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Mystery Animal Photo Wednesday

Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 29th, 2009

Yesterday, I saw two of these creatures.

Can you identify this animal?

And can you identify what cryptid this species is most often tied to, as an explanation or source of some sightings?

Have a cup of tea, iced tea, or coffee, and think it over before making a comment.

:-) Thank You.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

68 Responses to “Mystery Animal Photo Wednesday”

  1. CryptoInformant 2.0 responds:

    I’d be rather ashamed if I didn’t know what those were, seeing as they were the mascot of a school I went to – they’re Binturongs (aka Bearcats)!

    No idea what cryptid they’re connected with, though. They live in Asia, but they’re not quite right for any primate cryptid, and I honestly have little/no experience with medium-sized mammalian Asian cryptids.

  2. MadMatt responds:

    Having lived in NH for most of my life, I’m going to guess that’s a Fisher Cat.

  3. MadMatt responds:

    Duh – I forgot the cryptid tie-in. Though I haven’t heard this specifically, I would guess that it would be suggested as a candidate for mistaken identity in black panther/big cat sightings.

  4. jadewhiskey responds:

    It’s a Common Palm Civet – I have seen them before on Animal Planet :-)

    Took me a bit to remember what it was…

    JadeWhiskey (Crystal)

  5. Kainan responds:

    Binturong. They look so cuddly, and I heard once they smell like popcorn.

  6. jadewhiskey responds:

    Sorry – forgot the rest of the question…

    Its feces are used in coffee made in Indonesia. They have very musky odors.

    You mentioned the palm civit in your Mysterious America – During 1974 – when one was caught in Arlington County, Virginia when there had been a rash of cat, dog and rabbit attacks and killing – page 181. There were reported kangaroo sightings…

    I hope I answered it correctly.

    JadeWhiskey (Crystal)

  7. Quacker1 responds:

    Well, that’s a Binturong from Asia, though I’m not sure what cryptid it’s often confused for. I’d definitely like to know, though.

  8. clancyryan responds:

    Its a Binturong, or Civet. I think I remember reading that some people thing its an ape and a possible explanation for the Johor Hominid, or as I call him, ‘Jowie’. These things are almost in popular culture because they partially digest the most expensive coffee beans in the world.

  9. ctinn responds:

    Is it a Mitla or jaguarundi?

  10. CvD responds:

    It’s an Asian Bearcat (Arctictis binturong), that’s easy.

    It looks a bit like a cat, thus they might explain black panther sightings.

  11. groominginla responds:

    This is a civet. Could be mistaken as the Beast of Gevaudan. The artist’s renderings look really similar to the civet. Though location is an issue. Possibly responsible for cat or bear sightings. I looks like a mix of the 2 and could be really hard to get a good look at in thick vegatation.

  12. ctinn responds:

    Definitely a Jaguarundi, which get blamed for a lot of black panther/puma sightings.

  13. darkshines responds:

    That’s a wolverine.

  14. Insanity responds:

    I would have to say it is a Tayra (eira barbara), although the first picture the whiskers seem more prominent then other images I’ve seen.

    If so, the cryptid it is associated with is called, I believe, the mitla creature.

  15. Thermite responds:

    Argghh, I know what it is, I found out by accident (I could claim good research but it wasn’t). I’m not saying what it is as everyone deserves a chance to work it out (or get lucky).

    It’s quite a weird animal thats for sure, but I still have no idea what the cryptid link is though.. Hmmmm


  16. indyDonna responds:

    Fossa from Madagascar?

  17. BukaHobbit responds:

    Asian Palm Civet. They are the key ingredient to Kopi Luwak.

  18. fossilhunter responds:

    Greetings All!
    Very scant info on the sighting. I’m guessing the location would help us out. I know, but I couldn’t bear to tell you cats so soon either!

  19. mystery_man responds:

    That would be a binturong (Arctictis binturong), also known as the Asian bearcat.

    I am not sure what cryptid it is said to be a source of sightings for, though.

  20. poodpood responds:

    It’s a bearcat, easy!

  21. mystery_man responds:

    Maybe it is a source for the Yeti or even the Orang Pendek? The Binturong is found in many areas of Asia, including Nepal and Indonesia as well.

  22. mystery_man responds:

    Sorry, this is fun. Maybe too small for the Yeti. My money is on the Orang Pendek or the so-called “Johor Hominid.” Am I getting warm here?

  23. Averagefoot responds:

    Off the top of my head… they’re uuuh bearcats(?) or something like that. And if my memory of Jack Hannah’s show serves me they smell like corn nuts or something like that?

    As for the crypto connection I have no idea at all.

  24. Averagefoot responds:

    …. and I just realised I ended two sentences in a row with “or something like that”.

