It was NOT a squirrel.

Hailey and I saw a weird-looking creature when I was dropping her off at camp today. On my way out I talked to the guy at the guard station…

me: I just saw a really weird-looking animal near the tree-line. It was like a big nutria but with a giant, bushy tail.

Him: You probably saw a squirrel.

me: I know what squirrels look like.  This was like eight squirrels put together. And it had a fox tail.

Him: Oh.  You mean a fox-squirrel?

me: Are you just fucking with me right now?

Him: Well, what do you think you saw?

me: It was like a woodchuck, maybe?  But with bushy tail.

Him: A whistle-pig?

me: Are you making fun of me?

Him: Whistle-pig. That’s what we called woodchucks when I was a kid. They’re also called “Land Beavers.”

me: Fine. Then I think I just saw a whistle-pig with a swollen tail.

Him: Unlikely. Yellow-bellied marmot.

me: Excuse me?

Him: Yellow-bellied marmot. That’s more likely what you saw.

me: Do they have giant tails?

Him: No.

me: Well then that wasn’t it. It had a big, bushy tail.

Him: Sounds like you saw a squirrel.

me: *sigh*

193 thoughts on “It was NOT a squirrel.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Maybe it was a muskrat? Or a mongoose? Or maybe Rikki Tikki Tavi??? (Fingers crossed it was the last one)

  2. Woodchucks really do whistle, hence the name whistle-pigs. But it sounds like he was fucking with you about the rest of it.

  3. Weird, TSA agents work at Hailey’s camp? I can’t think of any other individuals with similarly helpful dispositions.

  4. If it is a woodchuck, and you see it again, you could ask it how much wood would it chuck if it could chuck wood.

  5. Hahahah it’s like people know you have these conversations all the time and just try to mess with you.

  6. I vote for a whistle-pig-squirrel hybrid.
    It seems to be the only logical explanation.
    That, and I now like to say whistle-pig.

  7. When it attacks him, and he’s in the hospital for rabies shots… he’ll think… “It wasn’t a squirrel…”
    And you will be vindicated.
    PS. I am not hoping for injuries for the fella – but things happen in nature

  8. I agree with the search suggestion. Google “things that are not squirrels” and you’ll get all sorts of rreally weird and ridiculous stuff. That could just be my Google, though. Apparently it mimics the personality of its owner. Results may vary.

    But don’t search “land beaver” unless you’re really feeling brave.

  9. Fox squirrels are actually very large and very bushy tailed. My dad had one in the freezer for decades intending on stuffing it. I chunked it after he passed, freaky beast. The squirrel, not my dad.

  10. NOTHING surprises me about squirrels…they are the demons of the animal world. One mutating into some super-demon squirrel is almost something I suspect any minute.
    (I’m having an issue with varmits in my storage shed, can you tell?)
    And whistle-pig sounds totally made up. I’m not believing that for a minute.

  11. I just tried googling whistle-pig to see if it would give me your page. Alas, it did not. Give it a day and it will.

    I think I saw a possum once, in the middle of the night. Thought it was a cat until the long rat-like tail. Freaked me right out.

  12. Well, that settles it. It was a chupacabra. If you can’t identify it as another animal, it is a chupacabra. That’s just science.

  13. By the way, I was totally not sure what the internets would bless me with when I searched “Looks like a BEAVER with a BUSHY TAIL, but I certainly didn’t expect a website called christianrediscovery to come up with an answer.

  14. I have a similar problem. We have something that looks awfully like a cat with no tail in our neighborhood. It has yet TBD. My wife tells me it is called a “Cabot”, the offspring of a cat and rabbits affair of course. Jury is still out on that one.

  15. I agree with the search engine suggestion. “Things that are not squirrels” brings up all sorts of weird and ridiculous stuff. Could just be my Google, though … apparently it mimics the personality of its owner. Results may vary.

    Just don’t Google “land beaver” unless you’re feeling either really brave or really frisky.

  16. Don’t worry, I see horrible rodents all the time too, it’s a hazard of working for a pest control company. The techs bring whatever they’ve trapped back to the shop and present them to me like cats proudly dropping dead mice at their owners feet. It is sweet and disturbing all at the same time. Next time take a photo, I could probably identify it for you.

