A odd animal sparked discussion on Twitter, but Ron Magill of the Miami Zoo clarified the situation.
The Twitter post by @Blizzjuuheardd was strange and terrifying, depicting a monster with sad eyes and a gray body that appeared both mournful and frightening. “Boy what the #@* percent is this $#!+,” the poster captioned the photograph. “I’m leaving Tampa, dude.”
The bizarre image received 40,000 likes in less than 24 hours, proving its weirdness. Users began to speculate on what the creature could be. Candidates included a dingo, a wild dog native to Australia that is mistakenly considered to devour newborns despite eating practically everything else. Another was the Mexican hairless dog, an old breed with exceptional intellect, sensitivity, great energy, inquisitiveness, and strong hunting and social instincts. Viewers who are familiar with those two species did not find a match.
Then, as a result of our communal obsession with the Academy Awards and The Slap, the alopecia jokes began. Someone mistook it for a bear infected with the illness. Someone person felt it looked like a Disney movie animation.
To get to the bottom of the mystery, a Miami New Times reporter called the Miami Zoo. The fact, as is so frequently the case, turned out to be far more mundane, according to spokesperson Ron Magill. “That’s a coyote with terrible mange,” Magill explained.
Mange, of course, is a skin ailment that is common in dogs that is caused by mites and results in irritation and hair loss. “Unless it has rabies,” Magill observed, “it’s not going to harm you.” When you see one, the secret is not to turn and run, but to make yourself appear as enormous as possible, and it will flee.”