The Loch Ness monster (or Nessie) is, as the name suggests, a creature that lives in the depths of the Loch Ness, a large body of water in Scotland. Believed to potentially be an ancient dinosaur species, Nessie has lived in Loch Ness for centuries
The earliest stories about Nessie date back to the 6th century, depicting a generic ‘water beast’ that was repelled by the sign of the cross. More specific stories come from the 19th century, wherein numerous travelers and locals alike saw a strange beast in the water. The variations of what, exactly, Nessie looked like were broad. Some depictions were of a sea serpent or fish-like creature, others of a four legged beast with large claws and teeth. Eventually the image of Nessie settled on a four legged creature, that was either a reptile or amphibian, capable of swimming at incredible speeds. Most depictions are from a great distance.
Traits and Behavior
The Loch Ness monster is a creature related to sea serpents, but is of the fresh water variety and is therefore incredibly rare due to the limited number of water bodies large enough to house it, and due to human encroachment on their territories. Nessie may in fact be the last of their kind, as no more than one of these creatures have ever been seen at any time. Due to the rarity of freshwater varieties, some information has been gleaned from their salt water relatives.
This species is entirely aquatic, living exclusively in large bodies of water and rarely surfacing. Freshwater serpents made their home in large, deep bodies of mostly still water. It is believed some previously made their home in the Great Lakes of the United States, though none have been seen for sure in centuries.
Serpents are quadrupeds, with four flippers and a long tail used for fast propulsion through the water. They are large, over 8 feet from nose to tail and very strong, capable of dragging down an entire ship alone. Their scales are typically green or occasionally grey, with darker scales along their back and hump, and thick, capable of tolerating the damage from a boat propeller. They are carnivorous, with a jaw full of sharp teeth that regrow constantly. As they are aquatic, their diet is exclusively made up of fish, though they have been known to occasionally sink ships. Despite this habit, they rarely eat any humans or animals they drown.
Their habit of sinking ships seems more tied to their extreme dislike of the noise a ship brings, even prior to the invention of modern engines. Ships and watercraft that are not targeted nearly as often as ones in motion. It is possibly the noise of humans themselves, or perhaps a defensive mechanism against human fishing habits, as they rarely go after swimmers.
Females are larger than males by a noticeable degree, at least two feet longer on average, and have a second set of teeth behind the first, intended to break down food smaller to feed to their young. There are no visible color variations, but it is speculated that they may have a UV light component, which has not at this time been recorded. Nessie, the only one witnessed in Loch Ness specifically, appears to be a female.
Female serpents can lay eggs with or without a male partner, the latter of which will only produce female young. The eggs can survive almost indefinitely without hatching, waiting for the correct circumstances. The Loch Ness criteria for this is unknown, but as Nessie is only ever seen alone, it appears that at this time this has not occurred. It is also possible tat Nessie has laid no eggs, or is herself infertile. If so, she may be the last of her kind, as she is the only known sighting in the last century in any freshwater region.
Nessie is most active at dawn and dusk, rarely seen during the day or at night. During these times she is likely sleeping or possibly hunting, and may only surface at those times to avoid humans. Based on her size and seawater relatives, she should be able to dive to depths of 600 feet. Several searches and scans of the loch have been done to search for her, but have never been successful, suggesting she is either very talented at avoiding humans searches, or may possess some other camouflage abilities that have not been recorded. Speculated options have been a literal camouflage similar to the octopus, or being able to adjust her body temperature to match that of the water around her.
Nessie’s species of sea serpent is believed to live for 500-600 years. Nessie herself has been observed far beyond this timeframe, with early sightings in the 6th century, so it is likely that there have been a number of Nessie ancestors in the loch.
Nessie, unable to swim through the River Ness and reach any other territory, and very likely the lack of her species, is only a threat if you go out on the water and disturb her. We have little information on how durable she herself is, but based on her salt-water relatives, nothing short of a whaling harpoon will cause enough damage to kill her.
However, unless she lays eggs, or Loch Ness reaches the opportune temperature or chemical composition, killing Nessie would be destroying the entire species. Which should be avoided if at all possible, and as there very few deaths within the Loch due to Nessie, should be no issue.
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