Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Waitoreke - A Creature of Cryptozoology

Robert Benjamin

In New Zealand, a small creature which resembles an otter, but is filled with fur that looks like spikes inhabits its waters. It has a variety of common names that the local people use such as Waitoreki, Kaureke, Kaurehe, or Waitorete, but all provide the same descriptions as that of a Waitoreke.

The etymology of the name "Waitoreke" points to the Maori language where Wai means "water" and "toreke" refers to "disappear". As such, the mere name describes the creature as a water animal. For the Maori, the Waitoreke played an important role in their lives as it also serves as a "guiding spirit" for them.

According to the locals, the Waitoreke resembles a river otter that is as big as a cat. It is said to have short fur that is either darkish brown or grayish. Its sleek body is supported by its legs which are short as well. They say that the Waitorekes usually live in dams much like those built by beavers. Some say that Waitorekes lay eggs in the same way as monotremes do, but others deny its egg-laying capability.

Among the most popular records of a Waitoreke were the reports of Walter Mantell and Julius von Haast. According to Mantell, he interviewed a native referred to as "Tarawhatta". Tarawhatta claimed that an otter-like creature, about two-feet long lives in the holes or dams near the waters of Temuka. He described its fur to be grisly brown with a very bushy tail. It is said to have thick but short legs and a head that is akin to that of a cat and a dog. Tarawhatta claims that it does not lay eggs and it is indeed carnivorous as it feeds on lizards, birds, and fish.

As for Julius von Haast, he reported that he saw the tracks of a Waitoreke in the snow. When he interviewed the natives, he found a sheep farm where the tenants claimed that they saw the creature too. They claimed that it was brown and its size was like that of a huge rabbit. When it came near their sheep, they allegedly hit it with a whip and it made a whistle-like sound as it immediately disappeared into the water.

Inspired by this testimony, Julius continued his hunt for the creature. In 1868; he reported that he had successfully obtained a coat of a Waitoreke. The fur had white spots and its overall color was a darkish brown. It toes had no webbing.

There are many theories about the origins of the Waitoreke. Some claim that they were otters. A few said that they were a new variety of pinnepids (marine mammals) that were very abundant in New Zealand.

There is a website that describes the Waitoreke and numerous other creatures of Cryptozoology in detail, this website is called: Unknown Creatures and it may be found at this url: http://www.unknown-creatures.com

You may publish this article in your ezine, newsletter or on your web site as long as it is reprinted in its entirety and without modification except for formatting needs or grammar corrections.

Robert W. Benjamin has been in the software business on the internet for over 8 years, and has been producing low-cost software for the past 25+ years. He first released software on the AMIGA and C64 computer systems in the late 1970's-80's. Robert has written many articles pertaining to numerous subjects, and he has also developed over 6 different websites.

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