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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...

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Monday, September 19, 2011

MUIRHEAD`S MYSTERIES: A HUGE FOX IN SURREY IN SPRING 2011 PART ONE

The following post on the Wild About Britain Forum about a very large fox in Surrey appeared between April 30th and May 7th 2011:

30-4-2011
Wildsusy
Enormous fox

Hi all, was walking near Tilford in Surrey today and caught sight of what I initially thought was a roe deer. But then it walked and was sort of sloping along like a panther, with a long back and had a long tail. I was very baffled, looked just like a big cat…I concluded it was just a fox, looking at its tail and pointed ears, and of course on further inspection it was fox shaped etc but it was huge! like deer sized.

What is the biggest fox you have seen or heard of? How common is it for specimens to get so large and what causes it?

1-5-2011
Sunnydale
Re: Enormous fox

Quote: What causes it?

Didn`t you know?! They eat a lot of babies, of course!!

Sorry, couldn`t resist!

01-05-2011
Mbaldw

Quote: How common is it for specimens to get so large and what causes it?

Well the `monster` fox caught in Kent last Christmas was apparently 4ft long (though I guess at least 1ft was the brush making the body ~ 90cm) which would be close to the bottom end of the range of Roe Deer length (95-140cm) ,but this would be a small Roe, not a large one. Would you say it stood about the height of a Roe deer (i.e ~65-75cm ) at the shoulder?

The hunting literature contains reports of large foxes,but I have never come across accounts of deer sized foxes and, assuming it was a fox, it would seem unprecedented. In fact I could conceive a Roe deer with a mutation that caused it to grow a tail more easily than I could imagine a fox the size of a large Roe deer! If you go walking that way again, make sure you take your camera(and possibly a suit of armour!)

Cheers,
Marc

01-05-2011
Wildsusy

I watched it for quite a while and watched it move, it was absolutely a fox, saw its brush and shape, but it was so large I honestly thought it was a deer before I saw its tail and movement..Honestly it was huge! It was both long and tall and substantial looking.

01-05-2011
Mbaldw

Interesting. I guess it couldn`t have been a large dog (long-haired Alsatian, for example)? A lady recently sent me a photo of one of her huskies after it had been rolling in bonfire ashes and it looked uncannily like an over-sized fox. If you see it again and manage to get a photo (decent or otherwise) , please post it here.

Cheers,
Marc

01-05-2011
Werdnal

Google “red husky” and you`ll see some examples. Not disputing what OP actually saw, but some of the huskies are definetely fox like

01-05-2011
Wildsusy

Nah, it wasn`t a husky, was definetely a fox, very distinctive tail and slender face…..[TO BE CONTINUED]

ANDREW MAY: Words from the Wild Frontier

News and stories from the remoter fringes of the CFZ blogosphere...
From Nick Redfern's "There's Something in the Woods...":
  • Bigfoot TV — Nick Redfern and Ken Gerhard on a Fox local news channel...
From CFZ Australia:From CFZ New Zealand:From CFZ Canada:

LIZ WANTS A YETI



You can now buy a crypto car! Jeremy Clarkson reckons it's the best in the world. I want one :)

D.R.SHOOP: The Gourd is Gone

Some lout has nicked our largest beautiful birdhouse gourd. That really steams me!

In five years of tending our little urban garden I’ve never had anything stolen…until now.



I’m sure it was one of the local “alley rats” and I’ll skin the dirty bugger if I find out exactly who it was.

Four months of hard work gone in a instant is disappointing considering it’s been a horrible garden year overall.

