The long awaited weekly newsletter from the
Centre for Fortean Zoology
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#1 - 1st November 2015
Starting in November 2015 this is a monthly newsletter sent out to all members of The Centre for Fortean Zoology. If you do not wish to receive them for any reason you can unsubscribe at the bottom of this page...
Dear Friends,
I feel mildly embarrassed about this, because I have been promising a members only CFZ newsletter since the beginning of the year, but a lot of things have gotten in the way, however here it is, and it will be appearing on or about the first of the month from now on.
This is not replacing Animals & Men. However, as of earlier this year new issues of Animals & Men can be purchased in two formats, as a printed paperback and as a Kindle eBook. In addition, a FREE “flipbook” digital version is available to read online. All members of the CFZ have been added to this database, and will be receiving the newsletter from now on for the duration of their membership.

Jon Downes(Director, CFZ)
We have made every effort to contact copyright holders of material reproduced in this newsletter. If you feel your rights have been infringed please contact us at

In late October the Daily Mail published a story about a mysterious creature seen in a sea cave off Corfu. For those of you not in the know, this is a crescent shaped Greek island off the coast of Albania. You can read the original story here.


Unfortunately there is no scale so we cannot estimate size, and I have to admit that my gut feeling is that it is the foetus of some species of cetacean. However, it could be argued that the semi-circular dark markings about a third of the way along the object are gill flaps which would make it some sort of fish.


What do you think?


Our friend Sharon from Doubtful News sent us this intriguing article:

One of the most famous “sea serpent” cases, that of the sighting from the crew of HMS Daedalus in 1848, has long been cited as a mystery animal. Dr. Gary J. Galbreath, an evolutionary biologist, authored an article featured on the cover of the September/October 2015 issue of Skeptical Inquirer that makes an argument that the identity of the mysterious creature is now solved: it is a sei whale.

Read on...
As the appearance of this long awaited newsletter bears testament, things are slowly getting back to normal here at the CFZ. But there is more to come. Much more. Have a gander at this:
Also in the planning stage is the return of the CFZ yearbook. The last one was published in 2014 but we hope there will be one for the coming year. However, we need content so take this as a challenge to your creativity. Please send your submissions to me at
Tickets for the 2016 Weird Weekend go on sale soon, and we shall be announcing an especially exciting lineup within the next few weeks...
Sea Snake Stories
One of the things that I have noticed over the years that I have been chronicling Fortean zoological phenomena around the world is that such phenomena very seldom happen singly. Admittedly I am not the first person to have noticed this, nor would I wish to claim that this was so. No less a person than Charles Fort himself remarked upon it, and it could be argued that such waves of data are the basic building blocks of Fortean investigation.
Over the period of Samhain we have had a number of interesting stories about a group of animals that I have always, personally, found very interesting indeed.
Sea Snakes.
There are 62 known species, and one – Pelamis platura commonly known as the yellow-bellied sea snake may have the largest natural range of any reptile. Several species have been reported in enormous numbers. As a result of this it has been speculated that a sea snake species is the most numerous reptile in the world. This is almost certainly not true and this honour probably goes to the common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) which is found across Europe and Asia, even beyond the Arctic circle.
I have only seen living sea snakes once – at the state fair in Perth, Western Australia in 1968, although I did see a dead one in Hong Kong a few years earlier. They are remarkably difficult to keep in captivity. They appear to be intolerant of handling and also need a highly specialist diet. Species that have done relatively well in captivity include the ringed sea snake, Hydrophis cyanocinctus, which feeds on fish and eels in particular. Pelamis platurus has done especially well in captivity, accepting small fish, including goldfish. However, care has to be taken to house them in round or oval tanks, or in rectangular tanks with corners that are well-rounded, to prevent the snakes from damaging their snouts by swimming into the sides.
There have been two recent accounts of out of place sea snakes.
The first is from the Daily Mail online of the 2nd of November which reports that: “A one and a half metre long Stokes' sea snake - which is known to live in the tropical waters of Western Australian, Queensland and the Northern Territory - washed up in Manly Cove last week, much to the surprise of local resident Carole Douglas.

The formidable marine snake, whose fangs are long enough to pierce a wetsuit, is highly venomous and with no known anti venom, the large ocean serpent is capable of delivering a painful and fatal bite”.
The second report is, if anything, even more extraordinary, as you can see from the world wide distribution map we produced here,  and comes from Ventura County, California and was reported by CNN on the 17th October.  A surfer had captured footage of the sea snake lying on the beach. "It looked lethargic when I approached," Bob Forbes told CNN. "I touched it lightly and it started to move." Fearing that children might come across the aquatic snake, Forbes placed it inside a five-gallon bucket with some ocean water and alerted local wildlife experts. The discovery is a rare Southern California record, according to Greg Pauly, curator of herpetology of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. "It was the northernmost sea snake ever documented in the Pacific Coast of North America," he said. The last sea snake species to be documented washed up on shore in 1972 in Orange County, which is about 100 miles south of Ventura County. "I never would have thought that a sea snake would wash up that far up north," Pauly said.
Thank you for reading this inaugural newsletter, the next issue will be mailed out on or about the first of December, and henceforth every month. I hope that you all approve of it. Brickbats and plaudits to
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