Buttonwood Park Zoo Weighs in on Mattapoisett Mystery Animal
We appreciate everyone who tried to help us identify the mysterious animal that was spotted in the Brandt Island section of Mattapoisett on Monday. We enjoyed watching the spirited online debate. But we're still no closer to an answer.
Many swore that the mystery animal was a fisher cat. Others confidently identified the animal as a groundhog or a woodchuck. We had people weighing in thinking the animal was a mongoose, a wolf, even a red panda or another exotic animal that may have been kept illegally. We even had some input from paranormal fans who thought the mystery animal might be a chupacabra, or perhaps a Pukwudgie that may have wandered down to Mattapoisett from Freetown.
Mattapoisett's Animal Control Officer called me yesterday to talk about the mystery animal. She swore that the animal is not a fisher cat, a woodchuck or a groundhog, but she can't begin to imagine what the animal could be. She said she is stumped.
Enter the Buttonwood Park Zoo. Staff there stumbled across our video and pictures on Fun107.com yesterday and entered the debate. Curiously enough, Zoo Director Keith Lovett disagreed with Assistant Director Shara Raposa.
Lovett believes that the mystery animal in Mattapoisett is a woodchuck or a groundhog, while Raposa was pretty certain that the animal was a racoon.
"Although it doesn't have from the pictures that tell-tale ringed tail, there is something called a melanistic phase for raccoons that come in cinnamon, dark brown, or even a black color that extends to the tail, so that's where I'm leaning," she said. "The back legs, the walk when it bounded into the woods. It looks like a juvenile raccoon to me."
She didn't mention if she thought the raccoon may have been rabid or not.