HAUNTED SKIES: SOURCE MATERIAL FOR THE 27th FEBRUARY 1968, CREDITON, UFO SIGHTING


http://hauntedskies.blogspot.com/2011/09/source-material-for-27th-february-1968.html

OLL LEWIS: Yesterday's News Today

http://cryptozoologynews.blogspot.com/

On this day in 1486 Prince Arthur Tudor was born. Henry VII called his son Arthur after he was able to trace his lineage back to the ancient kings of Britain and thought that calling his son after the once and future king would evoke a new sense of patriotism in Britain, which would be attached to the Tudor dynasty and usher in a new golden age. Arthur would never be king as he died at 15 years of age, leaving his younger brother, the future Henry VIII (he of 6 wives fame), the heir to the throne. Arthur is now regarded as an unlucky name for a king, along with Charles, so the current Prince of Wales, Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor, has made it perfectly clear that he wishes to be crowned as George VII.
And now, the news:

Italian sparrow joins family as a new species
Bycatch slows recovery of Grand Banks Cod
Endangered species: Mystery as New England cottont...
New Threat Closes in On Iconic Galápagos Wildlife
AN ILL WIND BLOWS IN RARE VISITORS
Extinction looms for last killer whale pod
Britain's largest spider to be reintroduced

Speaking of Arthur, earlier a new series of Merlin starts soon:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DtdgmYtndE

GLEN VAUDREY: Bring Me the Head of …

Back in 1808 in the aftermath of a winter’s storm something very large and very unusual washed up on the rocky shores of the Scottish island of Stronsay, one of the Orkney Islands.

It was a large, very dead, sea creature some 55 ft long and to this day it remains a mystery animal. To some folk, albeit not many these days, it was the remains of a sea serpent, while others believe it was nothing more than a basking shark. It should be noted it was far longer than any basking shark found so far, the largest one to be measured accurately was found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada in 1851 and measured an impressive 40 ft. Impressive? Yes. Stronsay Beast size? No!

There is plenty more to the story of this leviathan from the deep which you can read in my latest book, The Mystery Animals of the Northern Isles; you will also find that Orkney has a bit of a record for large mystery carcasses. During the Second World War another two other large rotting lumps washed up from the depths and on to the shores of Scapa Flow, these were the Deepdale and Hunda carcasses.

You might be surprised to learn that while nothing is known to remain of either of the later carcasses, there are still parts of the Stronsay Beast to be found in a couple of museums in Scotland. But this blog isn’t about these pieces, no, it’s about a couple of missing parts which vanished in London during the blitz.

As you might have already guessed from the heading one is the head, well actually it’s described as the brain case, but can you really imagine a film entitled Bring me the brain case of Alfredo Garcia? Well possibly the imaginative of you out there can.

The other missing part was described as a paw. These two pieces, brain case and paw, could well hold a vital clue to the nature of the Stronsay Beast. On the other hand, it has to be said, they might not hold any clue at all, but without having a look at them we will never know.

All I can find that is known about the brain case is that it was in the possession of Sir Everard Holme (or Holm) and the Royal Society at one time.

So I would like to ask all you good folks if you could have a look down the back of the sofa or anywhere else you might think a likely place in which to find a missing piece of this beast.

If you have any leads please contact me at glen@cfz.org.uk

ROBERT SCHNECK: Tudor Mystery Bird solved?

On the 4th September Robert Schneck posted a blog about a mystery bird from Tudor times...

First, I want to thank everyone for their suggestions; please tell me what you think of this possible identification.

I believe the bird represents a kingfisher or halcyon bird. That difficult to read word might be a form of "Alcedo" which is another name for "Halcyon" (perhaps the letters are A-L-c-y-i-d-a?). Then there's the blue "kingfisher with webbed feet, shown near the water" (http://bestiary.ca/beasts/beastgallery240.htm#) from the Bestiary of Ann Walsh, "a Latin bestiary of English origin, produced circa 1400-25".

Both the Ann Walsh and Tudor birds have comparable beaks and furrowed brows, compact bodies, and rounded tails with similarly delineated feathers. The hoofs that make the Tudor bird so strange are, I think, a misinterpretation of an earlier artist's drawing of webbed feet. It is not difficult to imagine an intermediate drawing where they are more hoof-like than the Ann Walsh drawing but less so than the Tudor.What do you think?

OLL LEWIS: Folklore of the Jungle: Sumatran Rhinos

Whilst there is still no news from Sumatra, Oll is hard at work looking at the forteana of that strange island...

