I came across this today in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary:
SE'A-DRAGON, n. [sea and dragon.]
A marine monster caught in England in 1749, resembling in some degree
an alligator, but having two large fins which served for swimming or
flying, It had two legs terminating in hoofs, like those of an ass. Its
body was covered with impenetrable scales, and it had five rows of
So I thought, if Webster knew about it, then perhaps it could be found written elsewhere.
Here is the text from the
1823 Edition of Encyclopedia Britannica Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and Miscellaneous Literature page 68 of Volume XIX.
Sea-Dragon, a monster of a very singular nature. In the Gentleman's Magazine for the year
1749, we have the account of a sea-dragon which was said to be taken
between Orford and Southwould, on the coast of Suffolk, and afterwards
carried round the country as a curiosty by the fishermen who caught it.
head and tail (says the writer) resemble those of an alligator; it has
two large fins, which serve it both to swim and to fly; and though they
were so dried that I could not extend them, yet they appear, by the
folds, to be shaped like those which painters have given to dragons and
other winged monsters that serve as supporters to coats' of arms. Its body is covered with impenetrable scales; its legs have two joints, and its feet are hoofed like those of an ass:
it has live rows of very white and sharp teeth in each jaw, and is in
length about four feet, though it was longer when alive, it having
shrunk. as it became dry.
was caught in a net with mackerel ; and being dragged on shore, was
knocked down with a stretcher or boat-hook. The net being opened, it
suddenly sprung up, and flew above 50 yards: the man who first seized
it had several of his fingers bitten off; and the wound mortifying, he
died. It afterwards fastened on the man's arm who shows it, and
lacerated it so much, that the muscles are shrunk, and the hand and fingers distorted; the wound is not yet healed, and is thought to be incurable. It is said by some to have been described by naturalists under the name of the Sea-dragon. We must add to the account now given of the monster called a sea-dragon, that
we think it extremely probable that the animal was nothing more than a
distorted or overgrown individual of some of the well known species of
Too bad they didn’t have cameras back then. Sounds like Job’s description of leviathan.
Thought it was interesting that the feet were hooved like the feet of an ass. Must have been an ugly creature.
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