Archive for the ‘rare animal’ category

Enormous Sea Turtle Washes Up In UK…

August 27, 2018

Continuing our series on disgusting dead things washing up on beaches, we present you with this image of a large leatherback turtle that washed up off the shore of Cornwall, England.  I’ve spared viewers a more graphic view taken frontally in light of the, err, decomposition. The sea turtle was said to be the size of a small boat, and was estimated to be perhaps 100 years old in light of its size.  

One might well ask, “What happens to large sea creatures when they die?”  Well, many of them sink to the depths where they provide a banquet for a variety of sea life both large and small; nature wastes nothing. Gases of decomposition can provide buoyancy to other deceased sea creatures, however, depositing some on our beaches.  

Now the tabloids might spin the story differently, something along the lines of “Zombie Sea Turtle Attacks Britain!”  I don’t think that it was Gamera.  I doubt that the rather classy gent in the picture poked the poor deceased turtle with a stick, although he is wearing striking if sensible blue rubber gloves, all the while demonstrating that older guys can still look good in shorts.  And the elemental landscape and brooding sky makes for a memorable picture…ahh, to be in England!

Oarfish, the “Sea Serpent”

October 22, 2013

oarfish– – Want a real life sea serpent?  Try the giant oarfish, a rarely-seen deep sea dweller of freakish size and appearance, and the world’s largest bony fish.  The oarfish is known to reach a length of up to 27 feet with unverified reports of specimens reaching 50 or more feet.  Although they rarely wash up due to usually staying in deep, open ocean habitats, two oarfish have recently been found along the San Diego coast in California, the most recent measuring nearly 14 feet and an earlier one discovered the same week measuring 18 feet.  The specimens were felt to have died of natural causes, and their weight was estimated at about 200 pounds.

As oarfish can dive more than 3,000 feet deep, sightings of them are rare and they are largely unstudied.  Tissue samples and video footage were sent to be studied by biologists at the University of California in Santa Barbera.    The serpentine creatures are largely thought to be responsible for sea serpent legends and sightings throughout the world…

Janus Cats…

October 7, 2011

 – -They are not Photoshopped or the product of trick photography; meet Frank (left) and Louie (right), the world’s longest surviving Janus cat.  Named for the figure in Roman mythology with two faces on one head,  Janus cats seldom survive due to congenital defects that include cleft palate, often causing the afflicted animal to starve or choke to death.  Frank and Louie, however, beat the odds handsomely, using only one mouth to feed and making it to the ripe old feline age of 12 years. 

Originally taken by his breeder to be euthanized at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Frank and Louie were instead adopted by a worker there, and have fared well since.  Residing in Worcester, Mass. the exotic blue-eyed rag doll cat boasts two faces, two mouths, two noses, and three eyes, and is a friendly soul who walks on a leash and loves car rides…

The Sampson’s Fox

December 10, 2010

– – Some people don’t believe in the existence of the Sampson’s Fox, which may be a gray or red fox with a coat mutation.  He is reported to have a short coat, big ears, and a long skinny tail almost as long as his body.  Sampson’s is a rare genetic disease or mutation affecting less than 1% of the fox population and inhibiting the growth of guard hairs, the beautiful fluffy coat that gives foxes such panache!

Sampson’s foxes have been reported in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado, Alaska, and the Carolinas.  It’s also possible that reported sightings may be of animals with mange, or even of someone’s escaped exotic African or Asian pet; such creatures at times have likely been reported as “chupacabras.”

And please, don’t make fun of mutant foxes, or refer to us as “bastard” foxes.- -That’s going entirely too far, and we have feelings, too…jeez!

Another Naked Ape…

November 8, 2010

– – Don’t look, Ethel! Humans have been referred to as “the naked ape” by Desmond Morris among others, and here we present something unusual; a naked chimpanzee.

Guru, the naked 20-year-old chimp at India’s Mysore Zoo, lost all of his hair to alopecia, a condition that also affects humans.  Although he’s undergone treatment, nothing so far has helped him grow hair.  Chimpanzees are very accepting of hairless chimps, however, and actually seem more accepting of physical differences than many humans are.

Another lesson that the animal kingdom may teach homo sapiens!

The Kalanoro on “Destination Truth”

October 22, 2010

– – Madagascar is a kind of lost world that is home to a variety of unusual wildlife.  One primate-like cryptid reputed to live there is the Kalanoro, a small humanoid creature that is supposed to be yet strong enough to kill and maim;  it has been described as a “little man” less than a meter tall with hair all over its body and long potentially dangerous fingernails.   The subject of one investigation on a recent Destination Truth episode, Josh Gates and his team go into the dense jungle in Madagascar in search of the Kalanoro.   Seemingly credible witnesses there believe in the creature, including a park guide who says he was grabbed by one and Dr. Goodman of the Chicago Museum of Natural History.

They get a hit on a thermal imager and something on an IR camera, but are unable to track down the anomalies.  Footprints are also found in the soggy terrain that are too wet and deteriorated to allow for a casting to be made.   A hodgepodge of sounds are also heard from many of the animals that live in the area.

