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Columbus’s Serpent

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Columbus’s Serpent is a crocodilian creature, reported from freshwater lagoon of Crooked Island, Bahamas. Described as a sierpe (“snake”). Length, 5 feet. On October 21, 1492, Christopher Columbus’s men killed a “snake” on the northwest coast of Crooked Island in the Bahamas. Martin Alonso Pinzón of the Pinta killed another one the next day. He planned to skin one and return it to Spain; however, no such skin has been preserved.

Possible explanationsEdit

  • Long thought to have been an Iguana (Family Iguanidae), although these large lizards rarely enter water and there is no fossil evidence for them on the island.
  • When remains of a village site visited by Columbus was excavated in 1987, the femur from an American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) was discovered. Its size indicated it belonged to an animal about 4 feet long. Though it may not have been the animal killed by Columbus’s men, it shows that crocodiles used to live on the island.

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