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.

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

By roy in nipomo (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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

By Paul Barrett (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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

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.

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

An animal with fur on a tree? Either a squirrel or a cat that wants to eat a squirrel. ;)

By student_b (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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)...

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

By Tegumai Bopsul… (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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.

By Mwaka Unguti (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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...

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

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

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

By Sven DiMilo (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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...

Ha! It's a TREE! Trick question.

By Stevo Darkly (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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.

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

An albino tree trout

An Ent.

By Mike Keesey (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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

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).

By Pam Marshall (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

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

By Nathan Myers (not verified) on 12 Oct 2007 #permalink

A red Fox

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.

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.

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 13 Oct 2007 #permalink

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! :)

By Mark Lees (not verified) on 13 Oct 2007 #permalink

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 :-(

Best wishes

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.

By Erik Knatterud (not verified) on 13 Oct 2007 #permalink

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

By ChrisClark (not verified) on 13 Oct 2007 #permalink

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.

The skeleton of Charlie Brown's kite?

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

By Tegumai Bopsul… (not verified) on 14 Oct 2007 #permalink

Its the Larch

It's somebody's stolen camp bed.

By Ronan Coghlan (not verified) on 31 Oct 2007 #permalink

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.

tom