The Legend of the ‘Oklahoma Octopus’

As the rate of unexplained drowning deaths has reportedly crept up in Oklahoma’s placid lakes, some observers have turned to an unusual explanation: a freshwater octopus.The legend of a killer cephalopod lurking in the murky waters of the state’s Lake Thunderbird, Lake Tenkiller or Lake Oolagah has been surfacing for at least the past several years. Animal Planet’s Lost Tapes even aired an investigation of this crypto-creature. This beast (or beasts), dubbed the “Oklahoma Octopus,” reportedly drags swimmers down with its many strong arms. This unlikely animal, people have explained, might be a rare living fossil, left over from the time (tens of millions of years ago) when this part of the country was, indeed, a shallow sea–and a perfect octopus habitat. Over the millennia, this particular line of octopuses has adapted to freshwater, these proponents suggest.

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