This wonderful piece is the illo for this most excellent article by my friend Dr. Karl Shuker:
DRAKE AND THE DRAGON – ON THE TRACK OF NEW GUINEA’S AWE-INSPIRING ARTRELLIA
SATURDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2020 LINK to the article.
Since the end of the 19th Century, reports of gigantic, often tree-climbing reptiles have been emerging quite regularly from Papua New Guinea (PNG, but known prior to the end of World War II as Australian New Guinea). This is the country occupying the eastern half of New Guinea – a vast island mini-continent that boasts a land area of more than 300,000 square miles, and constitutes the world’s second-largest island (only Greenland is larger). Said to be up to 30 ft, possibly even 40 ft, long (thereby far exceeding the length of even the biggest Komodo dragons – see later) and, in the case of mid-sized specimens, given to dropping down from overhanging branches onto unsuspecting creatures (and sometimes humans) walking by underneath, these ‘dragons’ are termed the artrellia by the New Guinea natives – who, understandably, live in considerable fear of these great beasts, and liken them to giant arboreal crocodiles or lizards. They have been given a number of local names, including the artrellia (also spelled variously as artrelia, atrela, otrelia, otrila, etc), the piako, and, in Neo-Melanesian Pidgin (Tok Pisin), the pukpuk bilong tri – a name that loosely translates as ‘tree-climbing crocodile’. Many Westerners have also seen them.
I want to see one of these badly. As long as it then didn’t see me!