Friday, July 10, 2009

The Mutant Monkey

Update: Friday, July 10, 11:45 p.m.

Paint Girl and I have been reading your comments with extreme interest all day! Thank you for your suggestions and links, we have followed them all! And Juliette, I was cracking up at your husband saying that maybe the screeching ravens were the mutant monkey!!

We are still stumped, although you all had some good leads and ideas. When I re-read my description of the tail, I said it was "hairless" but I don't actually think it was bald, it was dark colored but probably had short hair on it. But it was not bushy, we both agreed on that. That is what really stumps us the most. Most coyote and foxes have bushy coats and tails (except a weird genetic issue with "Sampson" foxes where they can lose their hair due to mange, which apparently can happen to coyote, as well.) Big wildcat tails are typically a lot longer and more rounded/thicker, this one was more medium in length, and thin. And bobcats have hardly any tail.

A fisher seems interesting, especially since we were within half a mile or so from a lake/swampy area. A fisher might be shorter than what we saw though, and once again, appears to have more fur. The same goes for a wolverine, which seemed more bear-like and also, long fur. Our animal did not appear bear-like.

There was a sign for a lost black lab posted in the trail parking area, and several of the phone number tags had been removed, so perhaps there had been sightings? If it had been lost for a long while, I suppose it could have been thin enough to resemble what we saw. But a lost domesticated dog would not flee from us into and over the underbrush that quietly and quickly, like a wild animal. In fact, it probably would have ran off down one of the two trails that "Y'd" in front of us.

The vision of what I saw slowly becomes less clear in my mind every time I replay it. I'm wearing out my memory tape, I'm afraid. We rode the same trails today and saw nothing but a deer. We looked for tracks in the general area we saw the unidentified animal, but horses had pretty much walked over that path enough to cover any tracks.

I am thinking of contacting the local wildlife/game department and at least reporting what we saw. Maybe animal wildlife researchers would at least be interested. If enough people reported a particular animal, it could help them to better gauge a resurgence in a nearly extinct or endangered animal species.

We'll probably never know, and I imagine in a few days, the quest to figure it out will begin to diminish. Regardless, I don't think we'll ever forget that dark thing running in front of us, and how eerie it is to have no clue what it was.

Life is so strange sometimes. Case in point: after I posted about my anxiety regarding the variety of wild animals potentially habitating the woods we trail ride in, we go on a trail ride the next day and see a wild animal. We didn't see a bear, or a cougar, or a coyote, or a bobcat.

We saw a mutant monkey.

At least, that is what Paint Girl said it was.

We were ambling down the forested trail near the end of our ride, among the ferns and sandy and tree root-covered paths. We were approaching the open pipeline road that takes us back to the trail head parking lot. We were nearly out of the woods. Paint Girl was in the front, then it happened so fast.

Something came out of the woods to our right. It appeared to bound onto the trail, then continue running. It crossed in front of us then continued into the ferns and heavy brush off trail to our left, barely making a sound as it went. It was very light, and quiet on it's feet.

So what was it? Here is the description that we both pretty much agree upon:

Dark in color (dark gray/black, no obvious markings.)
Lithe, narrow, thin
Flat coat
Ears: don't recall, nothing prominent
Shorter in stature, possibly just above our knee height at it's back.
Head shape: I can't recall, roundish in shape? Paint Girl said she didn't think it had a long muzzle, there was no noticeable snout, more like a cat's face.
Medium/long, thin, hairless tail, streaming out behind it.
Movement: ran on all fours like a dog, but seemed faster (Paint Girl compared it to the greyhound breed.) Nearly silent. We have heard dogs in the woods before as they accompany riders on the trails, and they are noisy and crash through the bushes.

Okay. I'm not sure it was a mutant monkey. After we saw it, Paint Girl turned to me and said something to the effect of "What in the world was that?" I think I said, "It was probably a coyote." That was my first guess. We talked about it for a few minutes, and turned to continue on the trail. Approaching us was a couple out for a walk. I said to Paint Girl, "Maybe it was their dog?" We asked them and they said no, they didn't have a dog with them. We told them we just spotted a wild animal that we couldn't really identify.

