Wednesday, January 8, 2014
A beast of Californian folklore, the Tripodero is not a proper cryptid. Rather, it's another "fearsome critter"-- an animal featuring in 19th-century tall tales. Lumberjacks and pioneers would tell greenhorns about these monsters, inventing ever more outrageous stories for amusement. One of the least probable-- but most entertaining-- concerns the Tripodero.
Despite its name, the Tripodero does not have three legs-- this is a common misconception. In fact, it has only two, along with a long, kangaroo-like tail. Using these three appendages, the Tripodero can stand with perfect balance, surveying its surroundings without the slightest wobble. From this viewpoint it can spot its preferred prey (small birds and mammals) before preparing to hunt it down.
The Tripodero is not an especially fast mover-- but it can run down its target with alarming speed. This is largely due to the creature's telescoping legs, which can reach ten feet in length when fully extended. The Tripodero can also retract its limbs when it needs to hide-- for example, from a predator, or from a hunter trying to capture the mysterious beast. With its legs fully drawn into its body, the Tripodero can slither through the undergrowth like a snake.
Even if the Tripodero is outrun, its prey never manages to escape. For the creature's most unusual trait is not its elongating legs, but its method of hunting. The Tripodero stores small globs of mud in its cheeks, which it can then shoot through its long snout like bullets. These mud-pellets are launched with incredible accuracy-- the Tripodero can adjust for wind, distance and drift when firing. Furthermore, due to its great balance, the monster's aim is perfectly steady. Once struck, a prey-animal will be knocked out cold-- allowing the Tripodero to dispatch it.
Read more about the Tripodero:
Image from http://www.lumberwoods.com/images/tripoderox.jpg (public domain)