Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

The Montauk Monster


Someone sent the image above to Gawker, warning that there is "a government animal testing facility very close by in Long Island”. But being a good blog, Gawker sure as hell knew that it probably wasn’t what it looked like. The “Montauk Monster” must have been yet another viral marketing ploy.

A good suspect emerged: “Cryptids are Real”, from Cartoon Network, which by the way is a very interesting site with good fictional depictions of unusual encounters with giant flying jellyfishes and the like. The Montauk Monster looks like a griffin, with its puzzling beak, even though the wings and claws do not fit:


Even seasoned cryptozoologists such as Loren Coleman were puzzled, asking, like all of us, “what is this animal?.

skullmontaul341hjkTruth quickly emerged in the very comments of Gawker, oh Internet be praised.

The monster is simply “a decomposing and bloated dog, possibly a bulldog, boxer or other breed with similar facial structure (compact muzzle)”. Without fur, everything fits, from tail to… near the nose.

Which looks like a beak, but is in fact the frontal part of the dog’s skull, minus the muzzle.

Instead of yet another viral marketing hoax, this is simply yet another poor dead dog mistaken for a monster. Other examples include the Maine-Chupacabras, the Chupacabras of Florianopolis or the Elmendorf Beast.

Nothing as shocking as our exclusive photographic proof, of course. But it’s nice for a change the Montauk Monster wasn’t called a Chupacabras. [via Anomalist]

UPDATE: Loren Coleman posts a note from a local newspaper. It seems someone sent the photo to the paper first, which on July 23 had already quoted officials who said the thing must have been a raccoon. Not a dog.

A closer look does suggest a raccoon is also similar to what we are seeing. A raccoon skull, or specifically, jaw, fits nicely what we see. Then we have the paws. A raccoon has longer fingers, like those in the “Montauk Monster”.

Finally, we have the experts, including Town Natural Resources Director Larry Penny and Bandit Trappings and Pest Control Doug Johnston, quoted by the paper, who both considered it “a raccoon with its upper jaw missing”.

A search for “skinned raccoons” on Google is very unpleasant, and it seems raccoons are not that fat. But again, this could be a bloated, decomposing raccoon. The area around its bowels seems very stuffed, which may help give the impression of a dog.

Either way, not a “Monster”.

UPDATE: Hello to all the folks coming from Coast2Coast! In another twist of opinion, by looking at this new photo published just now on Newsday, by Christina Pampalone, it definitely looks like… not a raccoon:


Reports also finally give it a size: from 2 and a half to three feet. Joye Brown suggests an otter, though I think the head of the "Monster" is too big. I’m back to the original guess of a dog, probably an unfortunate pug.

Hopefully this new photo will help experts identify the animal, as they also flipped their statements saying they couldn’t identify it from the original photo alone. And he will rest in peace, wherever he is now.

If you have more photos or reports on this poor animal, feel free to send them here.

UPDATE: Loren Coleman has two more photos. Dog, dog, dog. Poor Dog.

UPDATE: I moved the comments as to whether it was a pug or a raccoon to a new post.

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Posted in Criptozoology, Fortean |

41 Comments so far

  1. Craig York July 31st, 2008 7:05 pm

    Ordinarily I’d agree with you*-but there are a couple of
    aspects of the photo that have me puzzled. First is the
    ‘missing muzzle’ explanation. Granted, a dog ( or a Racoon )
    would look something like this if the soft tissue above the
    jaw were stripped away-but why is there no other apparent
    missing tissue? If the snout had gone due to scavenging
    fish, birds, or crabs, I’d expect the eye sockets to be
    hollowed-instead, they appear closed, but intact. Second
    is the nature of the skin. There are breeds of dogs that do
    have very short coats, but this animal appears to be
    completely, and uniformly, hairless.

    * Beacuse you’re usually right.

  2. Zigrich Elster August 1st, 2008 5:07 am

    i still say it’s a griffin

  3. lisa August 1st, 2008 9:33 am

    I actually thought it looked like a turtle with no shell that had been out to bake too long.

  4. tony August 1st, 2008 12:36 pm

    i think its a monster dog raccoon that mated with a griffin.