If I'm going to see a wild animal in the woods, I would like to see something that is identifiable. Not something that is a mutant, a ghostly spirit, or a Native American mythical creature. Or, was it a coyote that was having a bad hair day (in other words, mangy or had lost all of it's hair?) A wild dog? A fox? An illegal wild zoo animal someone released into the woods? A young cougar or mountain lion (but why the dark color, and the tail didn't seem right.) Honestly, we are stumped. We can replay the image of what we saw over and over, but without a photo, it's hard to really know what we saw or what our mind is reconstructing after the fact.

So, my new question of the day: has anyone ever seen anything on the trail.....but had no idea what it was? Or any guesses to what we saw? (Maybe we should do a sketch to help you out!)

It was a bit of strange ride overall, the sun was out but the bugs were pretty bad, Paint Girl's mare was being a stinker at times, and in a different area before the wild animal encounter, we heard crazy ravens. Here is a little video. (I got Paint Girl picking her nose, too. JUST KIDDING!)

Have you ever heard ravens when they are making a ruckus? It is kind of a scary sound. We were riding along the power line road and heard and saw these three in the woods to our right. We weren't about to ride in there to see what they were fussing about. But they sounded a bit like pterodactyls. I mean really, between the screechy ravens and strange woodland critter sighting- where were we riding yesterday- Jurassic Park?


  1. I barely made it through this post, I was laughing so hard and crying all at the same time!
    I really have no idea what the heck it was that we saw, and I believe when I turned to you, I said "what the f**k was that?" I mean really, what the? It looked like someone set a monkey loose on the trails, but I don't think they can move that fast, or maybe they can? The tail wasn't curly, are monkey tails curly? We both know it wasn't a dog. It sorta looked like a younger black panther, we don't have black panthers! It was way too dark to be a cougar, fox, bobcat. I want to see it again!
    I think the couple that were walking down that trail, were thinking we were not quite right in the brain, especially once we mentioned we just saw a mutant monkey! Would you? They probably couldn't wait for us to get the heck out of there! I was laughing so hard!
    It was a very strange ride. I sure hope tomorrows ride is "better"?

  2. {Paint Girl}~ Did you actually tell that couple it was a mutant monkey, LOL? I don't remember that. Ah well, we'll never know what it was. Unless we see it again.... ;)

  3. Well finally saw the monster that your horses always see! Now you know why they are so scared...they don't know what it is either!!! LOL you 2 are so funny!

  4. Yes, dear sis, I told them it was a mutant monkey. Maybe that is why they didn't say a word to us when they hightailed it out of the trail head! They didn't want to converse with the wacky girls on those horses! They just wanted to get to the safety of their house! I don't blame them one bit!
    I am still laughing and crying! How in the heck am I supposed to go to bed now?

  5. Some sort of weasel or ferret maybe? The fact that you can't identify it makes it even scarier, doesn't it?

  6. You two are so funny! I laughed so hard reading this post, Pony Girl! You guys are too young probably, but in the 1970's there used to be TV shows on about people who saw Bigfoot. They would have this supposed video of bigfoot busting into the living rooms of unsuspecting families. Your description of the "monkey" is just like that. I was telling my husband about the post as I was reading it. Then I played your video of the ravens and he said, "Is that the mutant monkey yelling?!" We were laughing so hard! It is weird though that you can't figure out what it was. It could be that someone owned a pet monkey and it got loose and is living in the wild. You will have to go back and try to film it for a documentary! Oh, this made me laugh - thank you!!!!

  7. Mutant monkey huh?!?! LOL!!! What about a raccoon??

  8. I'm guessing weasel/mink/fisher sort of thing - they sort of bound, in a lithe way, when them move. Could have been a muskrat if you were close to water. But who knows? Very funny post!

  9. Yeah that video sounded a little spooky too. Sounds like you have ahad a couple of interesting trail rides the past couple of days =)

  10. That is too funny! I'm glad the creature didn't get you. I think you were in Jurassic Park.....spared no expense! hahahaha

  11. Maybe the Ravens saw the Mutant Monkey and it freaked them out, too!! Perhaps what you saw was the mythical Chupacabra, or a baby Bigfoot!!! Since you didn't get a photo, could you draw it???

  12. Could it have been a fisher?

    They are shy so I think they're a rare sight. I've only seen 1 once. I had pet ferrets years ago and they move bouncy and lithely.