Distinctive and often elusive animals in all parts of the world tend to attract myths and folklore as people attempt to explain away what they see as strange behaviour or unusual actions. Sumatran rhinos are no exception to this and have been a muse for folkloric tales throughout their historic range from Burma (or Myanmar as it prefers to be called these days), India and Bangladesh and the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

The most famous story about the rhinoceros in the West is probably the mock-folklore of ‘How The Rhinoceros Got His Skin’ from Kipling’s ‘Just So Stories’. In the story a rhinoceros is punished for taking a Parsee’s cake when the Parsee rubs cake crumbs into the inside of the rhinos skin, which the rhino has just taken off for a while. Of more concern to the rhino than the fact that it appears to be able to repeatedly flay itself alive without any ill effect is that the crumbs are really itchy and the subsequent scratching causes the rhino to have bobbly loose fitting skin and a bad temper for evermore. The Just So story is not about a Sumatran Rhinoceros however; the story takes place on an island in the Arabian Sea and Kipling’s illustrations depict a one horned rhinoceros, not one with two horns like the Sumatran rhinoceros.

Some folklore which mentions the Sumatran rhinoceros specifically comes from Burma. According to the native Burmese the Sumatran rhinos favourite food was fire. The rhinoceroses would favour this food over all others and, according to some stories, would eat nothing else. It simply loved the stuff and couldn’t get enough of its flamey goodness. It was said that Sumatran rhinos would follow the smell of smoke from camp fires for miles until it found the camp, where-upon it would attack in order to get its lips around the burning wood. These stories probably originated from observations of rhinos eating ashes from spent fires, which is something that some animals do in order to get nutrients they maybe missing from their diet or just because the burnt wood and ashes have an interesting texture and taste, with fats or other components of a meal having splashed over the fire when cooking. During the Russian expedition the CFZ team witnessed a cow apparently eating a fire in the middle of a town. The cow was by all accounts tucking in with some gusto and jealously guarding its still embering meal from other cows with enthusiasm. Some elephants have also been observed travelling many miles to get to caves where they can lick salt from the walls as well, so there may be a grain of salt, if you pardon the pun, in tales of Sumatran rhinoceroses following the smells of a fire for gastronomic purposes.

Another story about the Sumatran rhinoceros, which spread across Sumatra and Malaysia was that the animal would shed and burry its horns once every year. It is rather sad that this isn’t the case because, if it were, then the price of rhinoceros horn on the black market for use in Chinese medicine would tumble because of the abundant supply and there would be no need for poachers to murder these magnificent creatures just to grind up something which has no healing powers at all to be fed to a dimwit with more money than sense who thinks it will cure his cold.

One final story told in folklore concerns an unusual hunting practice allegedly employed by the Eastern Sumatran Rhinoceros in Borneo. Local folklore has it that the creature will purposely save up a large deposit of faecal matter to dump in the shallow parts of a stream or river. Once it has made its deposit the animal waits for a while for the sent of its poo to permeate through the water, attracting fish. When enough fish have gathered around the rhino is then said to go back to its excrement and feed on fish that have been ‘stupefied’ by the excrement. It is not recorded in the folklore whether all rhino poo has this effect on the fish or if the rhino has to eat a specific plant beforehand to get this affect. Neither is it known whether tales of rhinos employing this practice are purely the creation of folklore or if, like fire eating, it might well be something the rhinos actually do. The Eastern Sumatran rhino hasn’t been filmed doing this, or observed in modern times by a very reliable witness doing this but, as they were only even photographed with a camera trap for the first time in 2006 not a lot is known about the subspecies’ ecology.

HAMPSHIRE MOTHS: What a brilliant site...

Each morning I take my medicine and come downstairs to my study, where I pootle about on the internet and drink tea until I feel half human.
Each day I check the excellent UK Butterflies site for news, and todday I found this excellent site:

http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/

I particularly recommend the newsletter:

http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/newsletters.php

CFZ CANADA: Prairie Sea Monsters



Another excellent article from Robin. Check it out...