When A Mangy Bear Is Just A Mangy Bear

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 24th, 2007

Créature de Jacobs

The image here was posted to Cryptomundo as “Créature de Jacobs” and noted as being of a bare bear. It was added to the site to help those people trying to figure out what the latest blobsquatch photograph posted over at the BFRO was, which was being called a “juvenile Sasquatch.”

I find it amazing that certain individuals started throwing out the words “Chupacabear,” “detective work,” and “photoshopping” with regard to this above photograph.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission photograph was employed, on occasion, with a news story coming out of Florida four years ago, about routine sightings of mangy bears. One example of this was published by National Geographic News, and is still online as “‘Balding’ Bears: Mangy Mystery in Florida,” by Brian Handwerkfor, National Geographic News, January 14, 2003.

The animal is a bear with mange. No trickery was put forth, and it is rather incredible a few people could not believe what was right in front of their eyes with the above.

No photoshopping, no Chupacabear, no juvenile Sasquatch: sometimes a bear is merely a bear.

Yes, I think that applies equally to the Florida bear here and the Jacobs’ photographs, as well.

See Craig’s previous posts for more about the Jacobs’ photographs.

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.

46 Responses to “When A Mangy Bear Is Just A Mangy Bear”

  1. captiannemo responds:

    Yup….a mangy bear, no mystery.

  2. Sunny responds:

    from my childhood:

    Fuzzy Wuzzy wuzza bear.
    Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.
    Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t fuzzy, wuzzy?

    Sorry…couldn’t get that out of my head.

  3. mystery_man responds:

    Loren, I’ve been saying the same thing on the other post. I find it surprising that people were either not reading the post, or were convinced that the Florida Wildlife Commission would alter their photos.

    As to the relevance of the above photo, I’ll say it again. The “juvenile sasquatch” looks like a mangy bear, in an area where bears are present, seen among other bears. Look at the photo above and honestly tell me that you see NO resemblance whatsoever. As open minded as I am to possible evidence for Bigfoot, I have to say that sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. Some say those photos look more like a juvenile sasquatch and I say really? Do you know what a juvenile sasquatch looks like? Do you know that they are quadrupedal or move unnoticed among bears? It COULD be true, I am not disputing that, but which explanation is more likely with the “juvenile sas” photos considering what we actually KNOW? Can you really say they resemble a juvenile sasquatch more than a mangy bear? Is that really a more probable explanation?

    Perhaps in the future we will get unmistakable photos of a juvenile sasquatch and will be able to come back to the BFRO photos and be able to say “jeez, maybe they ARE of a sasquatch.” Maybe there will be some clear differentiation that somehow allows us to totally rule out bear on those. Maybe it IS a sas. But for the time being, the evidence is causing me to lean towards bear. Not close mindedness, not bias, just an honest scientific appraisal of the evidence at hand concerning these photos.

  4. shumway10973 responds:

    I think most people don’t even begin to think that bears could get mange. We normally associate mange with dogs. Most don’t realize that if the creature has hair/fur of any kind or amount mange is possible, even to us.

  5. chabuhi responds:

    Totally agree with mystery_man.

    Occam’s razor

  6. titantim responds:

    One thing I might point out is that Jacobs said there is more photos of the animal that have not been released. Wonder why? probably because it shows a better image of a BEAR.

  7. Richard888 responds:

    But mangy bears have no fur.

  8. mystery_man responds:

    Richard88- Look at the photo above. It is a real photo of a mangy bear. While sparse, it still has some fur left, every bit as much (as little?) as the subject of the “juvenile sasquatch” photos appears to have. Also remember, a mangy animal does not just suddenly lose all of its fur instantaneously. There are stages of hairlessness to reach the point of “no fur”.

  9. silvereagle responds:

    The Jacobs’ photos do provide strong circumstantial proof of one thing. That thing is that the BFRO can no longer call themselves a scientific research organization, when premature conclusion are quickly arrived at by the head honcho, and dissenting opinions are stricken from the exoboard chat room.

  10. mystery_man responds:

    Besides a thinning of the hair, mange also can cause a lot of other signs of poor health including difficulty eating, exhaustion, and emaciation. This explains how a bear could become thin and appear to have longer limbs.