  13. Weird random animals.
    Look up the wild animals in your area.
    I'll tell ya a story.
    I was riding Indigo and we were coming up to the first bush down the lane. It's not a very big bush, only an acre but often rabbits and deer hide in it. So we are plodding along and all of a sudden I hear this horrible crashing, crunching stuff falling over racket coming from the opposite corner of the bush. I froze thinking "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!!??" Indigo snorted and leaned back a little getting ready to run. It was getting louder and louder. It sounded like a friggn elephant coming through the bush. Remind you we only have fox, deer, coyote, the neighbors dog, one timber wolf and some cats to be the culprit. There was one I forgot. As the noise maker made it's way to the edge of the bush it revealed itself to be...

    One stinking wild turkey.

    It ran out of the bush and across the laneway. Indigo bugged her eyes and jumped about 10 feet and wanted to run back home. I laughed so hard. Those stupid things are so noisy. We didn't have more than one or two around here until three years ago.

  14. I'm gonna go with baby Bigfoot. Just to stick with our "Washington Folklore". ;) Don't you hate when you see something and you don't know what the heck it is? And you know it will probably always be a mystery...what are the chances of running into it again? You keep playing it over & over in your head, but if only you could have freeze framed a the time! Crazy!

  15. My first thought was a chupacabra. (try Google). But your creature sounds too thin. How tall was it? It could be an exotic monkey someone wasn't supposed to have so they turned it loose.

  16. LOL you guys are so funny!

    about 7-8 years ago we were up hunting and driving around and a small black animal with a small head and a long tail ran across the road in front of us. We big hunters that we are LOL, had no idea what it was.
    It wasnt untill last year that I finally figured out what it was, I believe it was a Wolverene. I looked them up on the internet after someone made an interesting comment about our experience and I will swear now that it was a Wolverine, look them up see what you think??

  17. Could it be this monkey?

  18. Hard to say what it was . This morning I went out to do chores and found 4 peahends and a huge Peacock in my barnyard!!! that will get the dogs barking I tell you !

  19. Is this it? Opossum!!!

    They can get BIG and move very fast!! My cats fight them...we have a few on the property. They totally GROSS ME OUT!!! I dont know why...YICK!!!

  20. You've been getting lots of trail riding in!!! Go cowgirl!

    It's so hard to identify animals when they move that quickly. It'll be interesting to see if you figure it out.

    A month or so back, I was driving a gravel road out Diamond way...not much different than where I live, they just have lots of flood water and they have beautiful grass meadows. Anyhow, I saw an antelope in the pasture along the side of the road with what I first thought was a jackrabbit next to it...and they were playing. After stopping and backing up, it wasn't a jackrabbit but a newborn antelope fawn...still wet! So, those quick glimpses sure can be deceiving.

  21. Oh and about the birds....

    I was riding alone once on this trail that ran alongside the river and looked up to see a bald eagle looking down at me from a branch....and then I noticed the one above him, and the one beside him...and the one below him!! They were everywhere I looked! These were juveniles so they didnt have the bald head yet and so they were kind of hidden in the trees... I counted fifty before I was to creeped out to count any more...and every single one had their eyes on me. Rocky and I hauled ass out of there!!! I've had more than a few really scary moment like that out on the trail...the forest can get pretty creepy sometimes....especially when you are alone!

    Oh and about the opossum, there are a ton where I live and so I see a lot of opossum roadkill! Yuck!

  22. been on a bit of a bloggy break! glad to be back!

  23. hee hee! Wow! It sounds like a very exciting ride! A mutant monkey, that is so funny! Maybe it was a baby bigfoot??!!!!!!

  24. Okay, I just googled "mutant monkey" images. OMG, give me a mountain lion any day! If I encountered THAT, I am pretty sure I would find out fast what kind of wheels my mare has because I wouldn't be sticking around to check it out!

  25. I'm going with the Baby Bigfoot. Your woods are creepy with the moss and ferns and green growth everywhere! Big unknown things can lurk in those woods!! LOL, I'm used to high desert forests- very little undergrowth.

  26. Sounds like a "Little Foot." :) Too weird! With the things people keep as pets these days, and the possibility of escape, it could be anything. Maybe even somebody's pet kangaroo!

  27. That sounds freaky, I looked up about the chupacabra and hope that wasn't it lol.

  28. You two have the most fun on trail rides! Who needs mountain bikers and alpacas on the trail to liven things up? Very funny post. When is your next trail ride? I'm expecting the creatures to get bigger and hairier. This is fun.

