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Leviathan Orange
SEA MONSTER of the Middle East; see Semim 
ythical Beasts.

Etymology: Hebrew (Semitic), livyatan, from 
livyah (“twisted”) + tan (“monster”).

Variant names: Rahab, Tannin, Yam.

Physical description: Enormous size. Tightly 
joined scales. Glowing red eyes. Fiery breath. 
Large teeth. Strong neck. Has limbs or fins.

Behavior: Raises itself up on the water.

Possible explanations: 
(1) A whale of some kind, especially the 
Sperm whale (Physeter catodon), which is 
found in the Mediterranean Sea and the 
Indian Ocean. Its fiery breath could be the 
whale spouting, while raising itself up on 
the water could be the animal’s habit of 
breaching. 
(2) The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus), 
suggested by Samuel Bochart, although this 
is a freshwater animal and does not live in 
the sea. The Egyptians occasionally hunted 
this crocodile with baited hooks. 
(3) The Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus 
porosus), but this reptile only lives in 
Southeast Asia and Australasia. 
(4) A Multifinned Sea Monster, 
advocated by Bernard Heuvelmans. 
(5) Karl Shuker suggested a surviving 
mosasaur, a group of twenty genera that 
includes some of the largest marine reptiles 
ever, frequently exceeding 33 feet in length. 
They lived in the Late Cretaceous, 95–65 
million years ago. 
(6) A mythical composite of several large 
animals.

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