  11. cylon6 responds:

    Somebody buy that bear a drink!

  12. i am sasquatch responds:

    The photo seems like a bear with mange, but i don’t know. Something just screams “sasquatch” at me. I know Jeff Meldrum gave his opinion on it, but have the researchers come to a consensus yet?

  13. bill green responds:

    hey loren & everyone very inportant great update article about mangy bear & the conterversal new photos. thanks bill green 🙂

  14. CrimsonFox79 responds:

    Yea any mammal can get the mange- which is usually what chupacabras end up being, foxes, coyotes, or dogs with mange.

    The ‘juvenile sasquatch’ images, IMO, don’t look much like this mangy bear aside from coloring. To me it looks like a human. Not a sasquatch, just a person- whether it be a hoax, or someone playing a prank knowing this guy has a camera set up, etc. The anatomy in the other pics is different (i.e. the legs longer than the arms, back hunched over to be unnaturally on all fours, round head.)

    The bear above- even being skinny, sickly, and manged with barely any fur- still looks like a bear. Its legs and arms are similar length, has large head and large ears, and a long back that is even and not hunched.

  15. red_pill_junkie responds:

    Well, I left a comment about this story on the last thread, but what the hell 😉

    What do you think of this group BFRO’s methodology? And no, I’m not talking about jumping to conclusions to prematurely, I’m talking about baiting their camera traps with strong deer scent to atract a potential Bigfoot. Do you think it is a propper approach? Do we know enought about Bigfoot’s diet enough to predict what would entice it to approach and what wouldn’t?

  16. Chris Noel responds:

    Yes, the mangy bear does resemble the juvenile sasquatch seen in the photos, except in one crucial respect: the legs of the subject are proportionally much longer than the hind legs of a bear (or, incidentally, than the legs of a chimp). To me, this one detail renders all other comparative criteria moot.

  17. sausage1 responds:

    Agree with mystery-man and chabuhi, athough why this geezer Occam should want to shave a bear is beyond me.


    you’re kidding me!

    O, riiight…)

  18. wrath of the real responds:

    I can’t believe this is still up for debate.

  19. Chris Noel responds:

    Just eyeballing the two bodies in question, I’d have to say that the legs of the Jacobs Creature represent at least 40% of the total length of the figure, whereas the mangy bear’s hind legs don’t exceed 30%. Can someone disagree just on this point?

  20. windigo responds:

    I think Chris Noel speaks for me on this issue. The anatomical proportion (hind legs) of the creature pictured does not appear to match that of a black bear. The problem is that it may never be conclusive enough to change the minds of those set in their opinion.

  21. Chris Noel responds:

    Yes, I mean just compare the two pictures–really LOOK–and you’ll have to agree that the two sets of legs are proportionally at least 25% different lengths.

  22. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    For me, the “nail in the coffin” on the Jacob’s photos was the overlay of the to scale bear bones with the critter. Is it in a somewhat “unnatural” looking pose? Sure. But you should see some of the strange poses we’ve caught bears in on our camera traps. Plus you add the perspective problems of rendering a three dimensional object in 2-D (remember foreshortening from those freshman art classes kids), the obvious bear in preceding images from the game camera and, well… if the shoe (or bones) fit…then yeah, sometimes a bear is just a bear.

  23. Double Naught Spy responds:

    I agree with silvereagle about the BFRO’s credibility. It is approaching zero. To promote this latest blob as a “juvenile sasquatch” on the strenght of those two fuzzy photos and nothing else is ludicrous. If they have something more than that in the way of evidence, it is high time to show it. By the way, have the other photos been posted anywhere? I would really like to see them, and their time stamps.

  24. mystery_man responds:

    Chris Noel- I also thought the legs looked odd at first, however I will disagree with that. The legs DO look longer on the juvenile sasquatch, but not to the point that I think we can rule out that it is a bear. There is not an appreciable enough difference to say that those photos cannot be of a bear. The above photo of a mangy bear is not necessarily representative of every single individual of the species, so there could be some differences between specimens. Also animals with mange or thinner than normal can exhibit seemingly odd anatomical proportions. Then there is the fact that both animals were photographed under different circumstances with different angles and clarity, as well as different lighting. I think it is difficult to come up with any precise percentage difference in leg length when comparing this, a straight on clear photo of a bear with mange from close up, with a trail cam shot at a distance. I do not have any problem with the legs on the other photo, they seem perfectly within the realm of a mangy bear to me.

