What the devil is this thing spotted in New Jersey? (UPDATED: Solved)

A reddit post sparks guessing as to what this freaky hairless animal is [supposedly] in a New Jersey backyard.

Jersey Devil? Hairless squirrel? Odd animal sighted in N.J. | NJ.com.

An unrecognizable animal was spotted walking on a wooden fence in New Jersey and the photo has made its way to Reddit.com where readers are speculating on exactly what the strange-looking animal could be.

The black-skinned animal with long toes, a long snout and extremely long tail is pictured on top of a fence, facing away from the camera.

And it also sparked many Chupacabra references. Every hairless freaky thing is now called a chupa by default, unfortunately. Here is the reddit post if you are interested in browsing Snooki and hockey jokes. It’s amazing how many people think the Jersey Devil is an actual animal. It is not. It is a legend. Same with the chupacabra. Not an actual individual animal but often used to denote a fox/coyote with mange. But that’s wrong. These aren’t monsters, they are normal animals that look strange because we are so used to seeing a mammal defined by its color and fur.

Hairless mystery in New Jersey

Hairless mystery in New Jersey

Ideas so far are:

If it is a wild animal, which is plausible, it has alopecia or mange.

The key in this picture would be the tail and feet/paws. Any ideas? Please support with references, not just guesses. We have enough of those.

Check out this piece on hairless beasties.

UPDATE: SOLVED thanks to Chilton Webb on the Monster Talk facebook page. It’s a squirrel.

Via Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation

Via Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation

So, the New Jersey story. Fake. This picture was posted to the Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation back in May. It is a fox squirrel, hairless, with food it its mouth.

Don’t trust Reddit.

Tip: Ron Bolton

  18 comments for “What the devil is this thing spotted in New Jersey? (UPDATED: Solved)

  1. June 13, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    Squirrel with mange. It looks like an acorn in its mouth.

  2. Massachusetts
    June 13, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    I searched for “squirrel mange” and found an image captioned “bald squirrel stumps vets in England” that looks a lot like this critter but from a different angle. Ears and feet very similar to other squirrel images to…especially the long toes of the hind laws. The snout is longer than I’d expect but we don’t have a good view. So my votes for a hairless squirrel.

  3. Massachusetts
    June 13, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    The hairless cats have very big ears which this animal doesn’t.

  4. Travis Knowles
    June 13, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Squirrel.

  5. June 13, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Sorry, I’ll clarify. The ears are typical of a eastern grey squirrel. There is a slight scale illusion due to the “fence” it’s on. It looks like a smaller landscaping divider, where the planks are wired together, not an actual fence. Also the planks appear to be no more than 2 inches wide due to the grain in the wood. The tree behind it looks like a Black Walnut, and its leaves are small and made to look smaller because those branches are further away from the camera. The squirrel is of typical squirrel size.

  6. Sam
    June 13, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    I agree, It’s either a squirrel or a rat

  7. Stephen R.
    June 13, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    I’d say squirrel. Comparing the front and back paws, the front ones look noticeably smaller, which would suggest squirrel over an opossom. Also, the ears, tail and head:body ratio match a squirrel pretty well. The only thing that throws me off is compared to the fence it looks quite big, but that might just be the angle of the shot, or the fence could be made of pretty thin boards.

  8. Geoff Offermann
    June 13, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    No perspective.

  9. June 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    also hoax as it wasn’t even in New Jersey

  10. June 13, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    They really are just rats with cute fluffy tails… except this one looks like Telly Savalas.

  11. June 13, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    The tail and the ears are great clues on this one. (But it would be an easier ID if the width of the fence posts had been shown.)

  12. June 13, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    It is a statue of some sort propped up on the fence–the tail is positioned too perfectly and the entire thing looks stiff…

  13. Ryuthrowsstuff
    June 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    I’ve also been really confused at the number of people who assume or argue that the Jersey Devil is an actual creature. I mean its got such a clear supernatural/mythic origin and the look of the thing is very obviously based in old European religious depictions of devils and demons. Thing looks like the sort of thing you see in the corners of old nautical maps. And the pine barrens are really weird but they’re very heavily trafficked and the aren’t exactly going to support a hidden breeding populations of this thing:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jersey_Devil

  14. June 13, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    !00% a squirrel. I have no doubt whosoever.

  15. June 13, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Any comments after 12noon, I GAVE YOU THE ANSWER. Why are you still commenting? :-P

  16. June 13, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Also, I sent this post to the reporter. She printed the fix but sadly didn’t give us credit. Par for the course.

  17. June 13, 2013 at 9:25 PM

    keep up the good work anyway, idoubtit!

  18. June 14, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    ha! i should link to this on my style/fashion blog. Women constantly use photographs ALONE to judge how they look in various outfits. Photos are a great tool, but when used alone they’ll mislead and result in women not wearing a lot of clothing which is wonderful in real life – but doesn’t photograph well. Floaty, flowing fabrics and curvy women (that’s curvy lines as opposed to straight lines, not as a euphemism for ‘fat’) are difficult to photograph in a flattering way but often look great in real life (or on video).

    This story is a great illustration of the truth that still photographs can and do lie! ;) poor squirrel, that’s gotta be awful cold at night and i can’t imagine the itchiness when it’s coat starts coming in again, oy. Have a great day, steph

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