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In the mythology of the indigenous people of South America, the yacu-mama is a sea monster, fifty paces long, believed to inhabit the mouth of the Amazon River and the nearby lagoons. The Yacumama is believed to be the mother of all creatures of the water. According to the legend, the yacu-mama would suck up any living thing that passed within 100 paces of it. To protect themselves, the local Indians would blow on a conch horn before entering the water, believing that the yacu-mama would reveal itself if it was present. It is sometimes believed to be a giant snake the "Giant Anaconda" or caecilian known as Minhocão.[1]

In North America, the Cherokee Indians told a similar legend of Tlanusi, a leech the size of a house that dwelt in the Hiwassee River near present-day Murphy, North Carolina.[2]