Two photographs have been recently released from unknown sources in Borneo, depicting the weirdest of occurrences – a 100 foot-long snake-like creature cruising in the waters of the Baleh river.

Natives are understandably scared of that, as they believe that the alleged monster is the mythical Nabau creature, a dragon-like serpent that has the ability to change its shape whenever it pleases. Western observers are, however, reluctant to accept the pictures as genuine, saying that there are serious clues in them that give away the fact that they are most likely fake.

Allegedly, one of the photos, taken from a helicopter, is said to be the work of a member of the flood surveillance team. But his or her name has not come out, and the date on which the image was taken also remains a secret. This further helps to amplify critics as to the accuracy of these snapshots. Another reproach is that there only appear to be two photographs of the beast, even though those in the helicopter could have taken numerous ones from the safety of the air. In the first picture, the alleged animal is seen swimming idly in the middle of the river, but its position is just perfect for the photo. Plus, it should, according to estimates, be 100 foot (33 meter)-long, but the relative size of the trees near it seems to contradict that.

You can form an opinion for yourself while looking at the image and searching for discrepancies between how water is displaced by the monster, as well as its relative size.

In the second picture, it clearly appears in all its splendor, photographed from the side. Again, notice the fact that the ratio between its size and that of the trees seems to change drastically between the two snapshots. In the first one, it looked like it was thicker than a few trees bound together. In the second, it only appears to be an over-sized snake. Also, its length seems to be smaller. Again, its position is just wonderful for the shot, which allegedly has been taken in a “remote” village.

No one can dispute the fact that the locals really buy into this story. But scientists have a tougher time in doing so, as they always require a little something called proof. And the question arises “Why are there only two pictures of the creature, when most certainly those wielding the cameras would have been most excited to capture even more?”

An aerial photograph that appears to show a gigantic snake swimming along the remote waterway has emerged, sparking great concern among local communities. But it is not clear whether the photograph is genuine, or a clever piece of photo-editing. Some suggested the ‘snake’ was in fact a log or a speed boat and others complained the colour of the river in the photo was too dark.

The most common theory is that the photo has been manipulated on a computer. The image has even stumped the New Straits Times newspaper in Kuala Lumpur, which suggested readers decide for themselves. However, on the banks of the river, villagers are convinced of the massive serpent’s existence and have even given it a name, Nabau, after an ancient sea serpent which can transform itself into the shapes of different animals.

Earlier this month scientists unearthed the fossil of a snake that was longer than a bus, as heavy as a small car and which could swallow an animal the size of a cow. The 45ft long monster – named Titanoboa – was so big that it lived on a diet of crocodiles and giant turtles, squeezing them to death and devouring them whole.

Adult Anaconda vertebra compared with an Titanoboa vertebra

Titanoboa, is a genus of snake that lived approximately 60 to 58 million years ago, in the Paleocene epoch, a 10-million-year period immediately following the dinosaur extinction event. The only known species is the Titanoboa cerrejonensis, the largest snake ever discovered, supplanting the previous record holder, Gigantophis.
By comparing the sizes and shapes of its fossilized vertebrae to those of extant snakes, researchers estimated that the T. cerrejonensis reached a maximum length of 12 to 15 m (40 to 50 ft), weighed about 1,135 kg (2,500 lb), and measured about 1 m (3 ft) in diameter at the thickest part of the body.

The largest eight of the 28 T. cerrejonensis snakes found were between 12 and 15 m (40 and 50 ft) in length. In comparison, the largest extant snakes are the Python reticulatus, which measures about 8.7 metres (29 ft) long, and the anaconda, which measures about 7 metres (23 ft) long and is considered the heaviest snake on Earth. At the other end of the scale, the smallest extant snake is Leptotyphlops carlae with a length of about 10 centimetres (4 in).

In 2009, the fossils of 28 individual T. cerrejonensis were announced to have been found from the Cerrejón Formation in the coal mines of Cerrejón in La Guajira, Colombia. Prior to this discovery, few fossils of Paleocene-epoch vertebrates had been found in ancient tropical environments of South America. The snake was discovered on an expedition by a team of international scientists led by Jonathan Bloch, a University of Florida vertebrate paleontologist, and Carlos Jaramillo, a paleobotanist from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

Because snakes are ectothermic, the discovery implies that the tropics, the creature’s habitat, must have been warmer than previously thought, averaging approximately 90 °F (30 °C). The warmer climate of the Earth during the time of T. cerrejonensis allowed cold-blooded snakes to attain much larger sizes than modern snakes. For example, of ectothermic animals today, larger ones are found in the tropics where it is hottest, and smaller ones are found farther from the equator.