A strange creature has wandered into view and it sure looks unusual. Is it a monster or cryptid, or something Photoshopped by a hoaxer? The truth might be closer to home than you think. CrpyptoVille investigates!
When I first saw this photo I thought the back end looked like a baby elephant, and the front – who knows. I was sure it was another hoax perpetrated through the use of Photoshop. What I subsequently discovered astonished me and I wanted to share this story with other cryptozoology lovers. (Photos in this article courtesy of Alliance/DPA/Photoshot unless otherwise noted on the picture itself.)
Turns out this is a bear that is nearly hairless! Her name is Dolores and the poor thing lives in a zoo in Leipzig, Germany. More astonishing, all the female bears of this species (Spectacled Bears Tremarctos ornatus) in that zoo have lost their fur except for some tufts around their head and neck. Here’s a photo (left) of what they look like when they have their fur. Cute, right? Have another look at her claws though – they’re dangerous like any other species of bear.
What’s causing the loss of fur? Scientists are stumped. The good news is that the condition isn’t life threatening and they aren’t sick in any other way.
The bears originally came from South America, their natural home where they are the only bear known to live in that region. Ecuadorian custodians of these bears saw the same problem a decade ago and were at a loss to explain it.
Then they decided to change the diet they were feeding the animals. Spectacled bears normally eat fruits and bamboo and only a little meat but their custodians had added some fun treats to their diet, human food and sugary drinks like Coke. When they removed the human food from the bears’ diet, their fur grew back completely within four months.
These bears are quite interesting. Here are some fun facts:
- Last known short-faced bear in existence.
- Related to the now extinct Florida spectacled bear and Giant Short-faced bears of the Pleistocene eras.
- The spectacled patterns around their eyes are unique to each individual bear, kind of like a zebra’s stripes.
- Males can weigh 220-440 lbs. (100-200 kg) and females, 77-181 lbs. (35-82 kg).
- Shoulder height is 24-30 inches (60-90 cm)
- They live in the Andes mountains in the countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia (in the western region), and Argentina (in the northwest region).
You never know what you’re going to see in the animal kingdom, do you? I’m not that familiar with bears to have looked at that photo and said, oh, that’s a hairless bear. Maybe a hunter would be able to, but for most of us city and suburb dwellers, it’s a bit harder.
As always this gets me wondering what’s happening in the cryptid world from time to time. Do they suffer these same problems and anomalies that the rest of the animal world suffers? I have to think they do and we should probably keep that in mind when we’re seeing things we just cannot explain.
We live in a fascinating world, don’t we?
Were you fooled by the photos or did you know what it was just by looking at it?