As a special Easter treat, here are two animals for you. First, what about this? No, it’s not from Alien.

And now, what about this, picked up from both The Times and The Telegraph by Greg Mayer over at The papers describe it as “an oriental yeti” (duh?) or a hairless bear (duh? it has a LONG TAIL). Greg reckons its a civet with a bad case of mange. Any other offers? Whatever it is, it is pretty unhappy. Give it some cream, quick!



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  1. NewEnglandBob

    1. Mother-in-law?
    2. Something in the pig family?

  2. whyevolutionistrue

    1. A tunicate, either an adult larvacean, or a larval ascidian or thaliacean.

    2. I’m sticking with it’s a civet.


  3. 1. Juvenile Oikopleura dioica (okay, I cheated, I figured it was Oikopleura but then stumbled on the original picture source when I checked). Great picture.

    2. And my money is still on Paguma, for a number of reasons, despite the swell of Binturong opinion out there.

    • Matthew Cobb

      Wouldn’t you expect the “mask” on Paguma to show up as patches of darker skin on its face? Or do you reckon that’s what we can see? Give us your Paguma reasons!

      • Well my wife said “no more civet research today” so I’ll have to be quick and sneaky:

        – Hard to make a solid call based on the skin or hair pigmentation given the condition of the animal – whatever skin disease is going on here could easily discolor the skin and/or hair (what little is left). As you mention there may be some indication of a facial mask, but again, I think it is difficult to say for certain. Also, Paguma is rather variable in coloration with some individuals showing a very reduced mask.

        – While there is no good sense of scale given in the pictures, proportionally it looks rather stocky and given that it was supposedly mistaken for a bear I am guessing it is fairly large.

        – Which might make Arctictis (Binturong) a reasonable guess except that Sichuan is a bit beyond of the purported northern range-limit of Binturongs. Of course either the locality info given in the stories could be off (given the rest of the story this wouldn’t be surprising), the published range maps could be in error, or this could just be a rare extralimital individual which would explain why it was so unfamiliar to the hunters.

        – BUT the ears, nose and neck look a bit longer in proportion to the rest of the head than I would expect for a Binturong. That might just be an optical illusion caused by the hairlessness, but to me, makes it look a bit more like Paguma which occurs in Sichuan, and approaches Arctictis in body size. One would expect the hunters to have recognized it as such, but, again given the quality of the reporting who knows what the hunters said/thought really. Perhaps they just thought they could make an easy buck passing a hairless civet off as some sort of undiscovered species.

        – Furthermore, notoedric mange has been documented in Paguma (see Ninomiya et al. 2003 reference below). Of course, there is every reason to believe that the closely related Arctictis would also be vulnerable to a number of mange-like diseases including notoedric mange. So that’s a wash really.

        So, after all of that, my “number of reasons” are pretty equivocal and bascially boil down to reported provenance and general appearance, with nothing like a decisive field mark to clinch the identification, and published precedence for severe skin disease in that species. Then again, I’m a paleontologist not a mammalogist.

        If it did turn out to be a Binturong it would be interesting for biogeographical and perhaps pathological reasons, but I wouldn’t be that surprised.

        I suppose there is also the chance that it is Paradoxurus hermaphroditus (though it would seem to be a surprisingly stocky one) or some other viverrid or even non-viverrid species. I briefly considered Melogale moschata as well, but the legs seem too long and the head too large for that to be a real candidate.

        (sorry for the wonkily formatted reference, like I said, trying to rush things here)
        AU: Hiroyoshi Ninomiya
        AU: Munetsugu Ogata
        AU: Takashi Makino
        TI: Notoedric mange in free-ranging masked palm civets (Paguma larvata) in Japan
        SO: Veterinary Dermatology
        VL: 14
        NO: 6
        PG: 339-344
        YR: 2003
        ON: 1365-3164
        PN: 0959-4493
        AD: Department of Laboratory Animal Science and ; Veterinary Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University, 1-17-71 Fuchinobe Sagamihara Kanagawa 229-8501, Japan; Kanagawa Prefecture Nature Preserving Center, 657 Nanasawa Atsugi, Kanagawa 243-0121, Japan
        DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3164.2003.00351.x

  4. Notagod

    1 – Happy

    2 – Sad

    You want names not identification right? 😉

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