Another ‘mystery’ animal

As if that damned yeti wasn’t bad enough, now this has turned up.  It’s an otter, or at least a mustelid of some kind. It’s really obviously an otter. It’s otter shaped, otter sized (actually a bit small), lives in a freshwater lake in Ontario and looks exactly like an otter or other mustelid just with a bit of fur missing from the head.

Come on people. How hard is to open a wildlife book?

It was my Canadian office mate Corwin Sullivan who put this in my direction and he comment is near perfect “My respect for the traditional zoological knowledge of Canada’s native peoples has declined somewhat in the past few hours”. Quite.

Sadly though, as ever the media, in addition to publishing this are then happy to extend the nonsense. And here I quote “However, party poopers are guessing a bear cub, river otter or some run-of-the-mill creature, rendered uncute by decomposition.”

A) It’s not a guess. It’s a simple bit of knowledge coupled with cross-checking a few basic facts.

B) ‘Party poopers’. Yes how dare people point out reality when absurd fiction is more interesting.

C) Anyone with eyes who has ever seen a dead animal should be able to tell that it has obviously lost the fur from its head, it’s not controversial.

It’ll be a badger next.

9 Responses to “Another ‘mystery’ animal”


  1. 1 Zach Miller 25/05/2010 at 10:42 am

    Dave, it is so CLEALRLY a snaggletoothed albino otter-man from the future hellbent on killing us all.

  2. 3 mattvr 25/05/2010 at 11:32 am

    Manginess seems to be a significant contributing factor to identifying something as a monster.
    Take the hair off and people freak out!

    Symptomatic of how shallowly people consider nature. People don’t think beyond the superficial exterior of the animal and forget that fluffy bunnies look ugly when you remove the fluffiness!

    • 4 David Hone 25/05/2010 at 11:57 am

      Which is odd both because of the exposure of other animals like this (that mangy bear, the yeti etc.) and the rise of blad pets like sphinx and skinnypigs.

      People should be used to animals looking weird when bald *and* used to bald things turning out to be normal things looking odd. Well, no one ever said logic was important when assumed knowledge takes over.

  3. 5 mattvr 25/05/2010 at 12:46 pm

    I guess we’re also factoring out the desire in people for mystery and the unexplained.
    Some people(and newspapers)want an explanation beyond the mundane so badly that they’ll pass over the obvious answers(so they can cash in).
    Similar thing happened this week with the Voyager spacecraft.(oooer! Alien contact! Nope, something so minor busted that they fixed it in software)

    I’ll go back to painting Tarbosaurs now…..

    • 6 David Hone 25/05/2010 at 1:43 pm

      I think it’s more a desire for content (or at least attractive content) than for the mystery. You can’t write a story that will draw in readers about how voyager broke or a raccoon died. You can when you invoke aliens or monsters.


  1. 1 Bear « Dave Hone's Archosaur Musings Trackback on 22/09/2010 at 1:41 pm

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