The Land Salmon and Land Shark and Their Special Relationship - April 27, 2015
The West Coast of North America is inhabited by some strange creatures otherwise unknown to the rest of the world. Ogopogo, the great lake monster said to dwell in Okanagan lake. The Sasquatch, a creature rarely glimpsed and occasionally photographed, held in reverence by the Aboriginal Peoples as Ts’emekwes the name the Lummi people use, and sásq’ets the name used by the Halkomelem peoples. Then there is the ubiquitous name of “Bigfoot” used by businesses and all kinds of other enterprises. But giant humanoids are nothing new to humans as stories about such creatures abound on every continent except Antarctica which has no Aboriginal human population. Lake monsters too are old hat. Loch Ness has a monstrous inhabitant in Scotland and there are others reported periodically.
On the West Coast of North America though there resides a yet stranger creature. With a range from roughly Eugene Oregon through Washington State, British Columbia, and up into Alaska is the Land Salmon. This region was formerly known as “The Oregon Country” and even prior to the arrival of Europeans was well known. The jargon of the Pacific North West was known as Chinook and Salmon is Salmon, so no special word was assigned in the trade language, still used today only more modestly in most parts. The Land Salmon had only one enemy, the Land Shark. During breeding season the Land Sharks come ashore all up and down the West Coast in exactly the same areas that Land Salmon were known to inhabit. The purpose of their trek across dryish land was to breed in fresh water. When they later returned to the ocean the females would lay their eggs in salt water, but for the delicate romancing the Land Shark adopted; fresh water was essential. Naturally most people keep out of their way, however they come en masse and in several places there are natural lookout sites where they can be observed clumsily lurching across the landscape. However they are not the creatures in which we are interested. It is the Land Salmon with it’s penchant for adopting humans as companions that is of most interest. The Land Sharks being on land cannot hunt for food the same as they may do in the ocean, however Land Salmon are an attractive alternative to starving for the sharks.
Land Salmon eat flies, spiders, and copious quantities of mosquitoes, consequently for most humans being adopted by such a creature is a boon as life in North America is plagued by poor drinking water, hence Johnny Appleseed’s quest to plant apple trees to make cider, freezing weather of a long duration, and last but not least being eaten alive by biting insects. Men and animals have been known to be driven insane by such small creatures and both animal and human have been driven to suicide by them. The Land Salmon provides a welcome respite from such irritants as biting flies. Contrary to what you may think they are not slimy and only return to the water to breed. They are, some say, a species of Sockeye Salmon and they are coloured in the same way as Sockeye returning up river to spawn; that is to say they have a red body and a green head and the typical ‘alligator’ profile so well known. They do not bite without provocation which is why once adopting a human they make silent but deadly guard animals. Land Salmon are hugely affectionate and respond to petting by making sounds reminiscent of a human baby gurgling happily. No wonder some people will go to great lengths to get a Land Salmon to adopt them.
In most coastal areas the Land Salmon is treated respectfully and in some areas there is specific legislation that protects them from export to foreign lands where they are used as an aphrodisiac after being starved to death, dried and then ground up with Salal berries. Most municipalities require they be on a leash when being walked as they are excessively protective of their human adoptive. Their perfume is also quite pleasant to humans being a smell like Salmon Berries, lightly aromatic and sweet. If you ever get the chance to visit the former area known as “The Oregon Country” do try to meet someone who has been adopted. This is probably the only way to catch a glimpse of this very unusual creature as they are otherwise quite reclusive.