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Mongolian Olgoi Khorkhoi (aka Mongolian Death Worm)

The following I was told near Xiangshawan Gorge in the Gobi desert. The guides seemed to genuinely believe this tale rather than treating it as a legend. The Mongol people of Mongolia and northern China are tough. They are skilled archers, hunters and wrestlers. They also among the most famous horsemen in the world, learning to ride almost as soon as they can walk. There is good reason for the Mongols to have these skills, living as they do in some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth. In the vast expanses of the wild, scorching Gobi desert, where few others dare to venture, they tell of a fearsome beast which they call "Olgoi Khorkhoi", meaning "large intestine worm".

Generally known to non-Mongols as the "Mongolian death worm", the creature is described as being between 2 and 6 feet in length and bright red in colour, as thick as a man's arm. It is said to have visible ribs along its body, causing it to resemble a cow's large intestine, hence the native name. It is generally believed to live below ground hibernating for most of the year, until the heat of June, July and August when it comes to the surface. The creature is said to be frequently active above ground during and after thunderstorms and heavy rains.

Mongols fear the worm greatly, although few people seem to agree on how it may cause harm to humans. Some say it can vomit acid or venom onto its victims, causing them to corrode slowly before the worm eats them. Others allege the creature uses an electrical discharge to kill from a distance. Many also believe the worm secretes a noxious gas which suffocates anyone who comes too close. It is also said to kill instantly anyone who touches it, accidentally or otherwise, perhaps secreting a deadly venom from its skin.

Despite numerous expeditions from scientists and cryptozoologists from around the world, nobody has ever been able to prove or disprove the existence of this deadly creature.

Many proposals have been put forward, one of the most interesting being that the Olgoi Khorkhoi could be a land dwelling version of the large marine bobbit worms. It has also been suggested that it could be an as yet undescribed species of Amphisbaenid, burrowing snake-like lizards.


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