September/October Monster Report: Latra

I’ve combined my September and October Monster Reports this time around because I’ve made a rather embarrassing mistake.

I went to visit my parents in upstate NY, and my dad and I took a walk in the woods. While we were out, I saw the strangest sight—trees which looked completely normal the first time we walked past, but had suddenly changed when we returned. Of course I didn’t take pictures of them before—why would I, when they looked like completely normal trees?

You can see some of my after pictures below, however.

 Night was falling, so it was hard to take clear pictures, but you can see the strange bite marks near the ground.

Night was falling, so it was hard to take clear pictures, but you can see the strange bite marks near the ground.

 This one happened a little closer to the water, farther from where we saw the initial damage.

This one happened a little closer to the water, farther from where we saw the initial damage.

 In this one, I could’ve sworn I saw something move, but of course poor light made it impossible to get a clear photo.

In this one, I could’ve sworn I saw something move, but of course poor light made it impossible to get a clear photo.

 I was a little nervous to get so close, but if you can see the damage, the creature is usually gone.

I was a little nervous to get so close, but if you can see the damage, the creature is usually gone.

You see, there is a monster called a latra. It’s a sort of long, flat garg that disguises itself by wrapping itself around a tree. It shaves a good amount off, and then settles itself into the tree. Then, when prey walks by, it launches out, from seemingly nowhere, and latches onto its prey’s leg or arm or whatever. Its teeth are filled with a venom that can cause its prey to feel extreme pain. When the latra leaves the tree, it looks like a big gouge has been taken out of the bark, like a big mouth came and chomped down on the tree.

 Since I didn’t actually see a latra, I couldn’t take a picture. But here’s the general idea of it.

Since I didn’t actually see a latra, I couldn’t take a picture. But here’s the general idea of it.

Latras are particularly dangerous because they reproduce rapidly, and can hibernate for great lengths of time. You could have a whole colony of latras living in your woods and never realize it, because they just look like tree bark and blend perfectly with whatever tree they’re attached to. If you walk by at the right time, you may think for a second that the tree has eyes, but if you see that, I recommend that you don’t take the time to look closer—just run.

So after seeing the trees in my parents’ woods, I thought the latra had been there when we walked by initially, but then left before our return. It could’ve been stalking us, for all we knew. We hurried out of those woods, let me tell you. Having to fight off latras in the dark doesn’t not sound like a relaxing visit home.

So we raised the alarm, warned their neighbors, hung flyers in town, posted on social media…

Anyway, you can imagine my embarrassment when my mom sent me this video from their wildlife camera:

It was just a beaver! I was extremely embarrassed, and had to rescind our proclamation that latras had invaded upstate NY.

In any case, don’t worry. There have actually not been any sightings of latras. Just a beaver or two.

Stay cool, and watch out for monsters!