  29. weird is that! Sure wish I knew what it was, and wish even more you had a picture! I'm with the vote on a baby bigfoot!;-0

  30. A Fisher has a thick tail and a hunched up rump. I still think you saw a monkey that someone turned loose. It's probably a good idea to call the fish & game dept.

  31. That raven video made my little dogs bark like crazy!! 'Jurassic park' indeed.

  32. Not a fisher as they're small...think weasel.

    Wolverines, badgers and the like are not in this area.

    Now, I have seen something in the woods while out one evening, and I tend not to talk about it much as it was...well...Sasquatch. But he's bigger than what you saw, so maybe you spotted a baby squatch?

    I'll bet it was a skinny dog that bounded across.

    Wanna come ride near Canada with Not Latigo and I next month? Never know what we'll see this far north!

  33. I live in Bigfoot country, don't like to visit haunted houses in our local ghost town and those ravens along with what you saw would have made me test my quarterhorse's speed on the quarter mile back home! Not that I'm a chicken or anything like that..(boock.. bock!) but I'm thinking your mutant monkey is really a CHUPACABRA and they suck the blood from us..I mean..from chickens.

  34. You have a bigfoot/opossum/monkey/panther there? Not so weird... I have one at my place too!! OK. Not a real BIG panther physically... but a PANTHER nonetheless!

    Go have a chardonnay for me. All will be revealed!! (Or forgotten).

  35. Hey PG, good to hear from you....seems like I've been MIA for so long! To answer your question....we will NEVER have the fake tail extension so many pay $$$$ for! We went a natural....the way it should be! This was probably a once in a blue moon to show western pleasure just for the experience.....sorry to all you WP fans just not for us! Can you say snaooooty! We paid for a $20 stall but couldn't even use it because someone had blocked the aisle to it to braid it's fake tail (a person who did not pay for a stall) but had their horses tied to their 50K rig....that is until it rained a downpour and then all the hoity toity came running into the barn! I told her I had a horse coming in to let her know we needed the space (in a very nice way) and she just barked out "give me about a 10 min. notice) first! I just asked myself....are these people for real?

    This was such a fun post I missed! Hey PG where was Pony Girl Pictures? Did you not have your camera ready to snap this creature? Those ravens...creeeepy!

  36. What a mystery! It would be sad if it is actually that missing black lab. If it did lose that much weight, it could be that he's gone feral in some respects--trying to survive.

    I hope you do report it!!!

  37. I'd say opossum if it had a hairless tail!

  38. I have no idea what kind of scary,weird critters you have out there. Did the horses spook at all when they saw or smelled it?

    I like the way My Boy stayed still while you were filming the trees. BTW, your ravens are much louder than our crows.

  39. Pony could have been a monkey...really! Are there any labs nearby?

    Read my post from my other blog:

    Here is some of it:
    "In early 1973, scientists with Kirtland AFB conducted a series of experiments on a group of monkeys. They were strapped to chairs for five days at a time, testing their abilities to escape from painful shocks while subjected to increasingly higher levels of radiation.

    In August 1973, all five of the the juvenile monkeys had had enough of the torture and made a break for it and escaped to the mountains east of Albuquerque. Once free in the Manzanos, the monkeys soon found the cave whose nickname would be their legacy. They swung happily from trees , scampered over the cliffs, and dined on juniper berries and prickly pears. They spent the chilly nights huddled together in the 25 ft deep cave, that was dug as a test pit, decades ago, by UNM Geology students.

    Some of the local residents recall being surprised at seeing the monkeys, with shaved heads, running across South 14. Many other locals remember leaving bananas and other food for the monkeys.

    In January 1974, UNM anthropology students began observing the monkeys as a 'mountain primate colony'. In February, Kirtland AFB gave the monkeys over to the university. Numerous attempts to capture the animals soon followed, since their road crossings threatened the safety of motorists, and since the growing monkeys had been wearing tight, chain collars when they escaped.

    It was not until May of 1974 that the monkeys were finally rounded up using tranquilizers hidden in food. After being treated for frostbite, the monkeys were allegedly released into another, more isolated part of New Mexico."

    ~Taken from 'Turquoise Tales' by Mike Smith
    Published in the Fall/Winter edition of East Mountain Living

    See! Maybe you're not confused about what you saw!


  40. I'm a little horrified you didn't take a picture for all of us! ;) It sure would make identifying the little booger a whole lot easier.

    Be careful--it's a jungle out there!


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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