  25. Richard888 responds:


    The tendency to label this creature a bear while not noticing the disproportionate length of its hind legs, doesn’t sound very scientific to me either. It feels like an irrational bias towards the known and the emotionally comfortable.

  26. Alton Higgins responds:

    Chris Noel,

    You said LOOK at the pictures to see a proportional leg length difference of at least 25%.

    When I look at a direct comparison here of the Jacobs animal with a young black bear, I see a match. So, I’m disagreeing with you regarding a significant difference in body proportions.

  27. halcyonicWV responds:

    I would like to point out, to eliminate possible confusion or ignorance about types of mange, that mange is caused by mites on the skin. It isn’t a disease as one typically thinks of disease.

    One effect of their presence is that these mites cause terrible itching. The animals rub, scratch at, claw at, and bite at their own fur (or skin if the fur has been removed). The idea that mange causes some kind of uniform baldness is incorrect. Animals with mange can have most of their hair, thinned air, patchy hair, and the usually assumed baldness/near baldness.

    Just because the Jacob’s bear has some short hair, does not exclude mange or some other unhealthy condition. You can learn more about mange and the range of possibilities it has for altering the normal appearance of an animal that is normally quite furry/hairy by browsing the subject.

    Just wanted to bring up that point. I assume we all are aware of the various bear skeleton overlays that are out and a certain anthropologists’s conclusion that this is a bear. I know some still contend the validity of the Jacob’s “creature” in the face of all this, though I do not understand the reasoning behind it.

  28. mystery_man responds:

    Richard88- There is no irrational bias about taking what is known and trying to come to a rational conclusion based on that. As I mentioned on another post, this is a basic feature of science, to take the observed evidence and come to a level of certainty based on that. In this case, many facts point to this being a bear, whereas only speculation is supporting it as a sasquatch. Sure, the legs look odd but that CAN happen with a sickly animal, we have comparative photos to look at, which show nothing to lead me to believe the legs of the “juvenile sasquatch” are anything completely out of the ordinary. We don’t know what a baby sasquatch’s legs look like, so how can anyone say that they look more like that? The legs are not completely impossible for a bear to have, but we don’t know what kind of legs a baby sasquatch would have and so can make no presumptions along those lines.

    So many factors point to those photos being a bear that the legs alone, which are still within the realm of possibility for a bear, cannot possibly point conclusively to a sasquatch and so scientifically we must consider strongly that it is a bear we are seeing. This IS a scientific weighing of the available evidence. I for instance, don’t WANT to see it as a bear, I don’t WANT to see it as anything. I cannot completely disregard the photos, as they COULD be a sasquatch. But from what we KNOW about the photos, bears, and the area in question, a bear is a very reasonable assessment. What is an unscientific bias is saying that the photos are of a sasquatch based on speculation of what a sasquatch MIGHT look like and MIGHT behave, and ignoring the other facts that support the notion that it is a bear.

  29. elsanto responds:

    mystery_man has time and again made any point here that I would have made, hence my silence beyond my initial post on this (can’t help but chuckle at the fact that I “called it” right from the get-go). The point about the length of the legs is a good point; but it is true that hair hides a lot. You only have to compare a sphinx cat or a rex cat (Devon or Cornish, take your pic) to your average housecat to appreciate just how much hair hides on an animal (or human for that matter). I’d suggest searching online for photos of both (at work, so don’t have the luxury of time at the moment). You’ll see how rex and sphinx seem much more elongated and elegant than cats of other subspecies, yet their legs are no longer than any other cat’s — they’re not the servals or caracals of domestic cats by any means.

    It’s also interesting to note that silvereagle (who has a very interesting perspective on sasquatch and who one might call a “believer”, though I’m sure he would resent that term) has out-and-out called it a bear. I have a hunch that were he online and posting, multiple_encounters (whose moniker tells it all) would also agree.

