There is a manmade lake in Argentina’s Salta Province that has a history of lake monster sightings. Interestingly, Salta Province is renowned for strange phenomena and even paranormal activity. The following is an excerpt from my book Water Monsters South of the Border:

Unique video footage of a strange creature was captured on Christmas Day, 2011 in Argentina’s Salta Province. The video was obtained by a fisherman in a manmade lake called Cabra Corral while he was filming lake scenery. When local news media outlets learned of the video, they quickly dubbed to animal “Cabralito,” a reference to the lake and also to the “Patagonian Plesiosaur,” also known as Nahuelito, a reference to Nahuel Huapi, the lake where it resides.

Sebastian Papetti is the fisherman who obtained the video. He claimed that something strange in the water caught his eye as he was filming. What caught his attention was a creature—a creature that had a large wake following it, and was reptilian in appearance. The animal had a large, oval-shaped head which it lifted above the surface and then quickly plunged it back underwater. The animal was an impressive swimmer; Papetti was impressed with the speed that the animal reached as it swam. It was as if the water offered no resistance at all.1

The size of the animal also impressed Papetti. He claimed, “I am quite sure that this is a strange animal, of not less than 15 meters long.”2 15 meters is equivalent to just over 49 feet.

Papetti was quick to point out that many other fishermen have observed strange things in the water.

Past Sightings

According to Jorge Santi, a policeman, rumors of a strange, large creature have circulated around the community for a number of years. Some witnesses claim to have seen a very large snake swimming with its head above the water. Other eyewitnesses report a reptile that resembles a caiman.3

In 1987, another fisherman witnessed a strange creature in the water. Lucio Temporetti saw a giant snake with a big head; it left a large, discernable wake behind as it swam. The wake reminded Temporetti of the wake that a boat creates. After describing his encounter, Temporetti said that had he not been accompanied by others, he would have thought himself crazy. Others saw the same thing, though—six other fishermen saw the giant snake that Temporetti described.4

Though Cabralito received much attention after Sebastian Papetti’s video, this was not the first time that the animal was captured on camera. In late November 2011, a still photograph was taken of something resembling the head of a large creature. The local newspaper, El Tribuno, published a picture. Many believe the image is nothing more than debris in the water. However, the debris explanation does not sit well with Leo Bonino, who was walking in the area where the photo was taken. Bonino claimed  to see the object in the photograph with his own eyes; the object—a large, reptilian creature.5

Explaining Cabralito

There are problems when considering the existence of a 49 foot-long, serpentine creature that inhabits the waters of Cabra Corral. As stated earlier, the lake is manmade. Personally, it is hard for me to accept the existence of unknown creatures when the reports come from manmade lakes. Admittedly, though, there are instances where a cryptid may best explain unusual phenomena in manmade lakes. Lake Norman, in North Carolina, and Herrington Lake in Kentucky are a couple of such places that come to mind.

I encourage you, the reader, to examine Sebastian Papetti’s video for yourself. In my view, the footage is interesting, but in no way does it conclusively show a large reptile in the water. The first thought that I had when I saw the creature’s head rise and then quickly plunge underwater was that it resembled an otter. Perhaps the wake behind the otter were other submerged otters swimming in a line.

I’ll be honest—I hate the explanation that I just gave. The same thing is said by skeptics in nearly every lake monster report that I can recall. However, given the fact that otters do live there, and that the lake is manmade, I believe this explanation best fits. With that being said, though, I do not rule out the possibility that something else is at play here. Maybe even a monster.


  1. Carmen Petrini. “Cabralito: El Monstruo Del Dique Cabra Corral.” El Tribuno. December 13, 2014. Accessed June 25, 2016.
  2. “’Cabralito’, El Nuevo Monstruo Acuático De Salta.” December 29, 2011. Accessed June 25, 2016.
  3. Cronista, “’Cabralito’, El Nuevo Monstruo Acuático De Salta.”
  4. Petrini, “Cabralito: El Monstruo Del Dique Cabra Corral.”
  5. Cronista, “’Cabralito’, El Nuevo Monstruo Acuático De Salta.”


Featured Image:

Dmitry Bogdanov [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons