The myth of the Ahuízotl tells that this creature has the shape of a dog, short hair, pointed ears, smooth body and a big black tail, from the tip of which a hand similar to a human being is extended. Feared mainly by fishermen, the Ahuízotl, Tlaloc's faithful pet, was famous for its excessive hunger and predilection for human flesh, a creature that delighted in devouring the eyeballs of its victims, whose eyes it attracted by imitating the crying of a human baby.
The story tells that Ahuízotl attracted fishermen by making the fish and frogs jump, when the fishermen approached to try to catch them, the beast pulled them out of their boats. His victims emerged three days later, without eyes, teeth or nails, which would have been devoured by the monster.
Ancient documents of Hernan Cortez tell of an animal that imitated the crying of a baby and drowned people near a river or lake, the monster of the Gods came to the ears of the King of Spain himself, in a letter that told:
A beast no bigger than a normal dog, but with something special, in its tail, its end is not normal, it does not end in a tip, it has a claw with which it kills its preys. One day, while repairing a galley, the sailors heard the cry of a child. They thought he was drowning, but to their surprise they never saw anyone. They went closer to the shore to see where the cry was coming from and to see if they could help the crying child, when out of nowhere, a claw pulled a sailor out of the boat and dragged him to the bottom of the lake. Everyone went out to look for the body of the poor unfortunate man, but no one succeeded. The natives explained to us that it had been the Ahuízotl, a mystical and sacred animal. We all agreed that no animal could take a man in that way, that was the work of the devil.
Disappearances were constant and the men of Cortez did not dare go out alone, especially if they heard a child crying.
The Ahuízotl was described in a 16th century Spanish essay summarizing the people, flora and fauna of Mesoamerica called The Florentine Codex, a work by the Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagún, who described the water dog by these words:
It looks a lot like the teui, the little teui dog: smooth and shiny. It has small, pointed ears, like a small dog. It is black, like rubber; smooth, slippery, very elusive, with a long tail. And at the end of its tail there is a hand. Like a human hand on the tip of the tail.
And its hands look like the claws of a raccoon or the hands of a monkey. It inhabits watery caves, in submerged depths. And if someone approaches its entrance, or enters the water where it is, then it catches it. It is said that he sinks him, immerses him in the water; takes him home, pushes him into the depths while his tail holds him and grabs him.
[When the body is recovered] the drowned person no longer has eyes, nails or teeth; he has removed them all. But the body is completely intact, its skin is uninjured. Only the body is slippery, as if it had been hit with a stone to inflict bruises. When he is upset (from not catching anyone or drowning a commoner) he sounds like a crying baby. And the listener thinks he is a child, perhaps a baby, abandoned. Encouraged by this, he goes to look for it. Thus he falls into the hands of the Ahuízotl, who drowns him.
Thanks to the Aztec legends we know that the population treated these beings with a mixture of fear, respect and reverence. In addition, tradition said that dying at the hands of an Ahuízotl meant securing a place in Tlalocan, the Aztec's paradise, since it was considered a sacrifice. Because of this, only the priests were authorized to touch the bodies of those who had died from the attack of this beast.
After drying up the lake of Texcoco the disappearances stopped suddenly, some assumed that it had become extinct, others that it migrated so as not to be disturbed, cryptozoologists believe that it was an opossum, otter or beaver, but none of these animals matches the descriptions given or the aggressiveness embodied in the stories. It could have been simply a legend to scare the Spaniards, but there are those who assure that it still lives in some parts of the country.
What would you do if you heard a baby crying near a lake?