Tetrapod Zoology

Identify the creature

i-bd2d56d40c74cad8b5cdac771038d43b-the mysterious tree-beast of old Pompey.jpg

Can you identify the mysterious cryptic beast shown in the photo? A prize to whomever gets it right*. The photo was taken in Europe, and the one person who was with me when I took the photo is not allowed to profer his opinion. I wish you the best of luck!

* Subject to availability.


  1. #1 roy in nipomo
    October 12, 2007

    Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)? Looks like ear tufts on it.

  2. #2 matthew
    October 12, 2007


  3. #3 Paul Barrett
    October 12, 2007

    A white carrier bag? One of those fluffy snakes used for excluding drafts? Alternatively an albino grey squirrel?

  4. #4 DouglasG
    October 12, 2007

    It is difficult to tell, but it looks like an gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis perhaps?) to me…

  5. #5 coturnix
    October 12, 2007

    Wow, that is fuzzy. And no sense of scale – is that about 1m long or much shorter than that?

  6. #6 Kawekaweau
    October 12, 2007

    ฟSera acaso un Chichicuilote? ๐Ÿ˜•

  7. #7 tai haku
    October 12, 2007

    European Lynx or Beech Marten (in the UK) perhaps?

    If you hadn’t of said in Europe I would’ve guessed that giant arboreal monitor aka tree crocodile thing from Indonesia though so these are pretty wild guesses.

  8. #8 djlactin
    October 12, 2007

    what’s with the censor? i gave name and email address and it still booted me.

  9. #9 student_b
    October 12, 2007

    An animal with fur on a tree? Either a squirrel or a cat that wants to eat a squirrel. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. #10 SMC
    October 12, 2007

    Let’s see: Genus Sciurus, maybe either the common European squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) or possibly more likely an import from the US (Sciurus carolinensis), which I seem to recall is out-competing native squirrels in some parts of Europe. It looks more grey than “red”, so I’d guess the latter.

    If I’m wrong, remember, I’m just a microbiologist, so I have an excuse. Freakish, perverted eukaryotes (grumblegrumble)…

  11. #11 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    October 12, 2007

    Someone’s got a thing or two to learn about backlighting compensation.

  12. #12 Mwaka Unguti
    October 12, 2007

    Based on the tree-clambering habits and distinctive form of shape, this is one of the smaller gorgonopsian species. My study results show that these have survived to today and that the smallest ones were tree-climberers.

  13. #13 Webs
    October 12, 2007

    I am assuming the mysterious beast is hanging out on the tree limb there. To me it looks like an iguana, but I have no experience in mysterious beasts. I am just a lowly IT guy…

  14. #14 Darren Naish
    October 12, 2007

    Someone’s got a thing or two to learn about backlighting compensation.

    ‘Backlighting compensation’?? Ha.. the photo was taken on a bloody mobile phone!

  15. #15 Sven DiMilo
    October 12, 2007

    That’s a rhinogradentian Snouter, but I can’t tell for sure what kind.

  16. #16 decrepitoldfool
    October 12, 2007

    Just guessing you wouldn’t have bothered to keep a fuzzy picture of a plain old red squirrel. So, Siberian flying squirrel? Body looks a bit long though. Maybe it’s the fur-bearing loch-ness sqhirril…

  17. #17 Stevo Darkly
    October 12, 2007

    Ha! It’s a TREE! Trick question.

  18. #18 Warren B
    October 12, 2007

    There’s something in the tree? Let me get my brightness controls…
    I’m going to go for Glis glis, just to be different. I’d be very surprised if I’m right, though.

  19. #19 John S. Wilkins
    October 12, 2007

    It’s a Rodent Of Unusual Size. I’m surprised you saw one. People are generally busy looking out for the fire geysers and the sand pits.

  20. #20 Nick
    October 12, 2007

    Eastern Gray Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. I’ve certainly seen enough of them (though they’re not native in my part of North America, either).

  21. #21 wrpd
    October 12, 2007

    An albino tree trout

  22. #22 Jason Adams
    October 12, 2007

    Looks like house cat to me. That, or an enormous gray slug…

  23. #23 Mike Keesey
    October 12, 2007

    An Ent.

  24. #24 coturnix
    October 12, 2007

    I give up, so I’ll have to go with the Tree Octopus. The darned thing looks so…..marine!

  25. #25 Pam Marshall
    October 13, 2007

    Looks to me like a mystified bird; an egret on acid. . .OR it’s a tricky perspective of a caterpillar on a twig or fungus on a stick (catchy name for a new frozen treat I’ve been contemplating marketing. . .Fungus on a Stick).

  26. #26 Nathan Myers
    October 13, 2007

    Aha, a clue! Just just a creature on a tree limb, but a creature on a tree limb, dripping blood!

  27. #27 Joใo
    October 13, 2007

    A red Fox

  28. #28 Joao
    October 13, 2007

    A red Fox

  29. #29 Ex-drone
    October 13, 2007

    The two “eyes” are just openings between the leaves through which the backlight is glaring. The lightly shaded object lying along the tree limb is just a lighting effect of the tree’s bark.

  30. #30 David Marjanovi?
    October 13, 2007

    An angiosperm tree. Probably a maple.

    Are we all looking at the same photo? Blurry as it is, I can’t see any animal in there, no matter how I play around with brightness and contrast.

  31. #31 Mark Lees
    October 13, 2007

    Is this a trick. There’s a tree, Acer sp probably (sycamore?). I can see something if I really try but I am not convinced it isn’t just shadows and light – if it is anything it looks like the mother of all squirels (that is assuming I am looking at the right bit and I haven’t completely misjudged the scale).
    I am inclined to go with the Gorgonopsian suggestion though! ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. #32 Marcel
    October 13, 2007

    A grey Squirrel, some of this critters that not belong to the native fauna of GB if i remember correctly? I think you can see the head on the left and the in middle of the picture. Difficult to explain if your english is not the best ๐Ÿ™

    Best wishes

  33. #33 Erik Knatterud
    October 13, 2007

    My first thought was a black kitten or a racoon pup, but it is no mystery animal, in fact it is no animal at all. What seems to be two glowing eyes, are just natural holes in the leafwork of the tree. That is my qualified guess.

  34. #34 ChrisClark
    October 13, 2007

    There needs to be another prize for the first person to see it.

  35. #35 neil
    October 13, 2007

    Sure looks like Sciurus to me…but that seems way too easy, but carolinensis has been in the news lately so I guess that would make sense.

    But that’s already been widely guessed so I’ll go out on a limb and say Spermophilus I’ve seen them in trees plenty of times. Ears and tail look a little too big though.

  36. #36 John H
    October 14, 2007

    The skeleton of Charlie Brown’s kite?

  37. #37 Traumador the Tyrannosaur
    October 14, 2007

    Just discovered the blog… It’s awesome!

    I’m going to have to guess aboral eel… a reticulated one!

  38. #38 Tegumai Bopsulai, FCD
    October 14, 2007

    Judging from the silhouetted leaves, I’m guessing the tree is an oak.

  39. #39 kazzzio
    October 30, 2007

    Its the Larch

  40. #40 Ronan Coghlan
    October 31, 2007

    It’s somebody’s stolen camp bed.

  41. #41 Tom
    May 25, 2009

    Come on that could just as easily be a scarf.
    It might not sound like i beleive in cryptozoology but I am a strong believer in it.


New comments have been disabled.