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Name that beast!

Check out this mystery beast we caught on the wildlife camera last night. Usually, the pictures are a bit clearer than this, but dark objects are difficult for the infrared.

Remember, wildlife of this size is very limited in the UK, so don’t be guessing raccoon or wolverine or spiny anteater, okay? Little baby bear? Right out.

Maybe an obese black cat, but the legs are awfully stumpy. For reference, the grass is not especially deep and the heap of shit on the lawn (my goodness, how Uncle B hates my heap of shit on the lawn) is about knee deep.

Badger? The legs and body fit, but it’s too dark, a little small and I’d expect to be able to pick out the stripey snout.

I haven’t posted about the wildlife camera before, have I? I was kind of waiting to catch a hedgehog wearing pants or a tapdancing stoat or something really interesting.

But no. Most nights, we get a few pictures Meester Fox and our two cats. Not together. When the sun comes up, chickens and dickie birds. This is because I put leftovers on my heap of shit on the lawn. Heh heh heh.

I bought the camera for Uncle B, but I think I get the most pleasure out of it. I really look forward to checking that chip every day.

This is the one we have (and let me say I think “Prostalk” is an appalling product name). They make much better ones, of course, but this seemed like a good entry level.

Mucho recommendo. And you might get lucky and catch a nice shot of your burglar or your ex or something.


Comment from Brian L.
Time: February 9, 2011, 8:24 pm

Small pig? http://is.gd/VwMuxQ

Comment from Richard
Time: February 9, 2011, 8:29 pm

It’s a cat – a fat and hairy cat. Hence the legs look short. It moves like a cat, it’s about the right shape and size.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 8:41 pm

I suspect you’re right. A big fat sucker. We live in a pretty sparsely populated place, though, and this guy is news to us.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: February 9, 2011, 8:43 pm

The ears look cat-like as well. So YOU TOO have fat cats over there in East Pondia?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 8:53 pm

Oh, man: this is so cool. Stick with it until he gets the sculptures to walk by themselves using wind power.

Got it from a Sissy Willis tweet.

Comment from David Bain
Time: February 9, 2011, 9:10 pm

Even with so little to see, the gait is definitely cat. I suppose it’s its garden gait . . .

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 9, 2011, 9:19 pm

<squints at David Bain>

Comment from dustoffmom
Time: February 9, 2011, 10:19 pm

Maybe a cat as noted above but I tend to think it is a groundhog…..do you have those over there??

Comment from Carl
Time: February 9, 2011, 10:52 pm

I think it’s a young badger.

Comment from Carl
Time: February 9, 2011, 10:55 pm

I’ve never heard of a groundhog in the wild in Britain.

Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: February 9, 2011, 11:17 pm

Looks like a hairy dark cat to me, too.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: February 9, 2011, 11:31 pm

Doesn’t seem to have badger markings, which should be lighter than the visible background…

Comment from Peter Risdon
Time: February 9, 2011, 11:33 pm

I think it was a cat, but I hope you catch a badger on camera one day. These are nice animals, though farmers think they spread TB to cattle (and might be right). I met one once on the way home from the pub. We regarded each other amiably for a minute, then it grunted and wandered away. Don’t mess with a badger, though. Their forelegs are built for digging and can kill a dog.

In folklore, they’re wise animals (as in The Wind in the Willows). When I was a kid, my mother would take a break from dissecting owl pellets in the kitchen to go out on badger watches.

Comment from Frit
Time: February 9, 2011, 11:43 pm

A fluffy and tailless cat? I’m not seeing a tail on that critter.

If you lived here in Oz, my first guess would be wombat, but their stride isn’t as long as on that critter.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: February 9, 2011, 11:56 pm

Peter Risdon – thank you for the kind words 🙂

It took us many, many nights of spying but we did finally catch one of my fambly on the wildlife cam a few months ago.

Of course, it’s a slightly worrying development as chicken houses present no obstacle to a hungry badger and, as for a vegetable garden – Yippee! Worms!

Which reminds me….

Oh, and yes – it’s a cat, I’m sure. If my relatives were dropping by they’d have let me know. Someone has to buy the beer, after all…

Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: February 10, 2011, 12:11 am

Definitely not a badger, too dark as mentioned, and also badgers are built very low to the ground.

