This Week’s Creature Feature ... Can You Identify the Mystery Critter?
Neither nutria nor porcupine, it’s a stumper
Bill and Martha Sykora have a regular visitor to their yard on Broad Creek in Annapolis, but who it is they don’t know. New to the neighborhood — they moved in May — they aren’t familiar with local wildlife. Martha had never seen anything like this visitor, so she grabbed her camera.
“The fuzzy photos taken thru my second-story window are of the critter in question,” she tells Bay Weekly. “It is the size of a very short-legged cat. It was eating leaves at the edge of the open area.”
At first the Sykoras thought it was an invasive nutria, but rather than the nutria’s signature long rat tail, their critter’s tail is short and furry.
Studying the photograph further, Martha thought the animal looked a lot like a porcupine, especially because of the coarse appearance of the fur across its back. But after some research, she took porcupine off the list. They’ve all but disappeared from Maryland, only rarely turning up in the far western reaches of the state.
It’s a frequent visitor, usually nibbling on native flora or fauna.
“I’ve seen it in the morning and in the afternoon,” Martha says.
Still, the Sykoras aren’t able to identify their visitor. So they’ve asked for help. If you think you can identify the mystery creature, tell us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.