|Loch Ness Monster-like creature on the Tennessee River (April 1, 2014)|
“There are only so many freshwater creatures that even come close to that size,” said Tennessee Aquarium Naturalist John Dever. No dorsal fins or sting ray barbs were detected (ruling out any wayward bull sharks, giant freshwater rays or even the area’s legendary catfish).
Dever, who was on board during the trip, says current weather conditions are ideal for sighting wildlife in the Gorge, although no one expected to see anything quite like this. “We tend to see Bald Eagles, Osprey, Deer and Turkeys this time of the year,” Dever said. “But April 1st does tend to be a peak date for more unusual sightings on the Tennessee River.”
|Loch Ness Monster-like creature under Market Street Bridge (circa 1920)|
It is unclear if this creature is related to the infamous “Nessie” from Scotland’s Loch Ness – or perhaps a closely related American species on a spring migration through the Scenic City.
A quick archival investigation, with assistance from Picnooga, brought up an old photo of the Market Street bridge in which a smaller, younger version of the same monster is slightly visible.
The Tennessee Aquarium is inviting the public to share any theories or knowledge about this, or other river monster sightings, across their favorite social networks using the hashtag #ChattaNessie.
The Williams Island Family Adventure Cruise runs daily through April 17. While bird, turtle and other wildlife sightings are common, an appearance by Nessie or any other aquatic monster is not guaranteed.