  5. Andrea- paranormal investigator August 1st, 2008 1:35 pm

    The lower jaw shows a ’serated edge’ or teeth, and I’d believe the theories if it wasnt for the top, which appears so different from it, with a flat edge, and even a nostril on it? Maybe its sand….heh, doubt it, also the tuft of white fur on top of the head, with the other sandy fur on bottom….kinda mane like; why would it remain there,and nowhere else on the body, and why has it not been eaten, even the eyes? The tissue is not open anywhere ….bizarre indeed, but I would caution against ‘naming’ it too quickly. Once we name something its hard for our brains to rename it something else or see it any differently. Keep your eyes and brain open when seeing something!! [email protected]

  6. montaukloc August 1st, 2008 2:10 pm

    i am from montauk and i have seen the thing it is not fake my friends dad has the skull of the animal at his house i want to take a pic and post it up here for you guys to see also do you guys know that that is a leather strap on his arm. We think it is from plum island witch is only 12 to 15 miles away from were it landed. I Know the person who took the photo her brother is one of my best friends. Their is no way it is photoshopped

  7. Gary August 1st, 2008 2:28 pm

    photoshopped dog carcass. The paws are faked, flippin’ the bird?
    These type of photos turn up all the time and are not worth the time it took to write this.

  8. Jack O'Heart August 1st, 2008 2:29 pm

    The Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island has been experimenting with bio engineered animals for sometime now. Some escaped a few years back and it was reported in the local papers. A relative of mine actually is an eye witness to something similar to this walking along side the road near the lab. He claimed it was similar to a dog with a bird like head. People need to remember that the US Gov’t has permitted the patenting of new bio-engineered life forms. I’m just surprised we haven’t seen the pet of the future yet.( think Star Trek Tribble) I have however seen glow in the dark fish that were genetically altered for sale at the pet store. The question I have now is why cover it up with disinformation. Why not just explain it for what it is. A genetic experiment that got out of the lab. I guess that would urge us to ask what other creatures are roaming the woods of Long Island and what is there demeanor.

  9. whadda August 1st, 2008 3:49 pm

    how ’bout some type of penguin?

    tons of dead ones showing up on beaches in Rio, because of the screwed up currents this year.

    you should see what a human looks like after floating for months

  10. mary mclaughlin August 1st, 2008 5:37 pm

    Look again, these two photos are not of the same “animal”. Size, look of the what,s left of the eyes and color of body are not the same. Size of the “forearm” is different. Someone is having fun with us……….

  11. WTF MANG August 1st, 2008 7:06 pm

    What about the Monkey-Faced Piglet from china?
    Someone got some splainin to do!


  12. KarenM August 1st, 2008 8:22 pm

    When I saw the 1st pic, it looked like a monster with a beak. But after seeing the interview with Jeff Corwin, and seending the 2nd pic. I have to agree with Corwin. It looks like a dead/rotting dog carcass, and it’s not a beak, but K9 teeth with the . Humans look monster like when they’re dead and rotting away too.

  13. Craig York August 1st, 2008 9:26 pm

    After looking at the picture more closely last night, and seeing the second image this morning, I’m satisfied that it
    is a dead dog. What appears to be a beak in the first photo
    is combination of the exposed bone of the snout, and the
    sand pushed up around the snout. While I’m still puzzled that none of the other soft tissue has been scavenged, its no
    great mystery. I hope somebody gave the poor fella a decent
    burial, at least. Most of the points I raised in my first
    post are clearly irrelevant in light of the second photo.

  14. vickie August 1st, 2008 11:47 pm

    The two pictures are clearly of different animals. The first one looks to me like the turtle without a shell and the second one looks like a cat to me.

  15. konran420 August 2nd, 2008 2:12 am

    I agree they’re definitely two different corpses the second is definitely a dog while the first is more puzzling. my initial thought was a baked shell-less turtle too cuz of the face; but technically a turtle can’t really have it’s shell removed plus the tail is too long, the arms and legs look like a marsupial, and there is a tuft of fur still on the neck. the explanation of a racoon satisfied me for a while but the head still bothers me I know how much decomposition can change the way an animal looks, but did anyone else notice the single tooth on the tip of the creatures lower jaw? Perhaps the sand is obscuring the view and giving a false image but that and the different stages of decomp on different parts of the body still have me stumped. In my honest opinion I probably would tend to believe the theory about genetic testing mainly due to what seems to be a band around the creatures forearms. That or photoshop; it’s too elaborate for taxidermy…

  16. Stephanie August 2nd, 2008 6:25 am

    The creature looks like someone tried to cross a wild boar (pig?) with a dog.

