“Locals in a small Canadian town have been stumped by the appearance of a bizarre creature, which was dragged from a lake. … The creature was discovered by two nurses in the town of Kitchenuhmaykoosib in Ontario, Canada, while out on a walk with their dog.”
Telegraph: New Montauk Monster sighting? Bizarre creature washes up in small Ontario town
The news in the local website for the town, gives the quite important information that “the creature’s tail is like a rat’s tail and it is a foot long.”
It’s quite interesting just how much such unpleasant photos can be milked as a mystery, all the while the news reports end up mentioning – and trying to discard – the most likely explanation.
A dead otter.
Let’s repeat: a dead decomposing otter.
In all these cases, the creatures decomposing in water result in swelling, discoloration and the loss of fur, giving these hairy animals a somewhat different look.
In this Canadian case the look is not even that different, however.
UPDATE 05.22.2010: Was it actually a mink? Through friend Biologist Maria Guimarães, we managed to hear the thoughts of doctor James L. Patton, Curator and Professor Emeritus, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of California.
“[The] mystery critter looks more like a mink than an otter to me (longer fingers, without any evidence of webbing). It clearly was dead in the water for a prolonged period, hence the defurred face and head, and somewhat swollen appearance”, wrote Patton.
“If anyone had bothered to look at the teeth, the identification would have been easy, but…”, he remarked, emphasizing that this likely ID was made only through the photos published on the Internet, without the necessary evidence for a more definite conclusion.
So, it looks like an otter, and was probably a mink. Either way, no monster, both creatures are quite cute, that we can all agree on. [with many thanks to Maria Guimarães and James Patton!]
UPDATE 05.29.2010: Giorgio Castiglioni sends more comments:
“The most visible teeth in the upper jaw looks like a canine and also its position is too backward to be an incisor. So we can discard rodents like the muskrat that someone (e.g. cryptozoologist Loren Coleman) suggested as a possible solution (rodents don’t have canine teeth).
Looking at teeth and shape of boy and paws, it seems clear it’s a mustelid. So your first hypothesis as an otter was a good guess, but also my opinion is that it’s an American mink (Neovison vison).”
Castiglioni also remarks how:
“(Hoping I won’t annoy you) the otter whose photo you used in your blog is an European otter (Lutra lutra) that is found in Europe and Asia, not in Canada. The otter of Canada belongs to another species and genus, Lontra canadensis.”
No annoyance at all! To correct the error, here is not an otter, either European or from Canada, but an American Mink:
[Thank you, Giorgio!]
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