Unidentified Creature
In NC Stumps Experts

By Mark Brumley Staff Writer
News & Record
ASHEBORO -- First of all, this is a real newspaper, not a grocery-store tabloid.
So, the story you're about to read is true.
Randolph County resident Bill Kurdian photographed this unidentified animal in his back yard May 20. Kurdian took the photo with a motion-sensing camera. (Photo courtesy of Bill Kurdian)
It starts with Bill and Gayle Kurdian throwing out dried corn for the wildlife in their neck of the woods in eastern Randolph County, and an odd-looking creature taking them up on their hospitality early last winter.
"What in the world?" Bill Kurdian asked himself when he saw the animal for the first time.
About the size of a fox, but with short brown hair and a long cat-like tail, it looked more like an animal in a National Geographic spread out of Africa than any critter native to the woods of central North Carolina.
He's seen the creature off and on since about Christmas, with it wandering up several nights in a row, then disappearing for awhile.
Though Gayle Kurdian could vouch for her husband, when Bill Kurdian talked about the animal, people scoffed that it was just a dog.
"Everybody thought I was crazy," said Kurdian, the vice president of Matlab in Asheboro.
But Kurdian, an avid outdoorsman, got proof.
He captured the animal on two frames of film on May 20, using a motion-sensing camera that his wife gave him for Christmas.
In one frame, the animal was photographed from the front as it approached. The second frame caught a side view of the animal facing the camera.
Kurdian called Guy Lichty, a curator of mammals at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro. But Lichty couldn't help based on just the description. So, as soon as he got his film developed, he couldn't wait to show it to Lichty. But Lichty and other curators were still unable to conclusively identify the animal.
Lorraine Smith, another curator of mammals who looked at the photo, said it might be a grey fox that has lost much of its fur, possibly because of parasites. But, she stopped short of total certainty.
"You learn with animals that you don't provide an absolute," Smith said.
There's speculation that it might be an exotic animal that got away from its private owner or was set free. It could also be a hybrid, Kurdian was told.
It's the second time this year that zoo curators have been called on to identify a strange animal sighted in the area.
In January, some people reported seeing an unidentifiable creature in southern Asheboro. Someone later trapped a large feral cat in the vicinity.
Zoo spokesman Rod Hackney joked that he wished North Carolina could put Randolph County's talent to work finding bizarre creatures for the zoo.
"Maybe we could increase attendance," Hackney quipped.
Kurdian still hopes that someone can identify his mystery animal. He's trying to catch it alive so the zoo or the N.C. State vet school can run blood tests.
"I'm not going to kill it," Kurdian assured folks.
"I don't think it's a vicious animal," he said. "It's just interesting."
From Shadow
This is a photo of an a dingo, a small, usually feral mammal native to Australia. The unidentified animal in the photos from North Carolina is clearly a female dingo. The strange tail is typical of these small dogs. It may have escaped from a zoo or private owner.
From Xavier Simmons
This animal is not a dingo.
The photo is fake. Enlarge it and look at the shadows. The shadow behind the head is directly behind the head, indicating that the light source is in on the left edge of the photo. However, the shadowing for the hind quarters doesn't make sense. To achieve a solid shadow as we see in the photo, the light source would have to be elevated above the frame, but since the head shadow is above the animal we know that the light source was lower than animal-eye-level. We should be able to make out the left-rear heel of the animal in the shadows, but instead we see thigh-shadow.
It's probably two or three different animals: The hind legs look like big game: deer, elk. The front legs and ears look like a dog or fox. The face looks like a raccoon and the neck is elongated. The abdomen starts to expand like a deep-chested animal as you would expect to find in a deer or elk, but then narrows inappropriately. The back end and front end do not physiologically make sense.
But I'll admit to being ignorant. Maybe it's something new.

From Don
If you enlarge the photo in photoshop, you can still see the shadows of the animal to the right of the house where it should just be dark. It is a excellent picture, but the shadow was too good. If you look to the right of the home, above the grass line...there is still the outline of the shadow.............fake photo. Also, not quite as obvious, but the tip of the tail....look closely at the real tail and the is bent, the other is straight.....
It's A Fox
From Wolfgang zum Tobel
I was amused over the flood of opinions the 'niteshot' of the FOX - yes, that's all it is - caused.
A dingo? Hah...hah, what idiot came up with that?? A Dingo is much bigger & doesn't have a pointed snout. And then the 'expert debunker' taking the picture apart and 'proving' it a fake.
Well, to make the long story short: here is 'my' FOX mama. Notice the similarity. She and her litter of 3 live in my shed here in Deerfield Beach FL, 1 mile from the ocean, She comes out to nurse the pups. I feed them water. You will note the brown stripe on the top of the tail is identical to the 'mystery' animal.
It certainly seems to have the same face and body, but the tail is entirely different. We don't have the benefit of seeing the ears in WzT's photo either. Can anyone 'in the know' weigh in on the types of Fox tails there are? Is it common to see on with a tail that is not bushy?



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