Freshwater Monster of South America.
Etymology: Spanish, “cowhide,” from its
Variant names: El Bien peinado (“wellgroomed
one”), Cuero unudo, Hide, Huecú,
Lafquen trilque, Manta (“blanket”), Trelquehuecuve.
Physical description: Dark color. Rough skin.
Usually just a hump or long neck is seen. Sometimes
said to have four eyes on the head and numerous
eyes on the perimeter of its body.
Behavior: Most active in the evening. Can
walk on land. Creates large wakes.
Distribution: Lago Lacar and Lago Nahuel
Huapí, Neuquén Province, Argentina; other
lakes in the region, including Chile; also said to
(1) Jorge Luis Borges characterized the
animal as a F reshwater Octop us.
(2) Karl Shuker has suggested an unknown
species of large, freshwater jellyfish, perhaps
related to the Moon jelly (Aurelia aurita)
found near the coast and inland in warm
and tropical waters. It ranges in size from 2
to 16 inches.
(3) An evolved Sea scorpion (Class
Eurypterida), which flourished from the
Ordovician to the Permian periods,
500–250 million years ago, proposed by
Mark Hall. One species, Pterygotus
buffaloensis, attained a length of 9 feet and
was the largest known arthropod. Sea
scorpions were roughly cylindrical and had
distinct latitudinal scales.
El Cuero is a South American extremely dangerous lake monster, having a hairless head and spine, and a body structure which has the appearance of cow hide which has been splayed out to dry.
El Cuero, meaning "cowhide," resembles a primitive stingray at most. It has wide pectoral fins and a long, whip-like tail, absent of a barb. Its eyes are on stalks like an insects, and its mouth is apparently extendable, like that of a sturgeon's. Eyewitness have also reported seeing a serious of razor sharp claws along the fringes of El Cuero, which the creature uses to secure its prey. The size of El Cuero ranges from 2-5 feet across and approximately 65 pounds. El Cuero may be distantly related to the family of freshwater stingrays known as the Stenohaline which call South America Home. However, there are some notable differences between South America’s freshwater stingrays and El Cuero.
El Cuero apparently hunts in the Chilean glacial Lake Lacar, which is located in the Andes Mountains.
South American natives consistently tell that El Cuero is a voracious predator, giving it the nickname "aquatic tiger." The monster apparently surges out of the lake, like an orca, and overwhelms its prey (humans). It then uses its proboscis to puncture the skin and suck internal organs and blood.
There have been countless, yet controversial, attacks on humans. One story tells of a woman washing clothes by the lakeside; her baby slept nearby. According to her, the creature burst from the water like a crocodile and engulfed the baby. It then slipped into the water as quickly as it appeared.
Similar creatures to El Cuero have been reported to dwell in the rivers and lagoons of both Argentina and Chili, and the legend of El Cuero has circulated throughout the indigenous people of these two nations. Some investigators have pointed out the similarities between this animal and the vicious Hueke-Hueke, another South American lake cryptid. So similar are the reports of these two creatures that many researchers suggest that the creatures are actually the same animal.
South American mothers warn their children to stay away from lakesides, fearing "Hueke Hueke" will eat them.
Scientists theorize that El Cuero might be a primitive invertebrate, similar to the aquatic predator, the nudibranch. Nudibranch's are active predators, and, like El Cuero, can even surge onto land when hunting mollusks. It is possible that the El Cuero's vicious attacks could be misidentification; the mata-mata is a freshwater turtle whose unusual appearance may frighten people. It is possible that El Cuero could be a rogue mata-mata.