Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

Search This Blog



Click on this logo to find out more about helping CFZtv and getting some smashing rewards...


Sunday, October 18, 2009



Dear folks,

In part one of this blog I introduced the pygmy weasel, which is either the female or juvenile stage of the common weasel (Mustela nivalis) or a different species altogether. In part two I introduce a few letters and articles ranging from 1935 to 2009 in order to provide more information.

On September 18th 1996 I received a letter on behalf of Colin Howes Environmental Records Officer of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council on the pygmy weasel. The letter read:

'Prof. Seaward of Bradford University has forwarded your enquiry to look into. During researches into the history of mammals in Yorkshire I have certainly come across allusions and possibly references to `Pygmy`and `Mouse` weasels but have simply regarded these as `rustic` names to distinguish the common weasel (Mustela nivalis) from the stoat (Mustela erminea.) ...I seem to remember some of the gamekeeper correspondents of John Flintoff of Goathland, during the epic study of pelage and size in stoats and weasels earlier this century, referring to Pygmy weasels.

Even today, members of `shoots`in the Vale of Pickering region of North Yorkshire refer to very small weasels as `mouse` weasels."(1)

On September 26th 1996 I received a second letter from Howes about pygmy weasels:

Refering to Flintoff -'As an amateur naturalist Flintoff was well ahead of his time, undertaking a series of fascinating questionnaire surveys into the size ranges and ermine trends in stoats and weasels...Although Flintoff didn`t publish a book on the subject, his various papers are quoted in the Handbook of British Mammals and Dr King`s world monograph on stoats and weasels...The Game Conservancy at Fordingbridge, Hants* may be a useful contact for gamekeepers who would be able to provide the evidence you are looking for.' (2)

(*There is a note below this in my handwriting saying `They were not useful.`)

The R. J. Flintoff article that Howes sent with his second letter is `The Weights and Measurements of Stoats and Weasels `in The North-Western Naturalist for March 1935 vol 10 no.1

In Table 2 Flintoff presents the weight in ounces of three female weasels and fourteen male: 'The outstanding fact is that a weasel may weigh no more than 1 and a half ounces...Personally I hardly think the quality of size alone is sufficient as a basis for making a new species...Mr Adam Gordon, Duncombe Park, Helmsley, N. Yorkshire, an able and well known naturalist, writes: I must confess the weights of the weasels suprised me,because they were much less than I expected...Weasels are sometimes so small as to suggest there may be two kinds-the common weasel and the mouse weasel.'(3)

Coming right up to date with a web article dated September 18th 2009 from the Darlington and Stockton Times http://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk `The mystery of the mouse-weasel and when a stoat becomes ermine` by Nicholas Rhea

'Rumours in country areas suggest there are two types of weasel. None of my sources confirm that two species exist in this country and yet the belief was once very strong, despite having no official backing... It is claimed that the further north one travels, the more likely it is that pure white stoats will be seen, although the famous colony in the ruins of Mount Grace Priory, near Osmotherley, have been known to turn pure white...So how has the belief arisen that two types of weasel live in England? In the none-too far distant past,it was claimed that there was a smaller variety known as the mouse-weasel. It was supposedly about 6ins (15cm) long, but in all other respects it matched the colouring and habits of the larger variety.

Some landowners claimed that the mouse weasel could pass through an average-sized wedding ring. Not surprisingly, experts suggested these small weasels were mere juveniles, but rural experts had considered that possibility and rejected it. So far as I am aware, this likelihood has never been satisfactorily answered, but it might be worth adding that a female weasel is smaller than the male, though only slightly. (4)

1. Letter from Colin Howes to Richard Muirhead September 18th 1996.
2. Letter from C. Howes to R. Muirhead September 26th 1996.
3. R. J. Flintoff The Weights and Measurements of Stoats and Weasels The North-Western Naturalist March 1935 vol.10(1) pp31,33.
4. N. Rhea The mystery of the mouse-weasel and when a stoat becomes ermine http://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk

My next blog will cover some hitherto unpublished information from a German academic on Namibia`s flying snake and news about my suprise appearance with the Scissor Sisters at a secret venue in Manchester. (Don`t hold your breath, one of those comments is a joke!


