Anomalous Animal in Loch Assynt

"At a late meeting of the Ashmolean Society, Oxford, the Secretary read a communication made to Lord Francis Egerton, by one of the agents on the Duke of Sutherland's estate, respecting an animal said to have been repeatedly seen in Loch Assynt. 

In the autumn of 1837, it was observed by two young men, Kenneth McLeod, and Donald McKay, who were fishing in the loch. It appeared close to the end of one of their fishing-rods, and is described by them as having large eyes, and it opened its mouth so wide, "that they could see down to its very heart."

The colour was grey, the hair like bristles, the tusks large, the ears hanging down like those of a sheepdog, the shape of the head altogether was like a bull-dog, but broader. It was seen again soon afterwards on a small island in the loch, and is described as about the size of a stirk, but broader in the back, about three feet high, with four legs, like those of a pig, but stouter.

The description given by other persons of it, correspond generally with the above. It was seen five times in three years - the last time in 1839."

From 'The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction", Dec. 26th, 1840.

File:Loch Assynt from Cnoc an Lochain Fheoir - - 546799.jpg
John Street's image of Loch Assynt on Wikimedia Commons.

FF Notes. 

A 'stirk' is a young bullock or heifer, between one and two years old.

Walruses have bristley faces and large tusks, and jowly bulldogish faces, but they don't have ears. They also don't have what could be described as four pig-like legs: they have flippery limbs.

Hippos on the other hand... they've got stout piggy legs, and you can certainly see a long way into them when they yawn; they have tusks and they do have ears, and they're even a little bit whiskery. But a hippo in Loch Assynt? That's a lot more crazy than a walrus.

Seals and sea-lions are whiskery and have nice large eyes. But definitely no piggy legs. And no tusks. And otters are far too small.

The mystery remains :)