Corfu’s mystery hippo-croco-dolphin is dubious (UPDATE)

See UPDATE below. We have the best match yet.

Originally published October 28, 2015 

The story goes (from the Daily Mail and the Mirror, both shameless promoters of mystery) that Harvey Robertson took pictures over the side of a tourist boat in a sea cave about 20 miles south of Albania on the west coast of Greece. He said he didn’t notice anything in the water until he saw the picture later. And this is what he found.

PAY-Tourist-snaps-unknown-sea-monster-while-on-holiday-in-Corfu (1)

The Mirror apparently paid him for the picture. But if someone was really curious about what it was, wouldn’t he share more with actual scientists? I’ve looked at the many articles and just see the same info circulated. Nothing new. (Add in the comments if YOU find something of value.)

There are a number of problems with this picture.

It does not resemble a known animal, the snout especially, which appears to have just one nostril. It is NOT a dolphin, though many people say it could be a river dolphin. Even though it’s grey and has a long snout (with a seam, not a mouth), the eye is wrong, and the blowhole is in the wrong place.

The bubbles on the surface are rather small, there is no scale though. We don’t even know how deep the water was!

Light bends underwater leading to distortion. So we could be looking not at a face of an animal, but something completely different.

Ideally, a return to the spot would be in order to determine if this is something alive or something that just resembles a strange animal in the water. Corfu is full of land and sea caves so it could also be a rock formation or a piece of debris and we are experiencing pareidolia. It’s a tourist boat so examination should be easy. Let’s see some additional evidence!

What it is for certain can’t be determined because we do not have nearly enough information. But it is NOT reasonable to call it a new mythological creature come to life or a cryptid. Or, as the more colorful sights suggest, a unknown-to-science sea monster or Nessie herself!

We are currently looking into the possibility it may be an edited picture.

Stay tuned.

Addition (29-Oct 2015): DN contacted Kenny Biddle from the Anomalies Research Society regarding the photo. Unfortunately, the existing photo posted online is not the original so it does not have the EXIF metadata for us to tell details about the photo. But, Kenny had some additional thoughts: If this was in a cave, as alleged, it was a small boat. Therefore, the camera wasn’t but a few feet above the water, so this object is small. The idea that it is a big creature by comparing it to Nessie or a dolphin is highly questionable. It could be a range of just a few square feet of water. Also, the picture is well-framed for someone who wasn’t paying attention. Why didn’t he notice the thing?

The object itself looks like plastic or rubbery material but it’s hard to tell from the image considering distortion from the water. Kenny thinks it’s small, perhaps a foot long. As we noted above, there isn’t a known object in frame to reference.
So, we are exactly no where further along.
UPDATE (4-Nov 2015) Dr. Darren Naish tweeted a pic of what may be the best match yet. NOT alive – a low freeboard fender that protects the gunwale and side of low profile boats. More from Discovery News.
A match for the mythical monster?

A match for the mythical monster?

  31 comments for “Corfu’s mystery hippo-croco-dolphin is dubious (UPDATE)

  1. Omxqru
    October 28, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    It’s a dead sasquatch. It could just as easily be a piece of trash that washed in there.

  2. Mark
    October 28, 2015 at 7:41 PM

    The “snout” looks like a shoe. A moccasin or loafer style. What may be taken for the lower jaw is the sole, then the upper and it even looks like stitching around the edge of the snout. Or at least pareidolia cuts both ways.

  3. October 28, 2015 at 8:36 PM

    That is a plausible interpretation, I agree.

  4. Craig
    October 28, 2015 at 9:33 PM

    Yeah. Some guy just leaned over the tour boat and took a picture of the water for no reason and …surprise! Something is in the water?

    If that is in fact true, it’s gotta be something small. Like a child’s toy dinosaur or some other form of debris.

  5. Bonnie
    October 28, 2015 at 11:24 PM

    I like the toy dinosaur suggestion. But it’s unlikely we’ll ever know for sure what it is.

