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The Kongamato ("breaker of boats") is a reported pterosaur-like creature from the border area of Zambiamarker, Angolamarker and Congomarker. Suggested identities include a modern-day Rhamphorhynchus, a misidentified bird (such as the very large and peculiar Saddle-billed Stork), or a giant bat.

Frank Melland, in his 1923 book In Witchbound Africa, describes it as living along certain rivers, and very dangerous, often attacking small boats. It was red, with a wingspan of 4 to 7 feet. Members of the local Kaonde tribe identified it as a pterodactyl after being shown a picture of one from Melland's book collection.

In 1956 an engineer, J.P.F. Brown, allegedly saw the creature at Fort Roseberymarker near Lake Bangweulumarker in Northern Rhodesiamarker (now Zambia). It was about 6:00 p.m. when he saw two creatures flying slowly and silently directly overhead. He observed that they looked prehistoric. He estimated a wingspan of about 3 to 3 1/2 feet (1 meter) and a beak-to-tail length of about 4 1/2 feet (1.5 meters). It reportedly had a long thin tail, and a narrow head which he likened to an elongated snout of a dog.

The following year, at a hospital at Fort Rosebery, a patient came in with a severe wound in his chest, claiming that a large bird had attacked him in the Bangweulu swamps. When asked to draw the bird, he allegedly drew a creature resembling a pterosaur. This drawing does not appear to have survived to the present.

It is curious to note that the area concerned is advertised as a prime birdwatching site, but this large, flying animal seems not to have been reported by any visiting birdwatchers.

There are reports of similar creatures (no details given) from Angola, Zimbabwemarker, Democratic Republic of Congomarker, Namibiamarker, Tanzania and Kenyamarker.

See also


Further reading

  • Clark, J. "Unexplained!" (Visible Ink, 1993)
  • Shuker, K.P.N. "In Search of Prehistoric Survivors" (Blandford, 1995) ISBN 0-7137-2469-2

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