  17. Damian August 3rd, 2008 1:07 am

    Ok, to answer some of your concerns regarding the soft tissue on the nose being “scavenged” but no other soft tissue damage apparent, while the currents had a hold of the body and dragging it along the head and extremeties slough off the soft tissues due to the abrasiveness of sand which would explain why the “fingers” seem to be very long and bony and the muzzle to appear to be a beak. It seems that the body started its decomp in the water (probably some stray dog got caught in the undertow after a storm) was dragged along the bottom and deposited on the beach where found and continued to decompose until photographed. Simple and explainable, no mystery here and definately not a monster or genetic experiment loosed upon mankind.

  18. TJ Wayne August 3rd, 2008 3:15 am

    This thing really taken off but a few aspects trouble me. First, if I came across a dead animal with these features,I would still have that thing on ice, not just pictures. Hoax perhaps?? But why do that??? Turtle without a shell, no way. A turtles spine is fused to the shell across the entire back. Seperation takes alot of knife work and leaves no layer of skin, only visable organs. Not the case here. Also the teeth, head structure/formations, and extremities are NOT from a reptile. This creature is a mammal. A dog at a weird camera angle? Quite possible, but this animal seems hairless and no dog has that sharp snout. Nothing of scale in this picture makes size difficult to gage. I honestly think it is a large rat, or other rodent bloated by decomposition. I’m amazed how many people think this thing is some type of “monster”, resulting from government experiments or a living Gryphon. Can’t say I can go that far.
    ***** I do agree the pictures, although they look similar, may NOT be the same animal. Score one for the monster hunters.*****

  19. mel August 3rd, 2008 6:27 pm

    God knows what it is.It could be a dog, or shell-less turtle but maybe it’s really a sea creature nobody knew about.There are so many animal species that have been yet to be discovered.Maybe this “Montauk Monster” was a sea creature that unfortanantly washed up on the beach and died.People think it’s a monster because they never saw it before, just like the giant squid was once consider a monster.People should not jump to conclusions yet.

  20. megan August 3rd, 2008 11:23 pm

    The two pictures are clearly different animals.. The first pic looks like a turtle without the shell and it looks all bruised. The second picture looks like a pig and its blue??? Im curious to know why someone would think this is a funny joke.. I think it’s ridiculous that all of these other people are coming forward with stories that they have seen it alive or it’s buried in there backyard… I have one thing to say GET A LIFE!!!!! There are more important things going on in the world that need media attention not some stupid hoax.

  21. Matthew August 4th, 2008 3:44 am

    The most comprehensive archive about the Montauk Monster is accessible at http://www.Montauk-Monster.com Please comment with your thoughts.

  22. Brian Hardin II August 4th, 2008 2:33 pm

    I’m almost convinced this is a hoax.
    Look at the evidence:

    Very few pictures. If this were real, wouldn’t there be hundreds of pictures taken? I mean, seriously, even with my crappy cell phone camera I take 5 of 6 pictures of the same thing; and if I ever ran across a dead animal that seemingly no-one else had ever seen… Yeah, I’d be snapping them left and right until the memory card was full.

    Quality of the photos. These two major photos, one showing this “monsters” on it’s left side and on it’s right, are all pretty high quality. What are the chances someone is going to have a high quality camera that can take that kind of an exposure on a beach? However, with that said, I’m not made of money and would never take an $800.00 camera to the beach and expose it to sand and salt air..

    The “thing” in the photo is dead. Where are the flies? Seriously, if this thing was decomposing and rotting with a horrible smell in the sun as the eye-witnesses have said, where are the flies or other carrion feasting bugs? I see a couple of flies, but surely there would be swarms of them right?

    Maybe I could snap some photos of a dead human and pass it off as a real legitimate zombie?

    Just my 2 cents,

    -Brian Hardin II

  23. SF4Deth August 4th, 2008 5:55 pm

    Cant you guys see the government or someone is trying to cover it up. Unless you are completely blind then you noticed the picture released the first day is completely different then the pic released on the second day. Yet these 2 pics were said to be taken on the same day around the same time? No way. Also, when this thing is brought up thru any tv outlet now they are only showing the picture released on the 2nd day. That should tell you its real right there. People dont try to cover up something unless its something they dont want anyone to know the truth about. Here’s some evidence to support my claims. let me know what you think.In both of these the 1st and original picture is the one on top and the 2nd “Cover up” photo is the one on the bottom.



  24. Emily August 5th, 2008 1:20 am

    Yes of course this will always be a guessing game. Although I do not think that this is a dog. Dogs do not have webbed feet. Look closely to the first photograph and you will see. The second is not the same as the first. Two totally different pictures. Oh well we may never know what this creature is.