  6. TonyB
    October 28, 2015 at 11:31 PM

    My first thought looking at the photo on a small tablet screen was that it looked like a piece of rubber.

  7. j
    October 28, 2015 at 11:51 PM

    small boat jet pump. Type this into google.

  8. October 29, 2015 at 8:37 AM

    You’ll have to explain this one further. I’m not seeing it.

  9. Amarok
    October 29, 2015 at 11:47 AM

    I’d say that what is visible on the pic looks very rubber-like. Imo, it doesn’t look like an animal at all, and it has the shape and aspect of a piece of gray rubber diving/sailing glove, which has been dropped or lost in the sea by someone. As a sea kayakist, I’ve been using these things for years, and most of people who do sea-related activities (like fishermen, sailors, divers etc…) use that kind of gloves to have a good grip on slippery wet stuffs, and keep hands relatively warm, so finding these things in the water wouldn’t be weird at all.

  10. busterggi (Bob Jase)
    October 29, 2015 at 11:48 AM

    I wish the pictures I take of things deliberately could come out as well as these ‘accidentals’.

    Where are the rest of his photos?

  11. Stephen
    October 29, 2015 at 12:34 PM


    Thanks Mark, now all I can see is a shoe…. some days I hate my brain..

  12. Harvey Robertson
    October 29, 2015 at 1:25 PM

    Your comments & views are very welcome.
    I took the picture and can assure you it is genuine, some of the written material is indeed a bit far fetched. I have the original photos and some more.
    I did send it out to many people with greater knowledge than myself and would welcome a chat with your expert.

  13. October 29, 2015 at 1:34 PM

    Feel free to send the info to and I will forward it along to Kenny Biddle and zoology experts. Thanks!

  14. ariana
    October 29, 2015 at 4:40 PM

    Hippokampos/hippocampe. Goggle “Thetis rideing a hippokampos” greeks thought its muzzel looked like a horse so the made it a sea horse in their art depictions. Its part hippo/part manatee I think this one is a curious juvinile. Very elusive they live in sea caves.

  15. October 29, 2015 at 5:26 PM

    Except those were not real animals. They are myths.

  16. Peebs
    October 29, 2015 at 7:14 PM

    BZ to Mr Robertson for stepping up to the plate.

    I genuinely look forward to further analysis of this.

  17. Sporkfighter
    October 29, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    If it’s actually bigger than a shoe, I could be some part of a boat, perhaps an armrest.

    Strange, that jump from “I don’t know what it is . . .” to “. . . so it must be . . .” What happens in that fraction of a second?

  18. Andreas
    October 30, 2015 at 1:01 AM

    Looks like a squid to me

  19. PaulH
    October 30, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    An inside-out wetsuit pehaps?

  20. Tony
    October 30, 2015 at 1:41 PM

    I can assure you, idoubtit, that while playing the pc game “Age of Mythology’ they are quite real, especially when one is furiously attempting to fend off two or three of them from attacking one’s docks while one’s lumber supply is dangerously low. 😉

  21. Scoll
    October 31, 2015 at 9:09 PM

    This is kind of where I’m at, though I’m more specifically leaning towards cuttlefish. I think in both cases they’re typically more colorful or decorative (especially the cuttlefish) so it may still be something interesting regardless.

  22. Andreas
    November 1, 2015 at 2:12 AM

    Yes you are correct. I have always called them squid. Just a bad habit I guess. What ever it is I think it’s from that group.

