Posted by: Craig Woolheater on September 21st, 2006
Although the moniker of the Yardley Yeti seems to be an unfortunate choice of words, I can’t decide if this is better or worse than the usually affixed choice: Chupacabra.
After Tuesday’s column regarding persistent reports of a strange creature wandering through the Yardley/Lower Makefield area, I have been overwhelmed with reports from people throughout Lower Bucks County who claim to have seen the thing.
Not since I wrote about a guy who insisted Bigfoot was tromping through Levittown’s greenbelts have I received such reader reaction.
In each case, readers describe a strange doggy/foxy/wolfy/hyena-y thing, which is nothing like they’ve ever seen. Some feel spooked.
Two readers provided photographs they had taken, which they suggest is the Yardley Yeti.
I had our photo chief enlarge one, and it appears to be two animals spliced together — fox up front, hairless dog behind.
Greg Smart of Middletown showed me a brief digital video of a creature he spotted in his yard last Saturday. To me it looks like a red fox, although an unusually large one.
I passed along one of the still photos to Jerry Feaser, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and asked his opinion.
“That’s a red fox with a severe case of mange,” he said.
The Game Commission regularly receives reports of strange creatures like the Yardley Yeti. (And, at least once a year, a Bigfoot sighting, too.) It’s not unusual to mistaken wildlife for something odd.
“A lot of people are unaware that coyotes are found in all 67 of our counties, including Philadelphia. So for a fox to show up in Bucks County, even Lower Bucks County, is not a stretch.
“Most of these animals avoid human contact, but they also thrive on new sources of food that are inadvertently provided by humans,” he said.
Foxes and coyotes, for instance, will snatch pets, like cats. They will also prey on moles, mice and rabbits, he said.
“When people are not accustomed to seeing these types of animals [and] suddenly see one, it is a shock to the system. But it’s wildlife. Some species are very adaptable. We don’t say ‘clever as a fox’ for no reason. They are clever. Very clever.”