  17. I would really think it was a woodchuck. Do a Google image search- they often have bushy tails.

  18. It was probably a Fisher (also called a “Fisher Cat”. It’s sort of like a giant ferret with a big fluffy tail. And it’s native to North America. They have been moving south recently. They are invasive and should be reported.

  19. a chinchilla? PS please remove my last comment. I did not mean to post my email address for the world to use.

  20. Hopefully there will be a mounted one on Ebay soon that pops up for you and you can post a pic for us. You may want to buy it and bling it up for your designerdeadthings decor.

  21. Maybe the mystery creature was the result of an illicit cross-species chupacabra/squirrel romance?

  22. DO NOT GOOGLE IT! You’ll end up getting advertisements for marmots and marmot parts

  23. Woodchucks actually do have surprisingly bushy tails. I know, because one has taken up residence in our garden shed, and regularly scares the crap out of me by diving for cover when I didn’t even know I wasn’t alone. The butt end is often all I see up close. Maybe he WASN’T just having fun at your expense. . .

  24. I know, whistle pigs. I thought that was a thing my husbands country family made up to make fun of me. Turns out it’s an actual thing. That people take shots at when they’re bored. Like whack-a-mole.

  25. I recently saw what I thought was a squirrel on steroids with a big bushy tail. I was told it was a fox squirrel.

  26. Coulda been a fox squirrel those things are freaking HUGE! Honest to goodness, the first time I see one I thought it was a cat. I vote fix squirrel.

  27. I am wondering if you saw a Ring-Tail Cat, Long Tail Weasel or a Coati(they can live in South Texas)? I lived on Possum Kingdom Lake for a year and the first time I saw a Ring-Tail Cat I was completely like…what the hell is that? Followed by, How cool is that!

  28. Maybe a Fisher? Or a Marten? They have bushy tails, bigger than a squirrel, and are plenty weird. They even have fox-like faces and squirrel-like movements. I don’t know if you have them in Texas, though. I live in Wisconsin and saw one (a pine-marten) for the first time two years ago and had no idea what it was. They’re super elusive, which could be why you’ve never seen one til now.

  29. LOL – I love your conversations. They always bring a smile, laugh and snort.

  30. I once saw a woodchuck with a very bushy tail. He Was living off kale in one of the community gardens behind a dorm at my college, and when we drove by in the archaeology truck, he stuck his head up like “hey you kids, get off my lawn!!” It could also be possible that what you saw was a coati. They’re kind of like a raccoon, only weirder, and sometimes their tails aren’t striped. But they’re really rare. If you saw one, feel very lucky.

  31. Maybe it was a yellow-bellied marmot in squirrel drag. If my species name was “yellow-bellied marmot”, I would want to be something else too.

  32. I have a purse shaped like an armadillo. (Her name is Erma.) Someone told me that armadillos are also known as “possum on the half shell.”

  33. Be careful what you search for, you may end up with more taxidermy animal bottoms on your “are you still interested” page.

  34. This is like going to the doctor. Me: these are my symptoms. Doc: That symptom has nothing to do with what’s wrong with you. Me: Do you think I’m making this up? Doc: What medical school did you go to? Me: Look when I do this… I feel like this. Doc: Okay fine (while he is simultaneously writing “patient needs mental tests” on his chart. Me: can you fix me or not? Doc: Take these pills-they are made of sugar!

  35. On the other hand, I applaud your sense of civic duty in needing to make sure the authorities were alerted to the strange squirrel… I mean, animal

  36. Whistle pig is just another name for a ground hog. The story I heard is if you’re in a field and whistle they will pop there heads up so then you can shoot them. However a ground hog and a squirrel are somehow cousins so maybe they can mate…I don’t want to find out. Next for your entertainment a smiley is another name for a possum and a grinny is a chipmunk.

  37. we have always called yellow bellied marmots whistle pigs. and now i am confused. who would have thought that TWO different species would vie for the title whistle pig?

  38. I’m not aware of any Fireswamps in the Houston area, but CLEARLY it is a Rodent of Unusual Size. Before objecting, Victor would be wise to remember what happened when Wesley doubted the existence of a ROUS!