Years ago before the miracle of lasik, I was bowhunting antelope in northeastern Colorado and happened to have my glasses off. I looked down the small hillside I was sitting on and saw a blurry image of what appeared to be a giant mutant cockroach running toward me at impressive speed. When I managed to fumble my glasses on I saw it was a badger, being chased by another, very unhappy badger. Luckily the chaser caught up to the chasee before they reached me, and they engaged in a brief tussle before the first one ran off and the other returned triumphantly to his burrow. Neither of them at any point seemed to take any notice of me, for which I was quite grateful. The impression of flatness and speed as they were running really stuck with me.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: February 10, 2011, 1:39 am

Stoatie, does anyone in your area own a munchkin cat? that pic really resembles one of that breed…..


Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: February 10, 2011, 1:59 am

Feral Hog, maybe Siberian boar….young one.

Watch out, as Siberian boars have been introduced as game critters here and are interbreeding with wild hogs. Some kid shot a 500lb. critter a couple years ago.

Comment from jic
Time: February 10, 2011, 2:46 am

The earliest that boars breed in the UK seems to be February, so a piglet would probably be smaller than that, and the sow would be close by and probably would have been caught on camera. I’d say fat, fluffy cat, or a badger (the low quality of the image and/or dirt on the animal could explain the apparent lack of white markings).

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: February 10, 2011, 3:08 am

Thanks for the info.

The relationship of grass size and height seemed to me to show a critter larger than cat size….but hell, WTF do I know….buried in this fookin’sub-zero cold!!!

I need more anti-freeze, in the form of 25 year old Laphroaig!

Comment from Deborah
Time: February 10, 2011, 3:15 am

What Fun! A wildlife cam! I vote for fat cat, too.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: February 10, 2011, 3:20 am

I have $5 bucks on a chunky munchkin cat…

Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: February 10, 2011, 3:51 am

I would call it Rodger.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: February 10, 2011, 4:06 am

Sven, have you cracked a bottle of Stranahans Colorado Whiskey? I have a bottle that I’m saving for my next party, but mostly I stock Scotch and Irish varieties…

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: February 10, 2011, 4:09 am

Frit – When I was a much younger bubble-blower, one of my family’s cats, Kitty-coon, had a breach kitten that she was having trouble getting out the ol slip and slide. She got impatient and grabbed the tail (the only part that was sticking out) and gave a good YANK! Off came most of the tail, and shortly thereafter, down the chute came the kitten.

We named him STUBBINS, and he was one of the funniest kittehs my family ever had. ALWAYS into something…….

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: February 10, 2011, 4:16 am

Some years ago, on a wild urge I bought a night scope. Nothing too exotic, Gen II+. The big reason was that sometimes at night one of the dogs will get up, go to the window, peer down (master bedroom’s on the second floor) and growl. So I wanted to catch a glimpse of whatever it was.

Plenty of deer up there, but my dogs never growl at them. But we do have bear, bobcat, and cougar. The first two I have spotted, the third never although I sometimes find cougar scat or tracks while hiking, and I’d bet money the cougars have seen me (no, I’m not talking Demi Moore).

I even at time ponder building a tree platform to lay on in a sleeping bag, watching for nocturnal prowlers. How well do cougars climb trees?

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: February 10, 2011, 4:31 am

Better check to see where FLOTUS was last night…

Comment from catnip
Time: February 10, 2011, 4:50 am

There are cougars in our area. They’re very good at climbing, but their specialty is leaping–vertically and horizontally. Attacks against people are so rare, if you took an air horn and bear spray with you to your platform, you’d be safe.

Comment from steve
Time: February 10, 2011, 5:47 am


Comment from mojo
Time: February 10, 2011, 6:28 am

No dancing stoats, but I did get cussed at by a weasel once.

No, really.

I interrupted one in the process of dragging a ground squirrel out of it’s hole. The squirrel was putting up a fight, and the noise is what caught my attention.

All I could see was a furry, squirming mass making strange noises, so I moved closer. Suddenly, one or both noticed me and sort of sprang apart, staring at me. The squirrel recovered first and disappeared down the hole, the weasel snapping at it’s tail.

