Carolina Cryptid Caught: It’s A Coati

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 16th, 2009

Mr. Austin and what appears to be an example of Nasua narica.

Reporter Robert Boyer of the Burlington (NC) Times-News writes:

William Austin has lived in the country for most of his 66 years.

He’s seen his share of wildlife near his home at 4724 Cobb Road, a golf shot east of the Guilford County line off Spoon Road and N.C. 62 in southwestern Alamance County.

But nothing like this.

Several weeks ago, the lawnmower repairman spied a rather strange creature the size of large cat munching on a discarded tomato at the edge of his garden.

Whatever it was, this kitty looked like a genetics experiment gone awry, a strange amalgam of miniature bear paws, a raccoon’s ringed tail and an aardvark-like snout.

The exotic critter eventually wandered off into the woods but returned later that evening and pilfered some supper from a bird feeder in his yard before vanishing again.

Days rolled by and Austin saw no more of his hungry new friend.

On Monday, a neighbor called. It’s here— come and shoot it, she pleaded.

But Austin had a different plan.

“Nobody believed me when I told them. That’s why I thought I would go ahead and catch it.”

So he did, with a live trap cage.

Rest of the article, here.

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.

9 Responses to “Carolina Cryptid Caught: It’s A Coati”

  1. dogu4 responds:

    “it’s here! Come and shoot it!” Ah, humans…comments like that explain so much about our inate sense of wonder, which typically lies just beneath our xenophobia.

  2. dwindell responds:

    How did this get in NC? Looking at the map of where they belong, it’s far out of range.

  3. Brothermidnight responds:

    I would say that this was a pet that escaped tho I live in North Carolina and have never heard of anybody around here having one as a pet.

  4. JTTM69 responds:

    There is a wonderful place not too far from Burlington, NC, that is a Carnivore Preservation Society. They house a lot of large cats, including 2 tigers now that must be around 7 years old. Like most folks who volunteer or work at places like this, CPT is a labor of love.

    As an aside, 6 years ago, those 2 tigers had come to CPT and were estimated to be about a year old. My wife and I run a dog bakery up the road in Raleigh and they contacted us to make cakes for them. We put about a pound of chicken in each cake, iced it with their names on it. Once the tigers figured out it was chicken, they went to town on the cakes. The enclosure that they were in was only about an arm’s length from the path so you could reach up and practically touch them. It was an incredible experience for us.

  5. Dr. Galen responds:

    Hooray for Mr. Austin!

    A few years ago when I was in NC some guys were essentially applauded for shooting a capybara that likely was a released bad idea purchase from a recent exotic animal show. One of the men said something to the affect of “we didn’t know what it was, so we shot it.”

    Nice to see someone take a better approach and the time and effort to seek a humane solution.

  6. JMonkey responds:

    Hey I can tell you that little old ladies and strange creatures just don’t mix. Rather than be attacked by some strange creature they will shoot. Responsible hunters don’t just shoot whatever crosses their path. We are there for food, conservation, and maybe the thrill of the hunt, but noone should kill something just because they are curious as to what it is. I applaud this man for doing the right thing.

  7. cryptidsrus responds:

    I would say the “Shoot It” response came out of a simple, automatic, fear reflex that people have of the Unknown. They don’t know the exact “dimensions” of what this unknown creature is, so a lot of times the “natural” reflex is to “shoot first, ask questions later.” Does not mean it is right, of course. Just reality.

    Actually, MOST of the time it is wrong-once in a great while it is right. These people are not idiots or monsters—just very human beings with a very human trait that needs to be “deemphasized”.

    I for one, am totally glad the animal was not killed. What we need is to teach folks not to fear the unknown.
    The great question is—How???

  8. jaguarsky responds:

    I believe that a number of people coatis as pets, then found that as they matured they weren’t quite so cute. I am guessing this critter is one of those.

    As to the human need to “kill it”, I witnessed it first hand yesterday, (not the first time by a long shot, no pun intended). A woman with a small child had entered the bathroom at local clininc, came hurrying out asking that someone please kill the lizard. So, I am thinking, wow, what could it be? We have some good sized reptiles down here in South TX and I thought this would be a great opportunity to catch one in an enclosed area (they are usually very fast and I am not). Up I jumped, then I carefully entered the bathroom intending to find the lizard without scaring it while I formed a plan for it’s eventual capture, quick study and release into a more hospitible habitat. The only problem was, I saw no lizard. “Where is it? I asked the frightened woman. “Over there in the corner.” She replied. I had to sqint very hard, but I finally spied the offensive creature, a tiny, pinkish, gecko, about an inch and a half long. I did an impressive job of not laughing and soon had the dangerous animal in hand, literally. All the while I was being asked to “Kill it, kill it”.

    Since the little thing was too fragile for much handling; I carried it outside and released it immediatly near some rocks and bushes. I walked back into the building, to find the terrorized woman still waiting. She wanted absolute confirmation that the creature was indeed gone. And she still couldn’t understand why I didn’t kill it.

  9. mystery_man responds:

    Jaguarsky- You did exactly what I would have done. Good move.

    I too am the opposite of the “kill it!” mentality. There are actually times where it might have been prudent to have just gone ahead and killed something rather than tried to preserve it.

    I’m glad the coati wasn’t killed. In many cases we can learn more by not killing anything that is strange, frightening, or unknown. I commend Mr. Austin for having a level head and the foresight to try and capture it rather than shoot it.

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