The Loch Ness Monster (Scottish Gaelic Niseag) is a cryptid that is reputed to inhabit Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. The most frequent speculation is that the creature represents a line of long-surviving plesiosaurs. It is similar to other supposed lake monsters in Scotland and elsewhere, though its description varies from one account to the next.
Popular interest and belief in the animal has varied since it was brought to the world's attention in 1933. Evidence of its existence is anecdotal, with minimal and much-disputed photographic material and sonar readings. The scientific community regards the Loch Ness Monster as a modern-day myth, and explains sightings as a mix of hoaxes and wishful thinking. Despite this, it remains one of the most famous examples of cryptozoology. The legendary monster has been affectionately referred to by the nickname Nessie (Scottish Gaelic: Niseag) since the 1950s.
Loch Ness is one of a series of interconnected, murky lakes in Scotland that were carved by glaciers during previous ice ages. Quite large and deep, it features exceptionally low water visibility due to a high peat content in the surrounding soil. Rumours of a monster or animal living in the loch have been circulating for at least several centuries, although to date there has been no convincing evidence to that effect. Many local inhabitants still argue strongly for its existence. Some skeptics suggest that this may be because the rumours of 'Nessie' underpin local folklore and the tourism industry.
Most accounts of the monster's appearance, including historical ones, indicate a creature with a striking resemblance to the long-extinct plesiosaur. Actual fossil evidence for this prehistoric creature shows it to have been physically large, with a long neck and tiny head, and flippers for propulsion. The alleged connection of this creature with the Loch Ness monster has made it a popular topic in the field of cryptozoology. However, most scientists suggest that the idea that it is a remnant of the prehistoric era is not plausible—there would need to be a breeding colony of such creatures for there to have been any long-term survival, and this would result in far more frequent sightings than have actually been reported. Many biologists also note that the lake simply is not large or productive enough to support even a small family of these creatures.
'Monster' sightings have occurred as far back as 1,500 years ago. The earliest known reference is from the Life of St. Columba; it describes how in 565 he saved the life of a Pict who was being attacked by the monster in the River Ness. (The reliability of the Life is illustrated by the preceding story, in which Columba slays a wild boar by the power of his voice alone.1) Documented (where?) descriptions of 'Nessie' exist as far back as October 1871, where 'D. Mackenzie' described seeing something that moved slowly before moving off at speed. People who saw 'the monster' described it as having a hump (sometimes more than one) that looked like an upturned boat.
The first modern sighting occurred on May 2, 1933. The newspaper Inverness Courier carried a story of a local couple who reportedly saw "an enormous animal rolling and plunging on the surface." The report of the "monster" (a title chosen by the editor of the Courier) became a media sensation, with London papers sending reporters to Scotland and a circus even offering a reward of £20,000 for capture of the monster.
Regardless of whether anything is actually in the loch, the Loch Ness monster has some significance for the local economy. Dozens of hotels, boating tour operators, and merchants of stuffed animals and related trinkets owe part of their livelihood to this monster although people visit the loch for many reasons other than to see the monster. Hence the legend is likely to endure for quite some time.
In Zoo Tycoon
The Loch Ness Monster is a cryptid available in Zoo Tycoon: Dinosaur Digs, as part of the Complete Collection bonus download. It is basically a larger palette swap of the Plesiosaurus. They are very calm and generally do not get angry easily, having a high tolerance for murky water and never trying to escape their exhibit, although beaching could be a problem if proper care is not taken. They will not (like most water-dwelling animals) jump fences, high or low.
They have no strength, and eat only fish, so almost any creature placed with them is generally safe. However, they are liable to be eaten by most predators, so these types of creatures should be kept away from them most of the time for safety. If a predator escapes and gets into the Loch Ness habitat, the cryptid could easily be devoured, so make sure to take safety measures, especially if it is a habitat that is sunken into the ground (very easily accessed if there is no fence.)
The Loch Ness Monster lives in fresh water, and any tanks created for these creatures should be set to such. They prefer a bit of sand and Brown Stone, and several rocks and flora, such as the Bald Cypress Tree and Ocean Floor Rock. They have no preferred shelters, so they may need deeper water for privacy. There are no toys that the Loch Ness prefers. The habitat itself should be fifty squares, or 10x5 per Loch Ness. They can live with only one other creature, the Plesiosaurus.
They require very high happiness to breed (97%) and even when their needs are met, they still have a very low chance at successfully reproducing. There is a ten month interval between reproduction cycles, and as the life expectancy of a Loch Ness Monster is only thirty six months, and thirty months as an adult, it may have very few chances to breed.
They lay eggs, and has no more than one of them each time. The eggs lay in the exhibit for thirteen days, after which they hatch and spent six months as children. They are very big even at this stage, and grow to be even bigger as they get older. Many players are surprised by the contrast in size.
In Zoo Tycoon 2
- In Dinosaur Digs, the Loch Ness Monster resembles a Elasmosaurus platyurus