An expert from the Chinese Academy of Sciences argued that the object seen in the video is likely inanimate, claiming that a reptile wouldn’t brave the middle of the Yangtze.
The snake-like creature evidently wasn’t shy; this footage was captured at the Three Gorges Dam Scenic Area, a popular tourist spot in Yichang City.
Reports suggest it was as thick as an average adult human’s thigh – an accurate unit of measurement if ever there was – and was estimated to to be at least 10 feet long. It certainly seems like a powerful animal, swimming against the river current with ease.
Nearly two million people have watched the clip since it was made public and, as expected, theories abound as to just what the slithering monster could be. One social media one user wrote: “That must be a water snake.”
Another raised a good point and asked: “Why is every image of a mysterious monster always so blurry?”
As to the most rational explanation? Well, while Yichang forestry officials have so far declined to comment, it’s most likely to be a Burmese python – a snake common to the area and, while they largely spend their time on land, are also excellent swimmers.
They are able to grow to the size of the creature seen in the video and so it’s a reasonable theory that it’s one of these that’s been spotted.
At 6,300 kilometres (3,915 miles), the Yangtze is Asia’s longest river and runs eastward through almost the entire width of China before exiting into the East China Sea.
It’s no stranger to myth and legend either. The famous Come to Me rock sits by the Kongling Shoal, so called because in order for boatmen to successfully navigate past it in low tide they need to aim their boat directly at it.
Another notable landmark that sits along the Yangtze is the Goddess Peak, the most prominent of the 12 peaks of the Wu Gorge. The peaks’ mythology suggests that a fairy from heaven and her 11 sisters came down to protect the area from flooding and subsequently became the peaks themselves.
So, can we now add the Chinese Loch Ness monster as a new legend to the famous river’s already vast canon of folklore? One can only speculate, but there’s no way a bag of rubbish moves likes that.