It looked down the hole where it’s lunch (presumably) had vanished, gave me a dirty look and said something I feel pretty sure was not complimentary before running off.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: February 10, 2011, 8:08 am

Your rare nocturnal sighting was a Womble, wombling underground, wonbling overground, wombling free, and making good use of the things that he found. Bit out of his mormal patch of SW19/20, but maybe on a field trip. Might have found some bounty in your trash heap. I bet if you’d caught him he;d have sounded just like dear old Bernard Cribbins.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: February 10, 2011, 11:23 am

A recent news story on a raccoon spotted in a (I think) Kent garden caught my eye. The guy had still images, it was definitely a raccoon and the local wildlife groups reckoned it was a pet that had escaped, or been abandoned.

But I can’t think of anything in the pet trade that fits that image. Very, very fat cat doesn’t quite do it either, but I’m currently viewing this on my phone. Will look it up later on and see if the picture quality is better on a desktop.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 10, 2011, 12:33 pm

I’ve just checked the chip from last night. Our beast hasn’t returned yet.

I’m still guessing cat. In the middle image, there’s a pretty distinct cat-like ear. And British cats are much more burly and mush-faced than the cats I’m accustomed to (think Happy Cat from Cheezburger).

It sure is a coon-like bastard, though.

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: February 10, 2011, 2:02 pm

Stranahans ….YES! good and smokey.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: February 10, 2011, 2:48 pm

It’s obviously an english pygmy hippo. sheesh

Comment from j2
Time: February 10, 2011, 4:51 pm

I’m voting “Cat”….
even though the “english pygmy hippo” guess is intriguing..

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: February 10, 2011, 5:03 pm

Armadillo, perhaps? That goddamned Jeff Goldstein has been eating leftovers off my spoil heap again!

Comment from JuliaM
Time: February 10, 2011, 6:38 pm

Hmm, yes, I’m going to have to go with cat but my oh my, that’s one hugely fat cat!

Or perhaps, the little known Furry Pigmy Hippo!

Comment from steve
Time: February 10, 2011, 7:05 pm


Comment from steve
Time: February 10, 2011, 7:13 pm


Comment from Frit
Time: February 10, 2011, 8:35 pm

Scubafreak: I will always love bob-tailed or tail-less cats. My first cat had some Japanese bobtail in her, and was born with a tail that never got longer than 4″. My third cat had Manx in him, and his tail never got longer than 1″ long! Both cats were awesome owners.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: February 10, 2011, 10:40 pm

Frit: Yep, i miss little Stubbins, he was a GREAT cat.

Always exploring, always getting into and out of trouble. LOTS of spirit….

Comment from Oldcat
Time: February 10, 2011, 11:14 pm

It looks like there is a round thing behind the hips on one of the pictures which is either a short tail or he is lashing his tail side to side so you are seeing the tail curling forward on itself.

I have a rather stout bodied long hair cat who also tends to roll his tail into a spiral when not walking so that it looks like a ladies bun rather than a long tail.

Comment from B.C.
Time: February 11, 2011, 3:48 am

You should try setting the controls to take a single pic instead of a series of pictures in quick succession. From my experience at work, quite a few game cams have a tendency to give you fuzzy pictures if they’re set to take multiple pics in rapid succession, such as the ones featured up above.

That being said, from all of the night-time pics that I’ve looked at over the years, my semi-professional opinion would be that it’s a well-fed porker.

As an additional means of nailing down the ID of anything you might capture on camera in the future, you should set up a meter stick in front of the camera to give yourself (and us) a reference scale.

Comment from hemmersheim
Time: February 11, 2011, 7:13 pm

Looks like a reverse albino snipe……


Comment from mojo
Time: February 12, 2011, 10:00 pm

I also guessed pig, maybe a pot-belly that escaped from pet-hood. Pigs are quite the survivors.

Comment from Mono The Elder
Time: February 12, 2011, 10:46 pm

I’m with the others with saying that, be a piggy.

Comment from Mono The Elder
Time: February 12, 2011, 10:48 pm

Me and M’s elder also wish to say that it might also be a feral piglet?

Comment from Cute Animals
Time: February 13, 2011, 6:14 pm

Is this creature creepy and weird or what? I have to admit, this is surely not a cute animal.

Comment from Hiyu
Time: February 15, 2011, 6:45 pm

That’s a fat cat. Quite likely pregnant.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: April 13, 2011, 2:15 am

The mystery creature is a badger. The very first couple frames distinctly shows the white stripe down the face. Badger, plain and simple

Comment from Bret
Time: April 13, 2011, 2:20 am

Your mystery creature is a badger, plain and simple. The first couple frames distinctly display a white stripee down the animal’s face… Badger. Ya need to watch more animal planet.

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