During later analysis, it was felt that the thermal hit and the IR image were the size and shape of a lemur, which a local zookeeper feels is one of the animals that the Kalanoro could easily be mistaken for.   The multiple animal noises prevalent in the area are felt to give rumors of the reported creature a larger than life reputation…

–Oriental Yeti?

April 9, 2010

– – Well, isn’t this a strange and sorry looking critter?- –Discovered in a remote wooded area in Sichuan Province in China, this mysterious hairless creature dubbed an “oriental yeti” will undergo DNA testing.

“It looks like a bear but it doesn’t have any fur and it has a tail like a kangaroo,” said one of the hunters who trapped the unidentified beast after locals reported a bear sighting…but this ain’t no bear!  “It also does not sound like a bear…it has a voice like a cat and it is calling all the time–perhaps it is looking for the rest of its kind or maybe its the last one,” added the hunter, Lu Chin.

So what is this animal?–Pending the DNA testing to be performed in Beijing, one cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman, thinks that it is a kind of civet, a small carnivorous mammal akin to the mongoose.   The Asian palm or Himalayan palm civet are regarded as the most likely possibilities.  As for the creature’s lack of fur, Coleman thinks that it has mange, a skin disease caused by mites.

While it is anticipated that DNA tests will show that the finding is “in no way anything extraordinary,”  this guy looks like he could use some TLC in addition to the fur!



“America’s Wolfman” on MonsterQuest

March 25, 2010

– – The America’s Wolfman episode of MonsterQuest promised much but delivered little.   It was, at any rate, not another feral dogs or killer bees episode. Described as being a husky 7-7-1/2 feet tall with a large head, dark hair, and pointed ears, the American Wolfman seen in the midwest walks on his hind legs, has a foul odor, and uses his forepaws like hands.

Also known as the Michigan Dogman (similar but not to be confused with the Wisconsin Dogman),  the creature was supposedly revealed on the Gable Film acquired in 2006 with the backstory of having been originally made in the 1970’s and acquired at an estate sale.   The Gable Film was later revealed to be a hoax staged by a family.  A sequel, Gable 2, followed in 2008 and detailed a police investigation of the first film.

In its usual dutiful manner, MonsterQuest in this episode sent its team to the Manistee Forest area in Michigan where sightings have occurred, and camera traps were set revealing footage of deer and other animals suitable as a food source for a wolf and coyote population. Footprints were also found which were judged to be a member of the dog family, specifically a wolf.   Some experts regard the creature to be a misidentified timber wolf, or just an unusually big wolf…right!

Eyewitness accounts related included a fall of 1979 hunting encounter when a hunter discerned a large creature who moved when he did.  In another incident in 1987 in Michigan, claw and puncture marks as well as blood and slobber were found on a cabin with canine footprints in the area.  Other accounts are numerous, and date back to Native American folklore.

Does the Michigan Dogman exist?- -As the episode concluded, “Who’s to say?  It doesn’t want to be seen.” We’ve heard this all repeatedly before…

…but I still like the big guy!

The Tiger Trade…

February 13, 2010

– – As we are about to enter the Year of the Tiger, it’s important to remember that the commercial tiger trade is threatening the big cats with extinction, with only some 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild, nearly half of them in  India.

The tiger population is down from 100,000 worldwide a century ago due to growth in the human population and a demand in China, Vietnam, and Laos for tiger parts to be used in folk medicine.

Environmental activists are also worried about private ownership of tigers in the United States, where more than 5,000 tigers are believed to be in private hands as backyard pets or roadside zoo attractions.  Now tigers are often too dangerous to handle after six months of age, after which point they risk exploitation as they outgrow their usefulness.  While 26 states ban private ownership of tigers, nine states, including North and South Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin  have no regulations at all!

The highest number of captive tigers are found in Texas, which has regulations on tiger ownership but rarely enforces them.  China has nearly 6,000 tigers in captivity, and is trying to stamp out the tiger trade.  A growing private industry of  underground “tiger farms” in Asia, however, is putting new pressure on the endangered species as marketing tigers tends to stimulate and sustain demand for them…

Panda Love?

December 22, 2009

– – Australia has acquired two giant pandas on loan from China, and the couple has been publicly encouraged to, err, be fruitful and multiply! Wang Wang (“Net Net”) and Funi (“Lucky Girl”) were encouraged by leaders at the Adelaide Zoo to “Look after yourselves, keep healthy and active, eat your greens and maybe, when the time is right, think about starting a family.”

Pandas are notoriously poor breeders, with females having only three days a year in which they can conceive. Artificial insemination has accordingly become a standard practice in breeding captive pandas, of which 120 are in Chinese breeding facilities and zoos and about another 20 in zoos outside China.  Only about 1,600 pandas exist in the wild.

We can, I suppose, be grateful that The Captain and Tennille never wrote a song called “Panda Love…”