  39. Lol no wonder Hailey would rather stay home and read. With counselors who obviously have no training in how to identify or fight off bushy tailed fox-squirrels,I wouldn’t feel safe either!

  40. Fox squirrels look like monkeys with bushy tails.

  41. What an asshat. You should taxidermy whatever animal you just saw and then slap him in the face with the tiny animal’s hand.

    Also, now I want a whistle pig.

  42. This is one of those posts where I can’t decide which I love more. Your post or ever one else’s comments.

  43. I gigantic squirrel would be my husband’s nemesis..he battles the squirrels here. The squirrels kick his ass.

  44. You know, it could’ve been a squirrel…everything’s bigger in Texas! Next time, take your dad and a shotgun…good eating (and stuffing) if you hit it!

  45. OK being the science teacher that I am my first question is Where were you? Knowing the ecosystem would help narrow it down a bit. My East Texas woods have things the hill country woods doesn’t.

    You don’t have to say exact location, not trying to be a creeper.

  46. First time my husband told me about a fisher cat I thought he was fucking with me. Turns out they are real. I like the ROUS rodent of unusual size. Any reference to Princess Bride automatically wins any argument.

  47. Maybe it was a dire squirrel! You know, like a dire wolf is a super-sized wolf. Maybe this super-sized squirrel was a dire squirrel. That’s it. I’m leaving now.

  48. Hahaha, you and the guard guy should have more conversations in the future so that you can post about it and I can laugh my ass off some more. THIS was hilarious. A rocking way to start off the weekend.

  49. You have totally discovered a new species of weird rodenty thing. I’m pretty sure you should be getting invited to conferences and shit at this point. Now I want to discover some strange thing with a giant tail! Some people have all the fun…

  50. The first time I heard a woodchuck referred to as a field beaver, we were driving along a country road, and when we turned to look at what our friend was pointing at, all we saw was an old woman bending over in her garden. We nearly ran off the road, laughing, while our friend insisted he had NOT been talking about the woman. He never lived it down.

  51. I’ll bet it was a nutria in drag. Could you see if it had eye lashes?

  52. There are Fox Squirrels here in north Florida….? But, Even though they are bigger than regular squirrels, they aren’t as big as woodchucks!

  53. Now you’re going to start getting search hits for Weird-Ass Squirrel Pigs that Whistle…is there no end to the fun you have???

  54. How funny. Pulling onto the highway tonight, my son cried out, “I just saw a beaver! It was too big to be a bunny and it was standing on two legs! And it couldn’t possibly be a hairy child. Because what would a hairy child be doing on the side of the highway?” I’m betting on woodchuck, but hairy child is also compelling. #babybigfoot

  55. Maybe this could be turned into a partner website to the “What Does This Look Like?” medical diagnosis website we recently discussed here…..we could pay the expenses by charging people every time they post a “Nice Beaver” comment…..

    @Fiery Pink Girl (up at #29): I wondered about that website, LOL
    @Kathleen (up at #87): You totally cracked me up…Field Beaver!!!

  56. Bigfoot. You know, like a baby one. Call the producers of Finding Bigfoot and tell them you’ve got a solid lead.

  57. I agree with Wendy. This was totally Bigfoot’s baby… in which case, WHY ISN’T BIGFOOT WATCHING HIS BABY???

  58. You’d be surprised how fucking big a squirrel can look with a giant ass bushy tail. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure I’ve witnessed a fox-rabbit hybrid or something. For reals.

  59. My boss caught me Googling “Bushy Tailed Rodents” – I tried to convince her that I was looking for a picture that could represent my rat of a soon-to-be ex-husband….but I don’t think she’s buying it.

  60. I went thru this with Jonathan about the giant moose-deer I saw in his driveway. “Are you sure it wasn’t just a regular deer?” Nope. It was like a deer took steroids or mated with a draft horse or something. This thing was ENORMOUS. He wouldn’t believe me until it scared the crap out of him one night. Now he believes. Giant. Moose. Deer.

