When I got the email from Jeannette W. alerting me this news piece I thought, “Oh yeah. We’re now in tabloid land.” Boy was I wrong! The article is on the National Geographic website.
There’s a strange, seemingly hairless creature hunting in the area around the Tyco Corporation’s woodsy headquarters outside Raleigh, North Carolina. It is so unusual that every time its spotted, the Tyco employees flock to windows to see it. Speculation on what the long-necked animal ranges from a dog with mange to a mythical Mexican chupacabra.
So what do the experts think?
Perry Sumner, a biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said it’s likely a red fox with a rare genetic condition known as Sampson, an abnormality in which the animal lacks a layer of fur called guard hair.
Without this thick outer coat for protection, the normally nocturnal fox would be forced to hunt during the day when it’s warm and sleep under heated buildings at night.
In recent years, Sumner said, other Sampson foxes have been spotted in urban areas around the state.
So is anyone going to try to catch the “Tyco fox?” Sumner and others say no. He’s causing no harm and they figure it would be much more stressful on the fox to catch it just to ascertain what he really is. The biologists said they have no plans to capture the animal, since the Sampson abnormality can’t be treated, and the creature isn’t posing a threat to people or wildlife.
“Frankly, the animal would be put through a lot more stress and suffering just to be caught and handled,” Gunn said.
If you want to see a larger copy of this picture, visit the article on the National Geographic site.