    It’s bordering on the paranoid fringe of conspiracy theory to suggest that the “creature de Jacobs” was photoshopped by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. To what end? To be a smokescreen to deride photos of actual sasquatch when they emerge?

    Like many others, I would love for those photos to have been good, convincing photos of a sasquatch — irrespective of whether it’s juvenile, in its prime, or geriatric and with a case of the trots. I believe it’s just a matter of time before trail cams will take such photos. Sadly, that’s clearly not the case here; but at least we’ve again been provided with a good exercise in analysis and critical thinking.

    Two more cents on this,


  30. DWA responds:

    Well, I will say one thing for sure: doesn’t sound like anybody’s going into the field to find out whether this was a bear or not.

    Boy. P/G looks better and better every time I look at it. 🙂

  31. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- Right. Give me something that looked more like Patty and I’d be A LOT more inclined to think these were not a bear. 🙂

  32. Kathy Strain responds:

    I find it very interesting that had Dr. Meldrum declared this as a sasquatch, those arguing for the squatch view would have accepted it and cheered…but since he called it what it is, a bear, it’s not good enough and they are still arguing that it’s a squatch. Very telling…some people only want to hear what they want to hear.

    I think the BFRO could have handled this differently had they wanted to post the picture prior to any analysis. Where they went astray was to call it a juvenile squatch based on absolutely nothing. Their statement says that “young juvenile bigfoots are typically described as quadrupedal (walking on four legs), with the ability to climb trees or run very quickly on all fours.” They are? Where? What reports are you referring to? The BFRO is often toted as having the best database, then why not link to all those reports that back this statement up? The few quadrupedal reports that I personally handled were all adults. It seems to me that the BFRO would do better with a PR person who could write their press releases more carefully.

  33. sschaper responds:

    Well, we were right about a couple of things: it wasn’t somebody in a suit, and it sure looked like a real critter.

    I suppose continuing to film in that area is a good idea, but now that the professionals who aren’t skeptics are saying that it is a bear with mange, I think that is likely to be the case.

  34. deadfoot responds:

    I was pretty convinced it wasn’t a bear until I saw the above photo. Though “Jacob” still seems furrier and longer than a mangy bear.

    But the thing that bothers me the most about this is the how and why. These suckers are too smart and have made it a priority to steer clear of getting caught on camera.

  35. mystery_man responds:

    Kathy Strain- I don’t know who you are referring too, but I know I am not one of those leaning on Meldrum’s appraisal. If you read my previous posts on the other threads regarding this issue, you’ll see that I have been saying it is quite probably a bear all along. Meldrum’s analyses had absolutely nothing to do with my own opinion on the matter and I have explained my reasons for leaning towards bear thoroughly. If you were not aiming your statements at me in your post, then sorry for bringing it up. 🙂

  36. mystery_man responds:

    Kathy Strain- Sorry, I misread your post. It’s late over here in Japan. With regards to what you said about Meldrum, I agree. As to my post directly above this one, nevermind! 🙂

  37. Kathy Strain responds:

    Nope, m_m, I wasn’t talking about you…I was referring to those who toted that Meldrum would set us all free with the truth and when he said bear, they ignored it and are still insisting it’s a sasquatch (for example, the original BFRO statement said that anthropologists at Idaho State were looking at the pictures…then Meldrum says bear…now the BFRO statement says that others experts are looking at it. That sounds like the old “shop around til you find what you want” bit).

  38. Kathy Strain responds:

    That’s ok m_m!

    Japan, huh? Cool!

  39. mystery_man responds:

    I agree that the BFRO didn’t handle the situation very well in my opinion. I cannot see what the scientific gain is to putting up some obviously inconclusive photos and then stirring things up by labeling them a juvenile sasquatch. this is just quite simply an unsubstantiated conclusion. I would have liked to have seen them just post them and say “Hey, these are strange, what do you think?”. I feel that allows a more unbiased appraisal of the photos. by claiming they are of a sasquatch, it somewhat leans the argument towards people seeing a Bigfoot but trying to tell if it is a bear or not rather than just seeing the photos for what they really show. The BFRO, being a high profile organization within cryptozoology and by some considered an “expert” source, only manage to bias the debate by making such unfounded claims. The same goes for the assumptions on Bigfoot behavior. We have only tenuous understanding of possible sasquatch behavior at best, mostly gleaned through sightings reports, so stating things like juvenile sasquatch being quadrupedal as fact is not constructive. The way in which their findings are presented causes them to lose credibility in my eyes.

