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Local Creature Learns to Shave, Still Has Trouble With Latch on Your Green Bin


Photos by Jeffrey Freeman.

Ordinarily we take a dim view of sensationalism and fear-mongering here at Torontoist, but we hope, in this case, you’ll forgive us for asking: WHAT THE HELL is that naked beast and how can I protect my [-self, child, community] from it? We haven’t felt so scared of (and strangely drawn to) a piece of wildlife photography since last year, when the Montauk Monster washed up on that Long Island shore, and into our hearts.
The creature you see doesn’t exist at quite such a comfortable remove. It’s a Torontonian, photographed in a Parkdale backyard by Jeffrey Freeman, and sent to and posted by OMGBlog shortly afterward. We call it “Furry.”
Jeffrey writes:

My boyfriend Mathew first spotted “her” several weeks back, noting how strange and unusual its appearance was. I told him based on his initial description it must be an opossum. Mat was steadfast in his belief that this was no an opossum but a freakish alopecia marsupial or something. The beast has since come to the back yard at night on numerous occasions… She was very cooperative for the photo spread and even came up closer to my deck for us to get a good look. The creature has been back again several times and is fast becoming a fixture.

Is this an escapee from George Romero’s private menagerie? A physical manifestation of our own darkest nightmares? A kitty?
Actually, a little YouTube research by our staff indicates that this nude terror could possibly be a raccoon. A bald raccoon. Jeffrey’s opposum hypothesis could also be correct. We’re told the latter are increasingly common in Toronto, though their customary habitat is further south. Opossums are not adapted to cope with Toronto winters, meaning that if this happens to be one, the hair loss and blackened extremities could be symptoms of frostbite—in which case we would actually feel kind of bad for teasing the poor thing.
Regardless: AHHHHHHHHHH!


  • http://undefined montauk

    My vote’s definitely for hairless raccoon. See this PDF, page seven. Probably some congenital defect.

  • http://undefined GaylaT

    I’m also putting in a vote for hairless raccoon. I live I parkdale and we see a lot of possums. That does not look anything like any possum I have ever seen but I can definitely see it as a raccoon without hair.

  • http://undefined bigdaddyhame

    Definitely a raccoon. I was actually hoping some vigilante was out there shaving raccoons as a means toward getting a little back at the masked robbers…
    This is cool, but I think the albino squirrels in Trinity Bellwoods trump it for all-round hipster appeal.
    Anyone know who it is who half-shaves the odd black squirrel I see every now and then? I’ll see one scampering around, shaved from the head to about the midriff. Alien abduction? Gang affiliation/hazing? Who can say.

  • Paul Kishimoto

    We should each probably be glad we don’t know/have never met the sort of person who captures, (partially or fully) shaves and releases rodents.

  • http://undefined 24601

    I believe those squirrels have mange. Outbreaks make their way through the city from time to time.

  • http://undefined Chester Pape

    Oh Geez, nobody’s shaving rodents, the partially hairless squirrels one sees sometimes are suffering from mange or something like it, hair loss symptomatic of a infestation of mites, can’t be fun for the poor critter.
    Ah, the the Trinity Bellwoods white squirrels are not albinos white is one of the naturally occuring colour phases of the Eastern Gray Squirrel, it’s just fairly rare in most places (as is Black, we are one of few places where the black phase is more common than gray).
    and since nobody else is saying it, I will, hairless racoon my ass, that’s a chupacabra man, keep your goats inside.

  • http://undefined rek

    I prefer to believe it’s a hideous and unnatural monster, and we should foster myths and legends about it to stir up tourism.

  • http://undefined LMT

    I have been waiting much to long for a local cryptozoological mystery.

  • David Fleischer

    I don’t care if it’s an easy (or dated) joke:
    I asked my friend Larry Gowan what he thought it might be and he said, “It’s a strange animal, that’s what I know.”
    Then he whispered “Ominous spiritus!” and some other Latin stuff and I didn’t know what he was on about so I walked away.

  • http://undefined Chester Pape

    Chupacabra! Chupacabra! Chupacabra!

  • http://undefined Chester Pape

    Now speaking of oddball squirrels what’s up with the ones in Allen Gardens that seem to be mottled black and brown? Brown/Red is NOT a normal colour possibility for Eastern Grays.

  • http://undefined unicorn

    My girlfriend and I definitely saw that on Monday night, at Lansdowne and Seaforth. We thought it was either a huge rat, or a CHUD.

  • http://undefined escape

    Squirrels also apparently pick off their own fur to line their nests.

  • duncan.bikingtoronto

    Yes, and the way it is sneaking around late at night, I wouldn’t doubt if it has a “Criminal Mind”

  • http://undefined Lu Galasso

    I put my vote in for hairless Raccoon. There’s definitively a resemblance there. I would be terrified if I saw that thing near me though!
    Lu Galasso

  • mccool

    I’m with you, man. Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dweller, for sure.

  • http://undefined srp

    Gotta be a hairless raccoon. Definitely not an opossum. An opossum frequents our backyard (just across the tracks from Parkdale) and it looks nothing like this creature.

  • http://undefined cleanair

    Looks like her breasts are full of milk, so maybe there are more of them to come.

  • SharonHarris

    No idea how to classify the creature, but this is one of the best posts ever!

  • http://undefined Cathoo

    Totally an R.O.U.S. without a Fire Swamp.
    But it does match that video.

  • http://undefined accozzaglia

    Fair enough. But it’s only coming out at night, so I really wonder whether its own Moonlight Desires haunt it.
    It “overrides my senses”, regardless.

  • Patrick Metzger

    What concerns me about the photos is insufficient context to determine how big it is. Sure, if it’s a foot long it’s probably a hairless racoon, but what if it’s the size of a hippo or a diplodocus and the white things in the pics are actually medium-sized mulberry bushes ?
    Anyway, that’t the assumption I’m operating under and I will not sleep at night until someone gets ahold of Jeffrey for clarification.

  • http://undefined brokenengine

    It’s a meerkat.

  • http://undefined Daniel Contogiannis

    This is a cute little animal that has to deal with some pretty cold winters without her fur. I’m sure this is a Raccoon that has no hair due to either a birth defect or a disease. There is another blog about another hairless Raccoon, just google “Goodhue’s Friendly Hairless Cryptid”.

  • http://undefined Cobalt

    Very funny, but I think the visable dead leaves on the ground in the last pic (and those white things) are sufficient enough to gage the scale of the creature.
    My money is on it being a hairless racoon.

  • http://undefined juepucta

    C H U P A C A B R A !

  • http://undefined joeclark

    Daniel, the Interwebs were recently upgraded to include a new feature, “links.”