Region of origin: Blanco, Arkansas, United States

First mentioned in a newspaper in 1897 but discussed locally for at least a few decades prior, this species of twenty-foot-long lizard, also known as Arkansas’ dragon, was said to live in subterranean tunnels and lairs in the Ozarks mountains that it digs out with its two large tusks. It gained the name gowrow from the sound it makes while hunting, attacking humans and livestock with its claws and whip-like tail and dragging their bodies back to its lair to feed. Supposedly the females laid eggs “as large as beer kegs” and carried the young around in a possum-like pouch once they hatched. In the early twentieth century there were stories of a man who claimed to have captured one alive and took it on tour, but always appeared on stage in torn clothing warning the crowd it had escaped and scaring them away without having to produce the specimen.

Originally posted on Tumblr on July 22, 2016

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