The Mongolian Death Worm: Fact Or Fiction?

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Sensing its prey it moves through the shifting sands. Unseen the eyeless monstrosity moves closer and closer. They prey realizes something is wrong but it’s already too late. Suddenly it bursts from the ground, spraying acid to blind the prey before unleashing a deadly blast of electricity, electrocuting its prey. Then the Allghoi Khorkhoi begins the slow process of devouring its latest kill.

No, this is not something from Frank Herbert’s Dune or Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. This is a description of an attack by a Mongolian Death Worm. 

Gobi Kidding Me

The Mongolian Death Worm is a mysterious creature that is said to live in the sands of the Gobi Desert. According to various accounts, these terrifying creatures grow up to 3 feet in length, are dark red in color, and have spike-like projections at either end. It has a bite that supposedly corrodes metal instantly and it can also kill by either spitting a deadly corrosive venom or electrocuting its prey from a distance.

You might be wondering why you have never seen one of these in your biology textbooks. The reason is that one has never been photographed before. In fact, the Mongolian Death Worm is largely believed to be a myth. Believed that is, by people who do not live in Mongolia. Stories and sightings of the beast run rife in the area. In the area, the belief in these creatures is so strong that descriptions of the creature don’t vary and many people claim to have seen, and promptly avoided one. 

Is This The Real Life Or Is This Just Fantasy?

So, is it real or just some folktale? The answer can best be summed up as ‘both’. It cannot really be a worm as the environment is too inhospitable for a soft fleshy creature like that to survive. However, it might be some form of snake or legless lizard. A worm lizard, as such creatures are called, lives underground and can grow up to several feet in length. Also, while there are species of snakes that can spit venom and cause blindness, none of them have a metal corroding venom or the power to electrocute prey. 

It is possible that the apparent sightings of the Mongolian Death Worm may just be some misidentified snake or lizard, but it is also possible that the creature is a complete and utter myth as paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, the first person to mention the creature in English, stated in his 1926 book.

The Mystery Remains

Ancient Origins

Of course, there is always the slim but terrifying possibility that these worms are, in fact, real. Perhaps thousands of them live under the sands and have merely avoided capture to date. Maybe someday science will finally be able to tell us if this is a mythological cryptid, a misidentified snake, or a very real monster living deep in the Gobi Desert.