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Mystery Cryptid Pic From Tampa

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 16th, 2009


Peter Masa/Tampa Tribune photo.

What was the “something” in the trees above 3001 E. Elm St. in Tampa, Florida, just south of Sligh Avenue, west of the Hillsborough River, photographed about five days ago.

Various theories have been put forth. Official thoughts said it was a monkey, then some figured it was a large raccoon, but finally authorities told the media it was believed to be a macaque.

“An officer [of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission] went up into the tree to get a better look at it,” a commission spokesman said.

“It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack,” he said. “If somebody calls us, we’ll go out and try to dart it.”

But they weren’t able to get close.

If it is a macaque, the officers said they have no idea from where it came. It might be an escapee. There’s a breeding population of rhesus macaques living in the semi-rainforest of the Silver Springs area, near Ocala; officers didn’t know if there is a connection, they told the Tampa Tribune.

No one has filed a missing monkey report. (A permit is required in order to have a monkey.)

Lowry Park Zoo officials said the animal wasn’t from their facility.

“All of ours are accounted for,” zoo spokeswoman Rachel Nelson said on November 11th.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has since given up the search for the mystery animal.

But the photo remains.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. 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.


25 Responses to “Mystery Cryptid Pic From Tampa”

  1. jtmkryptos responds:

    looks like a capuchin monkey to me…

  2. Kronprinz_adam responds:

    It looks like a small monkey!

  3. shumway10973 responds:

    Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble here, but it looks like Morris the orange cat to me.

  4. bportal responds:

    Guys I see a tabby cat in a tree, no question!

  5. darkshines responds:

    I’m saying red panda…….

  6. Paul78 responds:

    I remember a previous report a while back that said an official had seen something in a tree and was leaving it fruit, she thought it was an Orangutan.

  7. cryptidsrus responds:

    My first thought was “Racoon.”

    On second examination, I agree with others it is probably a small monkey.

    I also thought “Koala.” But my mind then said “NAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!” :)

  8. korollocke responds:

    Oh for petes sake it’s a fraggin house cat!

  9. lukedog responds:

    Little in photo to suggest more than ginger cat.

  10. mystery_man responds:

    It looks an awful lot like some sort of monkey to me, although it is hard to say what kind based on this one picture. I wouldn’t say it appears to be an orangutan since it doesn’t seem to be the right size, and it would be an extremely unusual color for a raccoon.

    The lack of a missing animal report isn’t incredibly surprising. There is certainly the possibility of unregistered monkeys being kept in the general vicinity. Considering that a permit is required to own one, an owner who was keeping one illegally would not be inclined to report it when the animal went missing. It would be tantamount to turning themselves in.

    The lack of any missing animal report makes me think there’s a good chance this is someone’s unregistered escaped pet.

  11. jtmkryptos responds:

    no its a capuchin, the brown kind, which has been found alot in Florida, not natively, but found there…

  12. jadewhiskey responds:

    I think from the fur coloring – it looks like a gibbon. It would be interesting to find out for sure…

  13. gridbug responds:

    How are people seeing a monkey in there? What I see is a well-fed tabby cat perched on a branch. Just that, nuthin’ more.

  14. BlueTinkerbell responds:

    Just to my untrained eye, it looks too large to be a housecat. Does anyone know what type of tree that is and the average leaf size? From that one could extrapolate possible dimensions of the visible portions of the animal. The fur color immediately made me think of a gibbon or a macaque.

  15. Chance8 responds:

    The local news is saying that Fish and Wildlife officials are now saying it’s a macaque. It took off through the trees while they were watching it, and the FWS guy who was calling it a raccoon must have felt pretty stupid.

  16. bray_beast responds:

    That is a terrible photo. Judging by the coloration and probable size, my guess is housecat or coati mundi. Florida seems fairly perfect for the establishment of a wild coatis population.

  17. bray_beast responds:

    Here’s a link to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission detailing some sightings of coatis (mostly in southern Florida), and admitting that they are most likely established as a breeding species.

  18. Spinach Village responds:

    Looking at the picture and judging on simply the visual evidence alone, it could be a lot of things. But seriously, can anyone point out the distinct form of an orange cat? No, of course you can’t. The form is greatly obscured by the leaves and branch.

    There is not enough visual evidence to suggest that this animal is a house cat just like there is not enough visual evidence to suggest anything else. It is a mystery. If someone is immediately claiming that the animal is a house cat, then I feel that, that person is prejudging and not being objective at all.

    It seems to smacks at desperation, at the need to have a logical answer for everything.

  19. SOCALcryptid responds:

    Thank you Spinach Village. I could not have said it better myself.

  20. bray_beast responds:

    Now Spinach, while I agree that demanding everyone acknowledge that it is one thing or another is ridiculous, I don’t know of a website where it is more appropriate to list possible candidates for the identities of blobby photos and debate the merits of all said possibilities.

  21. Fhqwhgads responds:

    Spinach, that’s a load of hooey, and it’s not the way anyone lives their lives. Example: I just got some cash out of an ATM, mostly in $20′s. One or more of those bills COULD BE counterfeit! Do I break out into a cold sweat? No. Even though there is a slight possibility that one or more is counterfeit, I know that statistically the odds are against it, and no reason has been given for me to believe there is a counterfeit bill in my pocket. It’s not “desperation” to play the odds in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

    So maybe this thing in the tree is something unusual (no one has yet mentioned a fat Eurasian Red Squirrel), but given how many pet ginger cats there are (relative to the number of monkeys) and the total lack of any reason to think this is NOT a cat based on either photographic evidence or reported behavior, I’ll go with “cat” as my default.

  22. cryptidsrus responds:

    Spinach Village:

    Good show.

    I second what SOCALCryptid said.

  23. charlie23 responds:

    While I agree with Spinach Village in principle, after sharpening and enlarging the photo in photoshop it does indeed look very much like a housecat, with about 1/2 of the face visible.

  24. lukedog responds:

    I’m sure most viewers at this site enjoy mystery photo’s as much as I, But if we aren’t allowed to even comment on what we think it to be ,whats the point of even posting it.
    From posts I’ve read, no one has demanded that their opinion is Gospel,[DWA hasn't posted yet] so post and let post people, and dont be afraid to hazzard a guess.

  25. Rogutaan responds:

    Hmm, interesting. I hadn’t heard of this at all, and I live 15 minutes away from the Hillsborough…



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