15 Cryptids That Have Escaped Human Detection (For Now)

Cryptozoology is the study of mythical creatures. They could be extinct animals thought to have come back to life or new species that have yet to be identified. Whether we believe it or not, cryptozoology is fascinating, and we’d all love to see one of those animals discovered and named beyond any reasonable doubt.

1. Bigfoot

Bigfoot puppet in North American folklore, Bigfoot or Sasquatch are said to be hairy, upright-walking, ape-like creatures that dwell in the wilderness and leave footprints.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Bigfoot — or Sasquatch — is the king of all cryptids. It is a large biped resembling a cross between humans and apes. Many countries have versions of Bigfoot, but this beast is exclusive to North America. While there have been many reported sightings of the creature, conclusive evidence of its existence has yet to surface, so how has Bigfoot avoided detection for so long? A new theory suggests that certain cryptid species can shift into other dimensions. I’d like to believe in these animals, but that suggestion stretches my belief too far.

2. Chupacabra

Calico, California / USA - August 23, 2015: A chupacabra in a showcase in Calico Ghost Town, Calico, California, USA
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

The name translates into English as “goat sucker,” which gives us a clue as to this creature’s intentions. Chupacabra has vampire qualities, and goats are among several of its victims. Claims that dead animals have been found with their blood sucked dry have added to the legend, although the cryptid remains elusive. Various descriptions exist, but the most common reports point to a biped with scales and alien-like facial features.

3. Mothman

Point Pleasant, West Virginia / USA - September 2, 2019: Silver Mothman Statue Backlit on Cloudy Day
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

If you want to learn about Mothman, head to Point Pleasant in West Virginia. The town has a museum dedicated to this mythical creature, which, as you might have guessed, is part man, part moth. A moth isn’t normally scary, but add human features, glowing red eyes, and a large body, and it’s terrifying. Mothman is associated with prophecies, and none of them are good. The cryptid is said to have appeared ahead of several disasters, including the Ohio Silver Bridge Collapse in 1967.

4. The Yowie

The Yowie
Image Credit: Seo75 – CC BY 2.5/Wiki Commons.

The Yowie can be described as Australia’s version of Bigfoot. There are apparent similarities between the two creatures, but the Aussie version has more human features. Cynics believe that Yowie sightings only emerged after Australians became aware of Bigfoot in the 1970s, but those events continue. One of the more recent sightings dates from 2022, when a spotter claimed to have seen a giant Yowie measuring about 12 feet in height.

5. Thunderbirds

Totem pole topped by thunderbird, Thunderbird Park, Victoria, BC, Canada
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

While I’m fascinated by cryptids, I hope thunderbirds don’t exist. As a youngster, I remember being terrified of pterodactyls portrayed in films. Thunderbirds resemble their ancient dinosaur ancestors and live in North and Central America. Reported sightings are numerous and include the Lawndale Thunderbird Attack of 1977. They are formidable creatures, and I’d prefer to meet a family of bigfoots on a dark, deserted highway.

6. The Jersey Devil

The Jersey Devil
Image Credit: Philadelphia Newspaper/Wiki Commons.

A creature with wings and hooves, the Jersey Devil is a slightly less scary version of the Thunderbird. It’s said to inhabit the pine forests of South Jersey and is a biped with features similar to that of a goat. Various descriptions exist, but most spotters have claimed that the Jersey Devil has a high-pitched sinister scream, and you’ll more likely hear one than see one.

7. Wampus Cat

Wampus Cat
Image Credit: U458625 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Big cats feature in mythology and cryptozoology. In the UK, sightings of large felines such as the Beast of Bodmin are commonplace. The Wampus Cat is fascinating because it’s said to have six legs. With glowing green eyes, its habitat is North America, where the cat is said to be responsible for many livestock killings, which are more likely to have been caused by coyotes.

8. The Kraken

The Kraken
Image Credit: Lizars, W. H/Wiki Commons.

If you don’t believe in cryptids, remember that nobody thought the giant squid was real until conclusive proof materialized. The Kraken is a similar beast: An enormous sea monster capable of taking down ships. Sightings began in the 1700s, and there’s a theory that the Kraken was, in reality, the giant squid we know today.

9. Yeti (Abominable Snowman)

Yeti or abominable snowman 3D illustration
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Those who think Cryptozoology is madness often confuse Bigfoot with the Abominable Snowman. There are similarities between the two. Both are considered bipeds with human and primate characteristics. However, the Yeti legend originates from Asia. If they exist, these creatures are residents of the Himalayan Mountain Range.

10. Jackalope

Jackalope
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

While some put the Jackalope into the cryptid category, I’d say this is purely a mythical creature. We know dragons and unicorns don’t exist, and we suspect this animal is a product of pure imagination. It’s said to be a cross between a rabbit and an antelope, and jackalope myths have involved many taxidermy pranks that combine both animals.

11. Mongolian Death Worm

Mongolian Death Worm
Image Credit: Pieter0024 – CC BY-SA 1.0/Wiki Commons.

The words “death” and “worm” are rarely seen together, but this cryptid is a fearsome beast. It’s said to be about two feet long and inhabits the Gobi Desert, where there is ample space to avoid detection. The Mongolian Death Worm is said to be highly poisonous, and a mere touch will spell instant oblivion. Sightings date from 1922, but subsequent expeditions have produced no evidence.

12. Queensland Tiger

Queensland Tiger
Image Credit: Roman Uchytel.

Australia is a vast continent, with much of its land uninhabitable, so it’s not shocking that a cryptid appeared here. The Queensland Tiger, also known as the Yarri, is said to be a big Australian cat with a longer-than-average tail and fearsome, prominent teeth. Witness sightings of the Yarri date to 1871.

13. Orang Pendek

Orang Pendek
Image Credit: Tim Bertelink – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

A cryptid from Indonesian folklore, descriptions place Orang Pendek somewhere between Bigfoot and the Yowie. It’s another biped with human and ape-like features and is said to occupy the forests of Sumatra. Orang Pendek translates as “short person,” so these creatures aren’t as large as Bigfoot. Sightings claim they range from about three feet to six feet in height.

14. The Loch Ness Monster

The Loch Ness Monster
Image Credit: Marmaduke Arundel “Duke” Wetherell/Wiki Commons.

Loch Ness is a vast body of water in the Scottish Highlands; in some places, it’s deeper than the North Sea. Could these be perfect conditions for a mythical creature to survive? Stories relating to the Loch Ness Monster date to 565 A.D. Many more recent sightings have left the story open to debate. Some believe “Nessie” might be a Plesiosaur, left over from the Triassic period. If the Loch Ness Monster does exist, a more plausible explanation is that this is a giant eel or catfish.

15. Mokele-Mbembe

Mokele-Mbembe
Image Credit: JNL/Wiki Commons.

Mokele-Mbembe has similarities with the Loch Ness Monster, with drawings resembling a leftover dinosaur. It’s said to inhabit the Congo River Basin and is a beast with a long neck, resembling certain herbivores of past ages. With relatively few reported sightings, the Mokele-Mbembe is one of the less likely cryptids. Possible explanations include a black rhinoceros, as some sightings claim the creature possesses a single horn.

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