    *stumbles back to bed*

  25. glendoor42 responds:

    I don’t know what animal that is but I bet it tastes like chicken.


  26. CalebKitson responds:


  27. CalebKitson responds:

    Oh, haha. I’m supposed to guess cryptid ties, too…perhaps black leopard/tiger?

  28. camperwoman responds:

    Binturong or bearcat of Southeast Asia.

  29. Terrell H King responds:

    It is the beautiful binturong (Arctictis biturong)…

    The only cryptid I could guess it would be mistaken for (and according to Mysterious Creatures – A Guide to…) is out of place big cats, such as the big black cats reported all over here in the UK (including an article today of a video taken of what appears to be a melanic leopard).

    By the way, I wouldn’t mind winning a copy of said book for my guess;-)

  30. on the track responds:

    it’s a binturong! also known as an Asian Bearcat but it’s not a bear or a cat, it’s actually related to civets. i was obsessed with these little guys a while ago!

  31. maeko responds:

    binturong…it is native to southeast asia, so i assume people might mistake it for unknown hominids of that area. look at those whiskers! almost looks like a beard.

  32. greywolf responds:

    It looks like a Fisher. They have reintroduced them to Pa.

  33. debonair responds:

    This was a piece of cake since it’s also my University’s mascot. As for the cryptid link, since it is indigenous to Southeast Asia, I would guess a lot of orang pendek sightings are attributed to the bearcat.

  34. curtskinn responds:

    It is a binturong and it comes from Southeast Asia.

  35. odingirl responds:

    Welllllll….Loren states he saw two of these things yesterday. In the wilds of Maine or in a zoo? The animal looks like it might be covered in pollen in that second photo….is this some kind of badger? The only other thing that comes to mind is a wombat.

    The cryptid connection escapes me, however.

  36. alkaline217 responds:

    That is a binturong and my guess for misidentification would be black panthers (or black “mystery cat” as it seems to be the popular terminology at the moment).

  37. Robb responds:

    It looks like Dr Suess’ “The Lorax” to me :)

  38. Mannyrivers responds:

    It is a Binturong, a rare animal related with the Civets and Genets. It is also known as Asian Bearcat. Lives in Asia, from Nepal to Malasya an Phillipines, including some forests in China. It’s a nocturnal animal. Although it is a rare animal, is very well known in many villages near it’s wide habitat. There are 6 subspecies, considering the smallest one in the Phillipines.

  39. kittenz responds:

    It’s a binturong, colloquially known as a “bearcat”.

  40. pgb7112000 responds:

    its an Asian bearcat or Binturong, which is neither a bear or a cat, but is more closely related to the civet.

    Its natural habitat is the rainforest of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

  41. Sune responds:

    Well – I am not going to reveal much either – except, I also know this animal… and, as a student of Chinese language, I can also reveal that all the syllables in the name of this animal also exist in the Chinese pinyin transcription system.

    And then about the cryptid… I wish, I could tell an interesting tale from the place where it is said to live, and I would be the first to go there in search for it, if I ever have the chance, as it sounds very interesting…

    But all that I know about it, I learned through Google search. So this cryptid lives in some kind of river region, and it is, probably, much bigger in size than the animal on the photos.

    Sune, Copenhagen

  42. Lorenzo Rossi responds:

    a binturong.

  43. Desert Dave responds:

    I am not totally sure but it could be the elusive “Wild Western Whiskered Wolverine”. This phenom is attributed to Shape Shifting, from Mojave County AZ puma to wolverine, (thus the magnificent whiskers), and often then to coyote…. not really that uncommon an event in some of these more remote parts, but usually observed by most mortals in the more evolved coyote stage…

  44. darkdragoonx108 responds:

    I beleive that the animal in question is a Binturong aka a Asian Bearcat.

  45. myseryoak responds:

    That would be a binterong (sp?) or “bear cat”. I’ve been to an animal park that used to allow you to hold one. Apparently, it also smells like popcorn.

  46. Blue Steel responds:

    I’m pretty sure it’s a Binturong (sp?) – but as to the link to crypto – I have no idea.

  47. ilovemuncie responds:

    Its a Binturong, more commonly known as a Bearcat.

  48. Ursawolf responds:

    Sure, it’s Binturong. Can’t even tell you how I recognize it..too many years watching Wild Kingdom, I guess. Plus I’m a zoo buff. Anyway, according to Wikipedia, Binturongs are related to Fossas, which would make these guys related to the cryptid Giant Fossa.

  49. sharonlee0827 responds:

    I went to Bedford Sr. High School in Bedford, Ohio.

    Our mascot was the Bearcat. I believe this is the Binturong, otherwise known as a Bearcat!

  50. Dr. Galen responds:

    Binturong. No idea what CZ connections it has.

