The Mongolian Death Worm sounds like a perfect, dangerous critter from a 1950s pulp science-fiction narrative (or sci-fi television movie), however some individuals believe it to be true in the Gobi Desert.
"One of the world's most fantastical species could be hidden in amongst the the sands of the southern Gobi Desert," writes British biologist Karl Shuker in his book "The Unexplained: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Paranormal Mysteries" (2002, Metro Books). It seems to embody a large fat worm, measuring up to one meter (3 feet) long and dark red in color, with spike-like projections at both ends. It takes up a lot of its existence buried under the desert sands, but once one is detected resting on the surface, the residents flee it with vigor.
According to legend, the notorious Mongolian Death Worm, also known as olgoi-khorkhoi or "large intestine worm" in Mongolian, has lived up to its name. It has the potential to harm in a variety of terrifying ways, such as spewing a stream of corrosive venom that is fatal to anything it comes into contact with, and if that doesn't work, it is said to be able to electrocute its victims from a safe distance. It was cited in a 1926 book by paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews, who did not accept the living creature existed but acknowledged that tales about it floated in Mongolia.
Amidst the creature's terrifying name, numerous daring explorers have ventured into the Gobi Desert in search of the beast. Over the years, there have been countless ordered expeditions and searches, both by independent experts and in tandem with television shows. Despite widespread investigations, witness accounts meetings, and even attempting to trap the beast, all efforts have failed.
Numerous believers recognize that there is no concrete proof of the creature's presence, but claim that legends and stories about it must have some historical basis. They believe that the statements from various times and locations are too alike to be anything other than credible eyewitness accounts.
However, from a folkloric standpoint, this is purely evidence that legends and stories about the Death Worm have stretched across the region, as is typical with trade and travel. Countless people all over the world can provide very comparable explanations of dragons, leprechauns, mermaids, and other fascinating creatures based on what they've heard about them rather than direct experience.
Nevertheless, no living or dead creatures have been discovered. Every known critter has left a dead body or skeleton behind. In fact, because of the absence of predatory animals and hot desert winds which slow decay, the Gobi would certainly retain the animal's carcass. The settlers of the Gobi are knowledgeable of the worldwide curiosity for their mystery monster, and even offers of large sums of money for one of the creatures, alive or dead, and if one is discovered, it will undoubtedly be revealed.
In the legend of the Mongolian Death Worm, a zoological viewpoint could help us separate fact from fiction. First and foremost, we ought not be tricked by the word "worm" in the title; it is an English translation. If it exists in the harsh Gobi Desert, the creature cannot be a soft, fleshy worm; rather, it is most probably a snake or legless lizard. This further implies that it would be a vertebrate animal with a spine that searchers would supposedly find.
A number of theories have been developed to describe the animal, along with the possibility of a misidentified or new species of snake. The Mongolian Death Worm, according to researchers such as Shuker and author Richard Freeman, does not hold true, and the idea is predicated on spottings of some kind of limbless reptile known as worm lizard or a type of sand boa snake.
Of course, the Mongolian Death Worms could exist. Perhaps a strange creature will be discovered and studied by scientists in the coming week, month, or year. In the meantime, it appears that Roy Chapman Andrews' observation nearly a century ago was factual: the creature is just a legend.