great mysteries

East River Monster Is Either a Raccoon or Dog or Rodent (or Monster)

Photo: Denise Ginley

When the New York City Parks Department tried to tell us that this fat little blob of horror was a pig, we said hell no because we have eyes and our paranoia will not be placated. Instead, we came up with conspiracy theories about chemicals in the East River, offshore animal testing, and the Jurassic Park–style breeding of many more Montauk Monsters. Then, just in case, we asked the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where a wildlife expert told Daily Intel through a spokesperson that “the carcass in the picture you provided appears to be a raccoon.” Hmmm. Maybe?

But the experts do not agree.

Obviously, all of the hair is gone and the carcass is greatly bloated due to decay, so all of the typical body-form clues are absent,” said our source. “But the overall body appearance, coupled with the hands/feet, look like a raccoon.” The original Montauk Monster also got called a raccoon, but who knows how deep this thing goes) The wildlife people aren’t making any promises anyway: “We cannot say for certain though without examining the carcass in person.” It’s too bad the Parks Department “just threw it out.”

Gothamist, though, got different information from Cornell University naturalist professor Paul Curtis. “The best guess looking at body conformation and dentition, is this was likely a small dog that drowned and has been floating in the river for quite a while,” he said. “It is obviously bloated, and all the hair has slipped off the carcass.” But this doesn’t look like a dog paw to us either:

Photo: Denise Ginley

Gawker asked Jeremy Wade, the host of Animal Planet’s River Monsters. “From the picture it’s hard to get a sense of scale — some kind of rodent would be my guess, and it’s common for dead bodies to swell in water, which can give them a grotesque appearance, not to mention crabs etc partially eating soft parts of the face,” he guessed. But scarier options abound: “Not to be ruled out, but unlikely in this case, is the assembly of hybrid animals by taxidermists, from bits of several unrelated creatures,” Wade added.

The world may never know, and that’s probably for the best.

East River Monster Either a Raccoon or Dog?