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Are there crocodiles or alligators in Lake Mead?

Posted at 11:39 AM, Jul 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-05 08:42:12-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A woman and her family saw something mysterious in the water on Saturday at Echo Bay in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The woman shot video from the shore of something moving through the water. She can be heard speculating on camera that the myths about crocodiles in Lake Mead might be true.

According to legend, a man was caught releasing alligators into Lake Mead not long after a B-29 Superfortress bomber crashed into the lake on July 21, 1948.

The theory is that the alligators were pets and they had grown to a size that the man could not handle. So, he did what many pet owners do when they no longer want a pet and dumped it in nature.

The legend goes on to say that aviation fuel and possible radioactive fallout from the crashed bomber caused the alligators to mutate and they became very big and fat and ate all the lake’s fish.

So, if the legend is true, maybe what the woman and her family saw was a descendant of one of those pets.

We do know that a 3-1/2 foot alligator was caught in the lake at Sunset Park in 2009. And just last year, a fisherman at Sunset Park claimed he saw something large pop up and eat a duck.

RELATED: Is there something lurking in the lake at Sunset Park in Las Vegas?

There are also stories about giant catfish at the bottom of Lake Mead. Supposedly these catfish are so big that they could swallow a man whole. Stories about giant catfish near dams is not uncommon.

Additionally, there were stories in the 1970s and ‘80s about stray sharks that attacked boaters on the lake.

We do know that in addition to the bomber, there is a town that was flooded and covered by water during the construction of Lake Mead. St. Thomas, founded by Mormon settlers in 1865, was hidden from view for decades until the falling waterline caused by the drought revealed the ruins.

According to the website for Lake Mead, there are 41 species of reptiles and 12 species of amphibians in the recreation area and lake.

Several online commentators believe that it was a beaver that was swimming in the water.

Katie Mccortney, who runs a women’s paddle board group, sent us this photo of a beaver. She says she has seen it in the lake many times and that is what she believes was captured by the visiting family.

13 Action News has reached out to Lake Mead for comment on the mysterious lake creature.