'Lough Ness Monster' devours ducks at popular lake
A mysterious predator which devours adult ducks by pulling them beneath the water at a popular beauty spot in Britain has been nicknamed the "Lough Ness Monster" by locals.
The creature is believed to have killed at least three fully-grown birds at the lake, leaving only a smattering of feathers as evidence of the crimes.
Witnesses have so far been unable to identify the perpetrator, although pike, catfish and even mink have been suggested as possible culprits.
Local councillors are now warning schoolchildren not to go paddling at the site, and dog owners have been being asked not to let smaller animals swim in the waters.
One dog walker described her horror at seeing a mallard disappear into the water at Stonebow Washlands in Loughborough, Leicestershire, never to be seen again.
She said: “I saw two mallards and the female was flapping her wings. I thought she may be cleaning herself, but she was quite frantic and was going up and down. Next thing I knew she was gone.
“I went over to have a closer look. The male was still there and I was about 30 feet away watching him intently. I stood there for two or three minutes and then in a flash all that was left on the water was a few feathers.”
The number of ducks on the lake have dwindled since the killer creature started terrorising the area.
Now users of the lagoons are being warned not to go into the water and local schoolchildren have been told not to go pond-dipping at the site. Dog owners are also being asked not to let smaller animals swim in the waters.
Rachel Lee, 39, of nearby Woodhouse, said: “Whatever is in there must be pretty big if it is having ducks for lunch though – it’s got to be one hell of a beast.
“Its like something out of Lake Placid, or Jaws or something like that. Its exciting but joking aside, it's a little bit concerning too. If its big enough to take out ducks, then a child could get hurt too.”
Roy Campsall, chairman of the Charnwood Wildlife Protection Group and a local borough councillor, said: “The number of ducks at Stonebow Washlands has been going down, and now we know why.
“It’s pretty scary actually. Whatever it is, it’s got to be a monster to take a fully grown duck."
Mark Graham, wildlife development officer at Charnwood Borough Council, said there were no plans to hunt down the mystery predator. He suggested that someone may recently have dumped a large pike in the lake, which is popular with anglers.
He said: “Pike are a natural part of the ecology of our lakes. a native fish that have lived alongside wildfowl for thousands of years."