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

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Fañanito" - The monster at Lake Fagnano


Lake Fagnano Creature

Online there is a fantastic tale of fresh plesiosaur remains that were discovered by this Fuegian Lake in 1927.[1] The story is absolutely false.

Lake Fagnano (54°34’ S, 68°00’ W), in Tierra del Fuego Island, is not only the home of the last Yosi dwarves [we will write about them in another post] it is also the abode of a lake monster, “Fañanito”.

The lake is an elongated and narrow body of water is 645 km2 [249 sq. mi.] over 100 km [62 mi.] hence its name “Kami” (long) in Selk’nam language; with very cold water, averaging only 4°C (39°F).

I have posted a map here showing southern Tierra del Fuego where you can see the lake (upper - central part of the map).

Many neighbors and old settlers at the lakeside village of Tolhuin have “heard about the monster but not seen it”,[2] it goes by the name “Fañanito”. A neighbor of Tolhuin reported that while sailing the lake in a boat, he was trailing his hand in the water when a “large head appeared suddenly and looked at him, and then submerged without leaving any trace. The man screamed, startling the people; the boat turned around but they did not see it again”.[2]

Beavers (Castor canadensis) were introduced into Tierra del Fuego in 1946 by the Argentine Navy to establish a fur industry in the region. The venture failed and the animals were set free in Lake Fagnano. Lack of predators and a favorable habitat favored their proliferation. They have caused considerable damage to the island’s forests and expanded their range to neighboring islands. It is therefore quite probable to sight a large head bobbing on the lake’s surface.
Monsters indeed –of Canadian origin- but not monsters of the "creepy" or "mysterious" kind!


[1] Jarré, S., (2004). Guarida de Monstruos. Los 32 rumbos de la Rosa de los Vientos. Año 1. N° 3. IV: 42 – 47.
[2] Kaikén, J., (2006). Tolhuin Historias del Pueblo. Fañanito. Historias de Tolhuin. 23.10.2006. (Spanish language blog).

Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©

Patagonian Monsters


  1. Another interesting story for you. Echolocation recorded in lake champlain. Possible giant snake neck turtle, or baliosaurus. Scientists are debating. Some say possible long neck turtle, others say unknown creature closer to echolocation used by whales dolphins but doesn't match any known .has anyone tried recording echolocation in Patagonian lakes ?

    1. I am not sure echolocation has been used. Resources are quite limited in South America and the authorities who do have them, have not been approached for help.
      Thanks for your comments.

  2. Forgot to add a link. Here it is.


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