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

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sea monster by Chiloe Island and the "water Trauco"


Chilean historian Diego de Rosales wrote in 1674 that in the sea by Chiloé Island the natives had seen fish that were:

as large as whales with two heads and one with the body of a small whale with a horrible head notably out of proportion with its body, armed with two long and sturdy horns; that on its back it had a wide eye. It was an enormous and stupendous beast.[1]

A similar myth circulated among the Selk’nam at Tierra del Fuego which told of a fat yet agile man named Shai who “transformed into a fish without scales, thick, with two horns on its head”.[2]

"Horned" sea creatures. From: [3]

A horned aquatic beast is something unheard of by science, excluding the one horned narwahl that lives in the Arctic waters; there is no other animal with this feature (the see einhorn or sea unicorn shwon above is a mythical creature).

Perhaps it was some large huemul deer swimming in the sea, or the “water Trauco”. The “two heads” part seems to be made up or, perhaps refers to some unknown animal.

The water “Trauco”

The dwarfish Trauco mentioned in our post Here is not always depicted as a midget troll, it has some local variations. For instance on Mount Quicaví on the eastern coast of Chiloé Island it is described as a dangerous goat with a long beard that has guanaco-like legs; its body is covered with scales and tufts of bristly hair.[4]

At other places within Chiloé it is a sea creature “with the legs of a guanaco, fish tail, the [spiky] bristles of a sea urchin and two pointed horns”.[5]


This is a very strange sea creature, a horned fish-goat hybrid. But what if the descriptions are wrong and the two horns are not horns but fangs, that is tusks?

Perhaps it is a Southern Hemisphere walrus? However walruses do not live outside of the arctic sea and the north Atlantic and Pacific Oceans close to the polar region. This southern walrus may be an unknown and possibly extinct animal.


Chiloe map

Chiloé map. Quicaví is shown with an arrow.


[1] de Rosales, D. Op.Cit. v. 1 pp. 308-309.
[2] Canclini, A., (2007). Leyendas de Tierra del Fuego. Mitos de los onas y yaganes, aborígenes fueguinos. B. Aires: Zaguier & Urruty. pp. 92.
[3] Online, Here.
[4] Barrio, J. El Diccionario de Mitos y Leyendas. Online.
[5] Housse, E., (1939). Une épopée indienne: les Araucans du Chili; histoire... Paris: Lib. Plon. pp. 150.

Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall ©

Patagonian Monsters

1 comment:

  1. "a small whale with a horrible head notably out of proportion with its body, armed with two long and sturdy horns;"

    This sounds a lot like Odobenocetops.


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