  25. Niki August 5th, 2008 3:22 am

    Wow… I just moved across country to the west coast a few months back and I would have given ANYTHING to have this pop up on the Seattle news! Diving into my love of forensics, the reason why the phtos look different is because of levidity when the corpse finally quit moving. Also, the flesh from the snout or muzzle could have simply been beated away by harsh currents or rocks. Same could…and I really do mean could, be said for the fur. We all know that sand is a powerful abrasive, and given that the combination of tide strength and sand could have done any degree of damage to the corpse. Regardless, it still looks like a french bulldog or pug. Poor thing…

  26. ciccio August 5th, 2008 8:18 am

    this is a dead dog

  27. Bri August 5th, 2008 12:27 pm

    C’mon, guys. It is a DOG. I knew it from the FIRST pic. IT can also be the same dog. Probably someone kicked the body over onto its right side a little more to expose its left more before taking the other pictures. It seems the right side of the body is a little more decomposed and burned by the sun, giving it more of the reddish color and that more of the fur came off. Also, if you look closely at the new pics, you can tell the skin on the right side is a little more eaten away on the skull, so that would explain why the “beak” (exposed bone) seems to go up higher into the face. Also, and I found this so amusing, the legs on the first pics are NOT flippers or webbed. LOL. It shows both legs together and you can clearly see some claws. Again, when the body got moved the legs also changed position. ON the newer pics, you can actually see some of the reddish color going up towards the right side, but most of it is obscured. Probably the left side was against the sand before the last pics were taken, blocking it from the sun. The things people WANT to believe. Any thoughts?

  28. S'ra August 5th, 2008 2:29 pm

    Not a pug… just look at the lenght of the tail

  29. Lala August 5th, 2008 4:59 pm

    Um, this just looks like a dead dog that is bloated, and been in the water for some quite time, maybe even drowned.
    The face looks like it’s been eaten by fish.

    There you have it, dead drowned dog. Wow, so hard to figure out.

    this is what a dead bloated dog looks like

  30. Mark G Hansel August 5th, 2008 11:34 pm

    If it’s fake, no one really cares about it anyhow, but the governments have been experimenting with cross breeding different animals to create new species’ (biological, to brainwashing, ect) The public is never going to know, and those speculating will keep on doing just that.

  31. Blackie Eye August 6th, 2008 2:46 pm

    Just a bloody hype by people who never seen a decomposed animal before.

  32. appleboy August 6th, 2008 9:18 pm

    I still think it’s a jellyfish-dragon-monkey combo of some sort. I believe it fell out of a UFO before landing, thus causing the UFO to abort.

  33. Robert August 8th, 2008 3:17 pm

    The second one is not the same as the first. Why are the front paws buried in the sand on the new pics? If it was moved several times to get different angles how did the paws get buried every time? The second ones look staged to cast doubt on the first. I think its a griffin. While most griffins are depicted with wings there have been wingless griffins depicted on the walls of ancient palaces such as have been found on the island of Crete at the Palace of Minos at Knossos.


  34. matt August 24th, 2008 2:02 am

    Just remember, the mountain gorilla, giant squid, african tribes, kangaroo rat, and megamouth shark were once to be beleived as fairy tale creatures.

  35. The Frankster August 25th, 2008 6:10 pm

    Another photo of “Proof” of whether it is a raccon or not.

  36. name August 30th, 2008 12:48 am

    um, i really don’t think these two creatures are the same thing. sure, some aspects are similar, but the colors are completely different, the feet aren’t the same, there’s a “ditch” in the sand near the second creature’s head, and the first one’s on its stomach, the second one is lying on its side.

  37. Penny December 20th, 2008 2:44 pm

    I think the second monster was a hyena, bull, or wolf?.!

  38. kyle December 21st, 2008 2:56 pm

    its either a hoax or a i dunno griffin? hoax because first off its pointing its middle finger at you. second cause if you look close enough the jaw isnt attached like it should be to the jaw i other words it looks like some parts were taped on. griffin cause near its neck area looks like a wing. overall thought its a hoax

  39. ????? March 19th, 2009 2:31 am

    face and body of a pig or hog
    the hair would hint a hog
    legs similar to humans
    the color of bluish purple could mean that this creature was drowned
    but the first picture reminds me of mythology

  40. Emily April 22nd, 2009 4:19 pm

    Thats so werid!!

  41. Betty May 14th, 2009 4:59 pm

    Could it be a bush dog.

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