- Other names: Beaver eater, satoychin, saytochin, Yukon beaver eater
- Country reported: Canada
The saytoechin (Unknown, possibly Northern or Southern Tutchone:[note 1] "beaver eater") is a cryptid reported from the Yukon in Canada, described as a large, dangerous animal which has been likened to a giant ground sloth.
The saytoechin is said to be a very large animal, larger than the biggest grizzly bears, which feeds on beavers by flipping open their lodges.
circa late 1980'sEdit
A woman named Dawn Charlie was interviewed for the newsletter of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, and described two encounters with the saytoechin. The first occured the most recently:
- "The latest report was from Violet Johny, my husband’s sister, who was fishing with her husband and her mother at the head of Tatchun Lake 4 or 5 years ago. An animal came out of the woods, 8 or 9 feet high, bigger than a grizzly bear. It was a "saytoechin" and it was coming towards them. They panicked, fired a few shots over its head and finally managed to get the motor going and took off. There are other reports. There is also a report that a white man shot one in a small lake in that area [see below]. Beaver eaters are supposed to live in the mountainous area east of Frenchman Lake.
A description of a similar mythical animal was found in a book written by Dawn Charlie, Lutthi Män & Tachän Män Hudé Hudän: Frenchman and Tatchun Lakes: Long Ago People:
- "This story takes place on Frenchman Lake in the winter time. A family lived about halfway down Frenchman Lake. The husband of the daughter had gone down to the north end of the lake to visit his family there. The man's wife and her young twin brothers saw something coming away down on the ice. Thinking that it was their brother-in-law they ran down the trail to meet him. Their sister, the man's wife, walked behind. As the shape got closer they realized that it wasn't a man but a very big animal.
- It was too late for the two boys. The animal killed and ate them. Their sister saw what happened and hid under the snow until the animal passed by. Then she got up and ran around to their trail in the bush until she caught up to her older brother and father who were running rabbit snares. She told them what happened and they ran back to their home.
- In those days they had houses made of brush and moss piled all around poles that they set up in the ground. The door was from the top of the house. Water was poured down the of the house to make a coating of ice all around to keep the house warm inside.
- The father cut a large pole and sharpened the end. He then hid away in the bushes. The big animal came up the trail from the lake to the house where the man's son was waiting on top of the ice house. The son clubbed the animal from the top of roof over and over again. The big animal couldn't climb up to get that man because the sides of the house were slippery from the ice. All the time he was doing this, his father jumped out from the bushes and speared the big animal in the soft place behind his front legs and killed him. They cut the big animal open right there and took out the bones of the people that the big animal had eaten. They took the people's bones and made a good fire to burn them. In the old days, when people died, their bodies had to be cremated so that their spirits could be born again."
circa early 1990'sEdit
According to the Pine Barrens Institute, the incident in which a white man shot a saytoechin in small lake occured in the early 1990's in Carmacks, Yukon (which is near Frenchman Lake). An unnamed man allegedly:
- "shot at a giant sloth-like creature while it was swimming in a small lake. The man was in his boat fishing when he took sight of a large brown animal swimming towards his boat. Obviously frightened of large creature with long front claws, the main steadied his gun and fired. The creature, appearing to be hit, turned in the opposite direction and made its way back to shore on the other side of the lake where it disappeared into the trees. The man noted seeing a large, or what appeared to be longer than 3ft, tail on the creature. A characteristic which a bear does not possess."
Canadian cryptozoologist Sebastian Wang discussed the possibilities for the saytoechin's identity in the BSCSS newsletter for autumn 2006. Although Native Americans in the area selected an image of a ground sloth as the saytoechin, there is little other evidence linking the two animals. Karl Shuker pointed out that ground sloths are usually believed to have been herbivorous, and that the suggestion by Richard Fariña and Ernesto Blanco that Megatherium hunted glyptodonts, using its claws to dispatch them, was not well-received by the palaeontological community. 
To resolve the diet issue, Ben S. Roesch suggests that, if the saytoechin is a giant ground sloth, it may tear apart beaver lodges to eat the branches, bark, and other vegetation which the lodge is composed of, not to eat the beavers themselves. Roesch notes that anyone catching a glimpse of such a scene would immediately assume the animal was trying to attack the beavers.
Other suggestions included an oversized grizzly bear, Bigfoot, a surviving short-faced bear (Arctodus simus), or a surviving giant beaver (Castoroides ohioensis). Shuker expressed doubt over the possibility of a giant beaver preying on smaller beavers. "Beaver eater" is also an old term once used by some American Indians to refer to the wolverine (Gulo gulo).
Further cryptozoological readingEdit
- Shuker, Karl (2016) Still In Search of Prehistoric Survivors
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ the Northern Tutchone word for "beaver" is "tsé"
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Shuker, Karl (2016) Still In Search of Prehistoric Survivors
- ↑ The Saytoechin - a compilation of available information about an obscure cryptid. : Cryptozoology [Reddit]
- ↑ Charlie, Dawn (1993) Lutthi Män & Tachän Män Hudé Hudän: Frenchman and Tatchun Lakes: Long Ago People
- ↑ Cryptid Profile: Saytoechin (AKA: Beaver-Eater) - The Pine Barrens Institute
- ↑ LeBlond, Paul "Yukon Cryptids", British Columbia Scientific Club Newsletter 14 (April 1993)
- ↑ Roesch, Ben S. "Ground Sloth Survival in North America", Animals & Men 11 (1996)