  23. Asha
    November 2, 2015 at 10:18 AM

    I’m not familiar with wet suit construction, but I can see how the portion sticking out of the water could resemble an inside-out “sock”, and the portion under water could be seen as the leg of an inside-out wetsuit leg, as long as it has a built-in “sock”, or however you want to refer to it. But this is all pure speculation on my part, as I’ve never examined a wetsuit up close, let alone donned or doffed one, as I live in a land-locked state, and I don’t swim. Does anyone know if a wet, inside-out neoprene garment, wetsuit or otherwise, would appear so shiny and smooth? It looks like it would require the liberal use of baby powder to get one’s body into it if it were that “rubbery” and smooth, kind of like how latex (or non-latex) gloves are pre-powdered so that they don’t stick to themselves or other gloves, and to make it easier to put them on. Maybe it’s just because this possible inside-out wetsuit leg with built-in sock is wet? Maybe someone who has some actual knowledge of wetsuits, specifically ones with built-in “socks”(?) could offer up their opinion here, because I’m definitely not qualified to speculate any further on neoprene wetsuit construction, be they footed or footless.
    Although, from my point of view, an inside-out wetsuit seems like it could be one of the more reasonable possible explanations thus far. Thanks, PaulH! I couldn’t figure out why it vaguely resembled something familiar, and the previous suggestions of a loafer-style shoe didn’t quite nail it, but the inside-out wetsuit suggestion made things click for me, and I’m really wondering if the possibility of it being the built-in “sock” or “boot” with seams to give it a more rigid shape, and the lower leg of the wetsuit just under the surface could be what we’re seeing here. But at the same time, the way that the “sock” appears to have bulging seams seems odd, as I thought that neoprene was usually glued together, (edge to edge, but not overlapping) and then an overlying zigzag stitch of some sort was used to reinforce the glue, or other method of fusing the the pieces together, so the presence of bulky seams, on the inside of the “sock” seems like a poor design, and most likely an uncomfortable one as well. If this possible double seam is required, wouldn’t it make more sense to have it on the outside, so that it wouldn’t be a source of irritation to one’s foot inside of the “sock”? Again, I don’t know. I’m just speculating about all of this.
    But if we don’t hear from someone who knows a lot more about wetsuits and their construction, especially the construction of ones with built-in “socks”, then I’m going to have to go with the idea that it’s a new Pokémon, the HippoCrocoDolphin. Gotta catch ’em all. 😉

  24. M
    November 3, 2015 at 12:07 AM
  25. gad
    November 3, 2015 at 12:45 AM

    This is a reply from someone on facebook to the story : ‘The ‘thing’ is a reflection of the guy who took the shot, with mostly his arm showing. He has something on his hand that he is holding the phone with. I downloaded the picture and processed it. I can see he is fat and is wearing a t-shirt with some Greek letters, and pie ( π ) is obvious among them.”

  26. Rich
    November 3, 2015 at 10:46 AM

    Simply add “…on Mars” to the end of that description to generate your own Richard C. Hoagland photo analysis.

  27. November 4, 2015 at 9:00 AM

    Did Harvey ever send the extra pictures? I find the “update” picture of a fender – somewhat mangled in Harvey’s picture – compelling. I’d also like to know if Harvey really saw nothing when he took the picture (which seems odd – to take a picture of dark water with a few bubbles?) or if that was added media hype. Thanks

  28. November 4, 2015 at 9:57 AM

    He hasn’t yet.

  29. Jackie
    November 14, 2015 at 10:31 PM

    I think it may be an old flipper! Googled pictures of grey flippers and there were a few possible matches? As someone mentioned before you can see stitching and it looks like its floating sole up?

  30. November 14, 2015 at 10:47 PM

    We’ve established its a boat fender.

  31. Vinnie
    February 2, 2016 at 12:46 AM

    Can I ask where this was established? I saw the possible images. I have a fair amount of knowledge on boat equipment and this appears too big to be a low freeboard fender. So if this was true, it would have had to be significantly altered. Even taking into account the kind of corrosion/damage floating objects go through, there is no way the curves on the top would complete the bend of a fender. This is too long and narrow even if the bend was straightened due to tension. So maybe when you say you have established it is a fender, maybe I didn’t see something additional stated or found. All I see is a very close guess, but something with too much detail to be a fender.

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