Alton Mystery Animal

Posted by: Loren Coleman on June 28th, 2006

Alton Mystery Animal

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Troy Taylor, an Alton, Illinois, publisher and investigator, has passed along some new photographs of a mystery animal that was seen for two days, around his town recently.

Alton Mystery Animal

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Taken by Tom Westley, Taylor notes that the photographed animal frequented the corner of Third and Langdon before it moved on.

Alton Mystery Animal

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Interestingly, stripes were seen on it by some people, while others said they were sure it was a bobcat. But most of us can clearly see something else here, and these good photographs leave little mystery as to what this animal is.

Alton Mystery Animal

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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.

48 Responses to “Alton Mystery Animal”

  1. English Boy responds:

    looks like a fox to me

  2. Tobar responds:

    Yeah a mangy one at that.

  3. cradossk responds:

    Aye, tis a fox. Somethings wrong with it, but tis a fox none the less

  4. voodoochild responds:

    Aren’t the legs a little long for a fox? I say coyote.

  5. Bennymac responds:

    someone needs a flea bath.

  6. fredfacker responds:

    I would guess coyote puppy with mange.

  7. sluggo responds:

    wile e coyote…they are in the field behind our house quite often..funny runners they tend to “hop” at the hind end…

  8. Berkastler responds:

    It’s a young coyote with very short hair. maybe it’s got the mange, dunno. Definitely a coyote.

  9. Loren Coleman responds:

    Yes, okay, everyone seems to be on the same page, correctly, about this being a canid with mange.

    But folks, look at the distinctive coloring and patterns here on this animal. Which animal is reddish with black leggings and black on the ears? A coyote or a fox?

  10. kokodhem responds:

    Mange, mange, mange… that’s all I ever hear anymore. These things are all over Texas and people have taken many clear photos and even produced bodies that have returned “inconclusive genetic results.” But all anyone ever says is “it’s a mangy coyote or something.”

    Apparently, there is such a vast outbreak of mange across the US that it’s a wonder there are any non-mangy ‘yotes and foxes left. *said with a sarcastic smirk*

  11. larzker responds:

    These photos are unsatisfactory. They’re not blurry enough there is no foliage obstructing our view of it.

  12. planettom responds:

    I’m leaning towards a fox. I originally thought coyote, but after comparing the colors of the two animals and comparing some photos, I’m leaning towards fox. A puny fox at that, possibly ill, or with a skin disease. So Loren, I vote fox!

  13. Ranatemporaria responds:

    Anyone thought it might be a Jackal? The feline conection would explain the long tail, a fox’s tail would be “bushier”. (That’s the opinion of my girlfriend, who has just come back from Botswana and Swaziland)

  14. kk responds:

    It’s definitely a red fox in horrible physical condition.

  15. jim_brikiatis responds:

    A simple fox that directs a flea circus…Yes it is a cryptid!

  16. MattBille responds:

    There’s a genetic condition called Sampson which can appear on foxes: they have only the short, fine underfur, and not the long coat of “guard hairs.” The animals are otherwise healthy.

    See: National Geographic News

  17. Ranatemporaria responds:

    oooh, how bout a hybrid? Dont forget the domestic dog comes in a myriad of forms/breeds all of fall under the same species. I belive dogs and wolves can hybridise not sure about any other canines tho?

  18. L Ron Hubbub responds:

    Looks like Bigpaw to me…

  19. oldbutnotstupid responds:

    What this animal is (fox or coyote)is not as important as the fact that it is very ill and it may not be mange. If like some have said these are showing up all over, someone better find out whats wrong before the illness spreads to domestic dogs and possibly people. there is definately something here needing a more serious investigation by wildlife people.

  20. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    yup… my vote is a fox with a bad case of mange…

  21. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    the reddish coloring overall, with black legs and ears, definitely point to a fox, not a coyote

  22. MattBille responds:

    I really think this one is solved. It looks identical to the Sampson-afflicted fox documented from North Carolina in March.


  23. John Ryan responds:

    I think we should listen to MattBille on this one…

  24. One Eyed Cat responds:

    The Size of the animal is the key to me and I’m not personally satisfied enough to take a guess which exact animal it is, but definatly canine not feline.

    I’m starting to wonder if some people need required vewing of some ‘wild animal’ shows to learn what some animals look like

  25. KenMD responds:

    How is this a Cryptid?

    Not sure why we even have these discussions.

    Everyone shave your dog and look how funny he/she looks.

