Remember the scene in “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” when the Millennium Falcon narrowly escapes destruction in the jaws of a great space slug? Well, this cryptid is a little like that, only less spacey and more terrifying.
Found only in the deep mountains of Colorado, the Slide Rock Bolter is strictly a Colorado cryptid. No one knows why this creature hasn’t been seen in any other mountains around the world, but it hasn’t.
This great rock slug appears to be tied in some respects to the evolution of a whale because it resembles one in size and appearance. The creature’s small, slitted eyes sit atop a mouth that’s best described as a large gash with razor sharp teeth. Its enormous head is supported by a tear drop shaped body tapering down to a prehensile tail that the creature uses to clamp onto mountain peaks. Patiently, it hangs in place, waiting for its next meal to come along.
While stories of the creature vary, the Slide Rock Bolter is often described as larger than a blue whale with camouflaged markings that blend with the surrounding rocks. An example of adapting well to one’s environment, hairs on the creature are said to resemble scrub brush. That prehensile tail is the center of a debate. Some observers claim it’s similar to a crab’s pincer while others describe it as forked with hooks. Still others argue the tail is more finger-like, with big hairy knuckles.
By all accounts, the Slide Rock Bolter doesn’t hunt for its dinner, nor does it actively lure in helpless creatures. It just sits there, waiting. When an especially tasty specimen wanders into visual range, it simply releases its grasp on the mountain peak. Just as its name suggests, it rapidly slides down the face of the rocks, its mouth open, gobbling the prey whole.
Although ambush predators exist across the entire vertebrate and invertebrate spectrum, their behaviors are most commonly witnessed in reptiles such as Nile crocodiles, black mambas, and the common snapping turtle. A necessity for this later group where the conservation of energy is key to survival.
Is there an argument that the Slide Rock Bolter remains in a dormant state, with or without its mouth open until the perfect meal comes along? It would make sense, especially if the creature were a cold blooded cryptid.
Since we’re on the topic of meals, what, pray tell, does the Slide Rock Bolter like to eat? Why tourists, of course!
This is the part of the story that gets a little tall. According to native Coloradans, the Slide Rock Bolter only eats tourists and is the reason ten or so tourists go missing each year. Rather than having a preference for folks with cameras, it seems more likely natives just avoid dangerous areas, and the Slide Rock Bolter survives on a steady diet of bear, moose and elk.
Either way, if you’re planning a mountain climbing trip or a long hike in the wilderness, heed this whale of a tale and consider doing it somewhere else.