Scott Corrales is a researcher for whom I have a lot of time. I am a big fan of his books, and he is probably at the top of my wish list for speakers at the Weird Weekend. We have never met, although he was greatly helpful to me back in 1998 when I was writing Only fools and Goatsuckers, the first of my two books on the chupacabra. I make no apologies, therefore, for reprinting any of his reports that I come across, if only to bring his work to a wider audience.

Argentina: The Mule Soul - A Mythical Creature Reported in Loreto

Source: La Arena (Newspaper)

Date: 10/16/2009

Argentina: The Mule Soul - A Mythical Creature Reported in Loreto

A rancher living in an outlying district of the city of Loreto (Santiago del Estero) told police that a strange creature – known in popular mythology as “El Almamula” (the Mule Soul) has been attacking his animals and has already mutilated several of his pigs, eating “their eyes, tongues, livers and hearts.”

Santiago del Estero - 10/16/2009

The man, identified as Mario Prado, a resident of Barrio Emergencia on the outskirts of Loreto, presented a complaint before Section 27 of the Provincial Police, further informing authorities that he would wait in a corner of his house, fully armed, in an effort to slay the creature and put an end to the “goings-on”

“This situation doesn’t involve normal animals – it’s the handiwork of the Almamula, because it eats eyes, tongues, livers and hearts,” Prado pointed out, citing what he was told in turn by another local upon seeing the state in which his pigs had been found.

According to his explanation, this neighbor also informed him that he should arm himself and wait in the pen for the next attack, and to file a complaint with the police, which he finally did in recent days.

(Translation (c) 2009, S. Corrales, IHU. Special thanks to Grupo G.A.B.I.E)

MORE MATERNAL INSTINCTS: Pigeon and baby rabbits

Following on from Lizzy's story of inter-species maternal instincts Naomi sends a story:

These little bunnies, about 6 days old, were attacked by a dog and orphaned. Two out of the litter of five did not survive, and these three were not doing very well. Enter Noah—the non-releasable, one-legged homing pigeon/rock dove that we have here in rehab.

Read on

CFZ AUSTRALIA: Queensland monster fish swallows turtle

Ouch! When this whopping grouper fish washed up on Townsville Strand in Queensland this week, the government veterinary pathologist Dr Ian Anderson had a poke around inside and - voila: one sizeable (and sadly deceased) 40cm green turtle was tucked away inside. Obviously not more than a mouthful for this plucky predator!
The 150kg grouper was washed into the shallows and died shortly after. Dr Anderson is awaiting the results of tests to determine what killed the protected fish.

Photo credit: Qld DPI


Posted By CFZ Australia to Centre for Fortean Zoology Australia at 10/16/2009 02:40:00 AM


As most people know, the CFZ always publish their expedition reports in book form. The recent Sumatra expedition will be no different, but because there is so much riding on the results of the DNA tests, we shall be waiting until we have the DNA tests available before we publish.

I think that you will agree that this makes sense.

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday’s News Today


Normally I’d be brandishing a 3D photo about this time but thanks to the most full on eye test I’ve had in many a year, and having had many a jet of air shot into my eyes before having a bright light shined into them for what seemed like ages and undergoing many other eye-related tortures, which I certainly don’t remember them doing the last time, my eyes need a lot of rest. Squinting at a 3D image and trying to match up the images from both cameras is not going to do them much good. But anyway, 3D images though fun are not the main reason you read this segment of the blog; you’re here for the news and bad pun.

There's Nothing So Rare as a Cougar in Missouri

Macaques are creeped out by cyber-selves

Florida Everglades fear rise of the people-eating super-snakes

Capybara sightings continue in Barnet

A Third of Dinosaur Species Never Existed?


No, because he never existed.