  26. bralin responds:

    I vote for the Sampson affected fox as well. The very first one of these I saw was the Elmendorf (sp?) beast. The first thing I thought of was that it is fox with a horrible case of mange. Maybe this is Sampson disease is nothing more then an adaptation to the warmer temps being experienced all over the world or possibly a result of weaken immune systems due to polution and other environmental stresses.

  27. kamoeba responds:

    I live about 90 minutes from Alton (home to the now-deceased world’s tallest man ever) and it is not uncommon to see foxes in our area. I’m guessing it is a severely mangy fox.

  28. Jos Gagné responds:

    It’s a fox, nothing else. We have the same mangy ones like that all over campus. PS don’t feed these critters, they keep following you like crazy afterwards.

  29. Lesley responds:

    I see coyotes on almost a daily basis and it doesn’t look like a coyote to me, even if it had mange. It looks more like a fox, but still not totally. I think it is some kind of mixed breed.

  30. mintoreo96 responds:

    Looks too small for a coyote, too big for a fox. That tail is very interesting, plus the way it cranes it’s neck to scratch.


    I live in a town where our High School mascot is the Coyotes. I have seen the same type of creature in the San Joaquin Valley for the last 40 years, colors change slightly depending on time of year, nothing new to locals.

  32. margaret deharpporte responds:

    Check out a good photo and description of either an ardwolf, or Tazmanian wolf. Many of the same characteristics.

  33. twblack responds:

    An adult fox in poor health.

  34. shumway10973 responds:

    definitely a fox I say, though I tend to lean towards what #17 was saying. happened out here in california between the red wolves and coyotes. now our coyotes in calavares county are quite big. at least this one actually looks like a “normal” fox. when the “experts” said the elmendorf beast was no more than a mangy dog I had to scream at the monitor. I’ve never seen any canine that looks like that.

  35. ilexoak responds:

    A mangy fox just like that was captured in MD some time back. Had the neighborhood in a tizzie before that.

  36. sasquatch responds:


  37. kscryptoholic responds:

    Certainly looks like a mangy red fox to me. Living here in Kansas, I see coyotes frequently and fairly mangy ones at that. They look quite different than this critter. I have read that state wildlife agencies have purposely released this mange epidemic to control the numbers of coyotes. This may explain the many sightings of diseased animal like this poor speciman.

  38. sowhatofit responds:

    devil dog…

  39. LoriJMartin responds:

    Whatever this thing is, I saw one in Eastlake (Lake County), Ohio a few weeks back. It ran across a main road and went towards some houses situated on Lake Erie. I called the Willoughby police dept on my cell phone who transferred me to th Eastlake Police. I told them I just saw a jackal or something like a scrawny, sick, but large jackal or coyote. Today, my husband e-mailed me this article and asked me if this is what I saw & I was amazed to see that is EXACTLY the same animal I saw! We do have some coyotes in Lake County, but it’s rare to see them. However, they aren’t as big as this animal and they have thicker fur.

  40. Lee Pierce responds:

    The coloring is a bit suspect, but judging from the long tail, long legs and stride I believe it is a young coyote.

  41. Genna20 responds:

    It’s the chupacabra…lol…Well, it is certainly not a coyote…The markings on it’s tail are indistinctive of a coyote’s….Though I really couldn’t tell you what it is, that is what it isn’t.

  42. Mnynames responds:

    Larzker (#11), that is the funniest posting I’ve read in a long time…So I suppose this mystery animal doesn’t warrant “Amazing” status?

  43. kidkarysma responds:

    Could it be a fox/coyote hybrid?

  44. spooken2 responds:

    It is a Red Fox with mange

  45. bruiser71 responds:

    If this is a fox with mange then why are there reports in Texas, Virginia, North Carolina in May, and just recently in the low country of South Carolina where I am from. All I have to say, there must be one hell of a case of mange going around the southern states.

  46. bruiser71 responds:

    Also Sampson, in foxes only occurs in 1% of the fox population

  47. Evanstonian responds:

    My neighbor and I saw this same exact animal yesterday (Labor Day 2006) in Evanston, Illinois. Surely it couldn’t have traveled 300 miles from Alton to Evanston–especially in its obviously emaciated condition!

  48. Trish07 responds:

    My comment is a little late but I have info to add. My neighbor is the one who took movies of the strange animal here in Glyndon Maryland. We have nicknamed it HYOTE. The Game Wardens caught a small fox with mange and claimed they got it. They just wanted to put an end to the story. Fact is, they didn’t catch the strange animal at all. I also have a photo of a strange footprint in the snow outside of my sliding door. The paw print is not a cat or dog and is way too large for a fox.

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