  51. alan responds:

    It’s a Binturong!!!
    AKA: Asian Bearcat, the Palawan Bearcat, or simply the Bearcat,

    I found it by starting by starting a search for Zoo’s near you, Mr. Coleman, then narrowing down animals I wasn’t familiar with… whether that was the right means to the end or not rests on one question…

    Did you go to: York’s Wild Kingdom yesterday?

  52. krs9864 responds:

    A Southern Asia Binturong?

  53. ambabe90210 responds:

    I’m sure the creature in the photos is a Civet, possibly an Asian Palm Civet.

    As for the Cryptid it’s commonly mistaken for, I’d probably go with a big cat, but it could be something like the Chupacabra, or perhaps the Beast of Gevaudan

  54. Unknown Primate responds:

    My first thought was OTTER. Then I thought, WOLVERINE?
    Anyway, I’m guessing, SEA OTTER, and the cryptid… I dunno, any one of the numerous lake monsters – Nessie, Champ, etc.

  55. Dj Plasmic Nebula responds:

    OMG i never saw that animal before, i don’t know, it’s beautiful.


  56. Thermite responds:

    OK I think we sure its a bearcat or binturong, largest member of the civet family..

    Only thing I can imagine that being confused for is a large black cat, a small bear, lemur or dog/fox canid. Feline seems more likely out of those so I’ll go for black cat of some description ?? Bet it’s wrong though..


  57. WOLVES-TALON responds:

    It is most definitely a Binturong. I spent hours at the exhibit..a couple years ago. And took alot of pictures.
    They are beautiful !

  58. Loren Coleman responds:

    First of all, I said I saw two of these creatures. I did not say it was a “sighting in Maine” of anything cryptid. Merely that I saw two yesterday.

    My viewing took place at the York’s Wild Kingdom Zoo in southern Maine.

    For those that guessed it was a binturong (Arctictis binturong), also called a bearcat, you are correct.

    For the person (you know whom you are) who alluded to the Johor Hominid: Yes, that is the correct cryptid that this animal has been tied to, in the form of an unfortunate mistake where it was stated that the binturong is a primate. It is not. It is a species of the family Viverridae, which includes the linsangs, the genets, most of the civets and the binturong.

    Binturongs are huge for viverrids, and can weigh in at 60 pounds. They are much heavier in zoos.

    Binturongs are the only Old World mammal to have a prehensile tail. While tree kangaroos appear to have prehensile tails, they do not, and their non-prehensile tails merely are used for balance.

    “Sitting down and having a cup of coffee” was an indirect little joking clue because the world’s most expensive coffee, Kopi Luwak is made from coffee beans picked from the fecal matter excreted by Indonesian civets, a relative of the binturong. The cost of Kopi Luwak? Around $600 US dollars a pound. Bottoms up.

  59. cryptidsrus responds:

    Came late to the discussion—after your post, Loren…
    But I WAS going to say “Bearcat.” :)
    Had no idea what cryptid that was tied to, though.
    Interesting it was tied to the Juhor Hominid.
    Thanks for the Mystery Animal Photo feature. Really enjoy it.

  60. rockinroadkill13 responds:

    Several years ago, Living Treasures animal park in New Castle, PA(just outside of Pittsburgh) got in trouble for selling a binturong to a local family. They kept it in a crate on their front potch. I don’t remember how they got caught(maybe it escaped?), but I do know that somehow Living Treasures still exists. I’ve been there once, and I was disgusted by the conditions the animals lived in. Three Siberian tigers were in dog houses in a 15×15 cage. No room to run. I can’t believe the place wasn’t closed after they were caught illegally selling exotic animals.

  61. Terrell H King responds:

    Saw one of these at the wonderful Colchester zoo over here in the UK.

    Do grow to a fair size in captivity…

    More mystery creatures to guess please!

  62. Martin of Pines responds:

    Yup, definitely a binturong! My 10th grade English class nearly lynched me when I used that in hangman! >.<

  63. Andrew Minnesota responds:

    The Minnesota Zoo has one as well, it shares an enclosure with a Malayan Tapir

  64. Unknown Primate responds:

    WOW! My guess was so far off base! NOBODY else was even in my ballpark, for the actual animal OR my cryptid guess, LOL! This binturong will haunt me tonight.

  65. Unknown Primate responds:

    … and no, I’m not going to repeat my guess.

  66. megalania responds:

    It is a bearcat. Anybody who said they could be related to the black panther is wrong because according to a website they are not related to felines at all, nor bears. I would have to go with the Giant Fossa, since they are related. That was my guess. Hope I’m right.

  67. bluejules1 responds:

    Like Terrell H King earlier I too recognise it from Colchester zoo! Its a Binturong.
    Im not sure about them smelling like popcorn tho…seem to think its one of the smellier enclosure to go by..

  68. clancyryan responds:

    I know who I am!

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