Pikes Peak’s Mystery Animals

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 26th, 2010

There is an escaped otter that has not been caught from Colorado Spring’s Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (90 miles from Denver). You can read about it here.

But what I want to highlight is a summary of other escapees and weird animal stories at the bottom of that treatment.

Here’s the extract that contains some interesting tidbits that overlap into cryptozoology:

2009, Homer the llama: When a cougar killed its mother at a ranch on the west side of Pikes Peak last fall, a baby llama did what any sensible llama would do and escaped above treeline. There it stayed for several weeks, buzzing trains and delighting tourists. But llama enthusiasts were concerned about its health, and when the young llama saw another of its kind, it ran right up. The rescuer named him “Homer,” because he had an odyssey.


2008, The mysterious lion of Peyton: Alarm spread through the eastern plains July 14, when several people reported seeing a large animal, possibly a lion. The presence of big-cat sanctuaries in the area, and a blurry photo worthy of Bigfoot, stoked imaginations, and authorities spent all day searching. The creature was never found, and after officials confirmed no big cats were missing from sanctuaries, the search was called off. The animal has never been identified.

2007, The Teller County wolf hybrids: A handful of wolves escaped from a wolf research facility in rural Teller County by climbing a snow drift over an electrified fence and mauled a neighbor’s dog. All but one returned on its own, and the last one was caught.2005, The west side buffaloes: On May 9, five buffaloes destined for a 21st Street slaughterhouse slipped away and proceeded to graze on west side lawns. After it appeared the buffalo were preparing to charge, Colorado Springs police officers fired, and it took 83 bullets from their semiautomatic rifles to bring them down, a shoot-out that damaged houses and caused a public-relations debacle for police. Police implemented new training and equipment afterward.

2004, The front-yard gator: May 8, a homeowner on Prairie Road woke up to a 12-foot, 550-pound alligator walking across his front yard. The alligator, brought here in a van by an Alamosa alligator rescue for an educational talk, broke the duct tape that had him hog-tied, escaped the carpet tied with 1-inch rope that he was rolled in and smashed through the van’s side window. It was caught with help from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo staff. The alligator’s name was Fluffy.2001, The utility pole parrots: For four years, two exotic parrots lived atop a utility pole off East Costilla Street. When the lines caught their nest on fire, they built a new one. When Colorado Springs Utilities tried to catch them with a long pole, residents protested. It took Utilities workers months, but in November they managed to catch the parrots, handing them over to the zoo. Officials never learned where the parrots came from.

1998, The chamois goat: In February 1996, a chamois goat from the zoo fled into the mountains during a routine cleanup of its holding area. It took more than two years to recover the elusive animal, when someone sent a local TV station video of the goat. In March, a sharpshooter hit it with a drug-loaded dart in the foothills northwest of Colorado Springs. The 8-year-old goat was covered with ticks and a little wobbly from the tranquilizer, but otherwise fine.

For clarification, the zoo is in Colorado Springs. Denver is roughly 90 miles north of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak area. Peyton is a small town about 30 miles West of Colorado Springs, almost on the back side of Pikes Peak. Thanks to Uriah for the heads up to note this.

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.

6 Responses to “Pikes Peak’s Mystery Animals”

  1. Krimeg responds:

    The Peyton photo is blurry, but the animal showed in doesn’t look like a lion, especially in the tail. My guess, a lion-tailed macaque.

    lion-tailed macaque

  2. Krimeg responds:

    Oops, correction : It seems lion-tailed macaques can’t held their tail like that.

  3. Aaronious01 responds:

    Peyton is about 30-40 miles East of Colorado Springs, out on the rolling hills and plains. My parents live there. West of Colorado Springs that far is Woodland Park, where I lived for several years.

    Fun article, thanks!

  4. korollocke responds:

    The Peyton photo clearly is of a Chow dog.

  5. mefine responds:

    I’m with Korollocke…the “lion” photo looks suspiciously like a Chow Chow. While the breed standard says that the tail should be swept across the back not every Chow has a tail that does.

    The Chow’s name in Chinese translates to something like “puffy lion dog” and even the breed’s description on the American Kennel Club’s website says “lion-like” and describes the breed as having a “cat like” personality.

    I think this lion barks instead of roars. 🙂

  6. MattBille responds:

    Great article, thanks!
    On the “lion,” the officials seemd to have settled on the presumption of a big Chow. Oddly, none was reported missing.

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