguna El Toro" (Bull Lake) the difference is "Del" instead of "El", which means it is a lake named Bull and not a Bull's lake (possessive).

This is a very small lake, roughly circular in shape, about 800 m (0.5 mi.) in diameter. It is set on the steppe, about 22 km east of Coyhaique (14 mi.) towards the Argentine border (45°31'S, 71°51'W).

You can see it on this (external link) map, at the Monumento Natural Dos Lagunas, at the upper right corner.

Here, Wilson Aguilar tells us a story dating back to the 1930s about a mythical black bull. At the time, some cowhands were camped by the lakeside but they were awakened in the middle of the night by a large wave that surged in the lake. From this wave appeared a:

formidable bull that scared away the herd with its immense horns, it was of a never before seen black color […] a group of cows as if hypnotized followed the bull towards the middle of the lake [and drowned][2]

A few years later at the same sport the bull reappeared, mounted a cow impregnating her. When the time came for the cow to calve, she gave birth to a “calf that did not have legs but some beautiful fins; it was so small that it could not even reach the udder to feed [and died]”.[2]

Edward Chace, an American who spent over 30 years in Patagonia shortly after his arrival at Punta Arenas in 1898 heard from an old native named Rodríguez, about “long blue lakes in the back country. They had monsters in them; he said […] a bullock had been seen being dragged down, struggling under water”.[3]

Which lake it was, is not known, but it is located in southern Patagonia close to Punta Arenas. Evidently it cannot be El Toro Lake, by Coyhaique, but, it may have been the Del Toro Lake which is closer to it.


[1] Ortelius, A., (1587). Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. Antwerp. Islandia.
[2] Corporación de Defensa de la flora y fauna (CODEF) y Corporación de Desarrollo de Aysén (CODESA), (2000). Testimonio de Wilson Aguilar, de Villa Cerro Castillo. Relatos de antiguos pobladores de Cerro Castillo. Municipalidad de Río Ibáñez: Coyhaique.
[3]Le Moyne Barrett, R., and Barrett K., (1931). A Yankee in Patagonia, Edward Chace. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. pp. 29-30.

Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©

Patagonian Monsters

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