The Mongolian Death Worm is a cryptid reported to exist in the Gobi Desert. It is generally considered a cryptozoological creature, one whose sightings and reports are disputed or unconfirmed.
The local name is allghoi khorkhoi (or orghoi) which means "blood-filled intestine worm," because it is reported to look like the intestine of a cow.
It is described as a fat, bright red worm, two to five feet long (about 0.6 to 1.5 meters), which is vividly likened to a living cow's intestine.
The death worm is so feared among the people of Mongolia that many consider the mere mention of its name bad luck. It is attributed with the dramatic ability to kill people and animals instantly at a range of several *feet. It is even believed that the worm sprays an immensely lethal poison; a sort of acidic liquid that immediately makes anything it touches turn yellow and corroded. The nomads also said that the color yellow attracts the Allghoi khorkhoi. The analogy with the basilick (cockatrix) is strong as this creature has also the power to kill instantaneously anyone who tries to observe it. The colour yellow attracts the worm.
Theories and analysis
Theories about origin and existence
As many invertebrates, worms cannot survive in a brutally hot and dry climate like the Gobi desert. Mackerle has proposed the skink, a strange variety of lizard whose nondescript head is hard to distinguish from its tail. Skinks also live buried under desert sands but the smooth-bodied death worm has no legs. He has also suggested that it could be a type of lizard called the worm lizard, although that species is not poisonous. Among lizards, only the Mexican beaded lizard and the Gila monster possess poisonous venom, but they do not squirt it, and their venom definitely is not instantly lethal on contact. The only existing snake that sprays its venom and could survive in the Gobi environment is the death adder, a member of the cobra family but he is found only in Australia and New Guinea and is much smaller. More likely, the death worm is a mythological monster based on an exaggeration of some desert-dwelling snake or reptile, which is not truly as deadly as its reputation would suggest According to a press release from his group, Freeman has his own theory on the death worm: “I don’t think that it’s a worm at all. True worms need moisture. I think it is a limbless, burrowing reptile, probably a giant member of a group of reptiles known as amphisbaenas or worm lizards. These are a primitive group of poorly studied animals. They are not snakes or lizards but are related to both. I think the Death Worm is a giant member of this group.”
The most recent expedition was one in 2006-2007, conducted by the reality-television series, "Destination Truth" produced by the Mandt Brothers.
Shuker, Karl P.N. The Beasts that Hide from Man: Seeking the World's Last Undiscovered Animals. New York: Paraview Press. Copyright (c)2003 by Karl P.N. Shuker, Ph.D.