Bigfoot. Ogopogo. Chupacabra. Legends to some, beasts yet to be discovered for others. Societies around the world tell myths about the creatures that live just outside humanity’s knowledge. They are called Cryptids: creatures or plants whose existence has been suggested but is unrecognized by scientific consensus and often regarded as highly unlikely.
And I discovered one.
It was a bright, sunny day in June, and the bells had just struck four. I was walking back to the library from a late lunch, enjoying the flora and fauna of the semi-urban Rice University campus before returning to my Barbri video. Despite being located in the middle of a city, the university and the nearby Hermann Park, are home to some more unusual animals. There are the nutria in the Hermann Park pond. The occasional coyote sightings. And of course, the terrifying hives of graduate students.
Not to mention the adorable bunnies!
But yesterday I spied an animal beyond categorization.
I heard some rustling in the bushes, and went over to see if it was just another squirrel, or maybe a slightly more rare bunny. Among returning feelings of playing Pokemon and looking for a rare Jigglypuff among hoards of Pidgeys, I spied a tuft of brown fur rustling through the underbrush. I crept up slowly as to not scare away the creature, but unlike the rabbits, or even the most friendly squirrels that constantly approach people in search of snacks, this little beast did not run away. No. It hopped closer. Raised back in its haunches, it hopped out of the brush and towards the sidewalk where I was standing. This was no ordinary creature. With smooth swiftness, desperate to not scare away the beast, I grabbed my iPhone and fumbled with the touchpad until I was able to snap a picture. As I looked over the edge of the camera, the animal looked back, and at that point it struck me that this was not an ordinary animal.
It had ears somewhat like a rabbit, but shorter than most other ones on campus. It had a large snout, and giant rear haunches. And instead of front paws, what looked like hooves. This was no rabbit.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
What is this thing?! Heading back into the library, I scoured the only reliable source for information on odd and mythical animals: wikipedia’s list of cryptids. Perhaps one of these would fit.
Considering the location, maybe it was an Elmendorf Beast, which is indigenous to Texas. Weighing around 20 pounds, the beasts are responsible for attacking and killing livestock around Elmendorf, but a few hour drive away.
However, unlike the Elmendorf Beast, the animal I saw had fur. And there have not been any recent reports about attacks on Rice’s livestock.
Given the creature’s fur and large haunches, maybe it was a Phantom Kangaroo. While technically not a cryptid, because kangaroos are real, there is a special category for kangaroos and wallabies showing up in areas where one would not expect them. This very well may have been a Phantom Wallaby.
What was a wallaby doing in Houston, Texas? Who knows! These are the mysteries of the world. Cyptids live among us.
However, the hooves in the picture certainly do not seem to match the normal little paws of a wallaby. Maybe it was a Jackalope, but with hooves instead of horns. If so, then I would like to declare this a new sort of cyptid: Evan’s Hare.
Evan’s Hare is like a Jackalope, but instead of expressing its antelope characteristics via horns, it does so via hooves.
So, given the conclusive evidence that this animal was some sort of cyptid, possibly a Elmendorf Beast, possibly a Phantom Wallaby, possibly an Evan’s Hare subsection of the Jackalope species, I submit this discovery to the io9 Cryptid Summer contest.
If I win, then I will donate the money to the cause of hunting and capturing this Evan’s Hare. Or pay down student loans, whatever.