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.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

NEIL ARNOLD: The Beast of Bideford!

Quite often local stories containing the word ‘beast’ in the headline are explained by domestic animals or on occasion, the local ‘big cat’. However, a good friend of mine, a Mr Vic Harris, who lives near Bristol, and who I consider to be a very sane person, had a peculiar sighting of a creature I hope the readers of this blog may be able to identify. His report reads as follows:

'Somewhere on the A39 between Bideford and Bucks Cross, 20/08/08 - 5pm
I don't really like driving, so on holiday I let my wife do all the driving and I get to look around and see if I can spot any interesting animals !!!

We were going pretty slow due to traffic, probably only 10 miles an hour , I was scanning the fields to my left , the field we were level with was empty and quite small only a few hundred yards wide. In the middle of the field was what appeared to be a furry red hump, as I drew level with it I got a pretty good look at it. It was definitely unlike anything I had ever seen roaming about our countryside before.

  • Overall length - tip of tail to tip of nose 6 to 7 feet
  • Height - 2 to 3 feet at the top of the hump.
  • Huge bushy tail.
  • Long thin face.
  • Colour was red, but not like a fox more like maroon, like the cushion below, but it also had some rusty brown around the shoulders and head.

  • The fur was short and course.
  • The creature seemed to be digging with really thick front legs.
  • My kids saw it as well and got quite excited as it looked so strange!
I know the above description sounds pretty crazy but as you know I've spent a lot of time in the countryside and spent most of my child hood roaming the wilds around the river Wye, so I know what our wild life looks like and I'm very observant and take in visual details well and retain them easily, I usually know what I'm looking at when I see an animal and this was not a fleeting glimpse, I had a really good look at it, so I had time to dismiss any mistaken identities'.


Richard Freeman said...

A maned wolf? But these are ginger like a fox rather than maroon. And what would one be doing roaming about down there?

shiva said...

Maned wolf was the first thing that came to my mind as well - but as well as being roughly the same colour as a red fox, they have very long, thin legs. I can't think of anything else in the size range that has a long face and a bushy tail...

One other thought is that melanistic jaguars can look a "purplish" colour that some might call "maroon" or "burgundy" in certain lights - but while about the right size, a jaguar certainly wouldn't have a bushy tail, and i don't think they'd be very likely to dig.

Paddy said...

Colouration and tail sound like red panda, but they are far too small. They do have thick powerful front legs, but i do not know if they dig?