  40. Defactor responds:

    Ms Strain is attaching a way too much importance to Dr. Meldrums statement. He did not “declare” anything. And he made no “analyses”. And he surely did not “set us free with the truth”. Dr. Meldrum said that the animal “seemed” to be a bear.
    While we all appreciate him and his work, he will be the first to tell you that his statement was by no means an “experts opinion” which would hold up in any court of law or scientific inquiry.

    Dr. Meldrum saw what we all saw. And what he made was an educated guess, no more and no less. The photos will no doubt be closely examined by an expert that may yet actually determine whether the animal is a bear or a primate. Until then, anyone has the right to express an opinion.

  41. Kathy Strain responds:

    Defactor – I think you should reread what I wrote. It really had little to do with Dr. Meldrum.

  42. tapper responds:

    I’ve spent some time reading through all of the hype and, unfortunately, garbage like this falls into what PR pros like to call “seasonality stories”. The press wouldn’t give this story legs had it not been so close to Halloween. Trust me on this one, folks.

    I find it particularly strange how Moneymaker once again throws objectivity out the window, immediately laying claim to this. Matt, no offense but you have to quit being such a leech.

    There is no way this could be anything other than a bear. Note the arch in the center of the spine but, more importantly, look closely at the first photo. If this animal were to stand on its hind legs, the “arms” would be just above waist level, which falls in line with a bear’s anatomy but not with a squatch, whose arms are described as being so long that they fall well below the waistline – with hands described as hanging close to the knees in some instances.

    Finally, based on my experience and on past discussions with bigfooters, these creatures are allegedly capable of seeing infrared lights (even mentioned in several instances on BFRO’s site). Look at the IR flash of Jacob’s Bushnell camera. The reflection on the tree and ground is bright enough to tell me there’s no way a squatch would remain around long enough for the camera to take a second shot.

  43. hetzer88 responds:

    Ummm, there is one very conspicuous feature on this creature that everyone apparently seems to have missed. The top of the head shows a sagittal crest. Bent over, as it is, the back rear of the skull is pronounced. As far as I know, that is the best evidence for this thing being more of a sasquatch than a bear.

    Obviously, this is not a definitive picture of anything. I can only say that, I have worked in the wildlife rescue field for many years, and have seen my share of creatures with and without mange. I have also seen bears, up close and on hidden camera, and I have never seen anything like this before. Couple that with the sagittal crest, and what it is, I don’t know, but from what I see here though, this aint no bear! And so it goes.

  44. native_man1 responds:

    I for one I’m looking for answers from all those so called mange bear experts. Especially to the comments about the third photo which some claim that’s a bear facing the camera. So here are my questions:
    1) “Why does the eyes’ not glow like the first photo of the cubs which shows eyes glowing?”
    2) “Why is it that the Bear’s front left paw seem to turn inward?’
    3) “Why does the paw that is used for support look more like knuckles?”
    4) “Why does the photo of the cubs not match the shade on the cub on the third photo if you all say that’s a cup under the mama bear?”
    5) “Why does one front limb look longer than the other?”

    These are just the few questions that I’d like answers for. If you may!

    I’m not saying that this is a young BF but it sure does not look like a bear with mange to me.

  45. CBFResearcher responds:

    Mangy moose and cattle lose their fur/hair… And I have seen it. Some have just enough left to cover the body and look much like the amount of fur left on the bear above.

    Photo of juvinle is likely a bear…

  46. Clay responds:

    Looks more like an ape to me plus I just read about an engineer from Pittsburgh that went to the site with the same type of camera staked it out and found out the sizes comparing duplicate photos to the original. It had 22 inch arms and like an 18 inch long body that would be impossible for a bear. It was done several times with models since then by different people and was published in a kids science magazine by some scientist a few years ago. I guess the proportions are the best it has going for it. The rest is too blurry to be certain.

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