  61. These comments are making me laugh even harder than the post!

  62. Florida Big Cypress Fox Squirrel. First time I saw one I thought it was a beaver with a bushy tail.

  63. You are the person I would consider least likely to misidentify a squirrel. Clearly you have discovered a new animal and are going to get a bunch of major biology awards because of it. They will probably even name it after you. The Bloggessian Not-A-Squirrel?

  64. wombat. it was a wombat, I just know it. I had a wombat in Connecticut and no one believed me either. if the tail was super bushy, then it was a wombat that bought a groupon to Great Wolf Lodge and is wearing the tail they give you when you check in.

  65. This is like someone trying to talk Star Trek to someone talking rugby.. Ugh

  66. Playing with tourists is the best fun. Unfortunately New Zealand doesn’t have all the weird mammals that Australia does, but maybe (hey, I’ve just had a great idea!), maybe we should just start telling everyone that we do! No-one ever sees a kiwi (the bird) in the wild, so they can also not see native marmosets and moose and muskrats! Right, it’s a plan!

  67. Sounds like a Davy Crockett hat on the run to me. Used to be a lot of them about till the moths got most of ’em. Best thing to do is to call pest control. I mean the guy at the guard station should call pest control.

  68. Oh! There was that news story about that guy feeding ferrets steroids to make them look like poodles! Maybe it was one of those!

  69. I thought I saw a squirrel on holiday in Korea. I posted a pic on Facebook and then someone said, “Oh a chipmunk!” and I was like, hell no. You think I don’t know a squirrel when I see one? I was there, damn you. It turns out it was a chipmunk. My bad.

  70. woodchuck = whistle pig = groundhog. We had them everywhere growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and I have to say, they are rather unmistakeable. SO, I am voting for ROUS. Any reference to The Princess Bride wins, hands down. Just stay away from cliffs and little men with glasses of wine.

  71. OK, is it weird that I know exactly what you are talking about because my mom and I saw the same thing about 27 years ago. I kid you not. We were in the car going for breakfast but she and I were the only ones that saw this animal in someone’s yard. It looked like a HUGE squirrel with a very bushy tail. We went by that yard often and we never saw it again. So bizzare. I still have no idea what it was.

  72. Thank you for know what a nutria is. I think they only exist in Texas and Narnia, respectively.

  73. I feel like the obvious answer is that he has no imagination. Like if you told him you think you saw a vampire, he’d probably say, “Can’t be. Probably just anemic.” although after this lovely example, maybe I have too much imagination…Oh well. I’d rather have too much anyway!

  74. I feel like I just went to a large rodent identification class. Wow, all those animals I never heard of before ARE REAL.

  75. this happened to me also. my husband started picking up on my brainwaves and how i reached my interesting conclusions so in attempt to enhance our communication tried to traverse similar patterns but missed the mark entirely. i blame his mismatched chromosomes. something like a venus/uranus thing. but i can’t be sure.

  76. Three things I learned today: 1) Fisher Cats are a thing and they are kinda scary. 2) Fox Squirrels are a thing and are kinda cool. ) Yellow Bellied Marmots are a thing and I am going to scour the Earth until I can have one as a pet.

  77. Check out Shirley’s Critter Rescue. She has a video with lots of animals from exotic breeds of squirrels to Wallabys/ Kangaroos. I met her in person thru a friend and got a tour. There were squirrels climbing up our legs demanding peanuts! This place is 4 acres of super clean habitats< chain link dog kennel type cages with roofs, fencing and customized sheds to house these animals. This rescue is not open to public tours or children. Shirley has such a big heart, is so great and really funny. Watch the video and see if you recognize what you saw?

  78. Just tell him you think you may have seen a wolf (or whatever animal is currently terrorizing your part of the country AND being simultaneously protected), but you’re sure it was ‘probably just a squirrel’, and then ask if the camp carries full liability insurance and thank him for his time. 😉

  79. I used to see fox squirrels in Florida. . Bigger than gray squirrels. Now I live in Maine where we have fishers which are even bigger but the tail, while furry, is not what you would call bushy. I vote for very healthy fox squirrel.A coati mundi would work but the ringed tail is distinctive and you would have noticed it. Same with the ring-tailed cat (another raccoon relative and not a cat at all) . Still you might want to look at them.
    Ground hogs (whistle pigs) and marmots are large rodents and NOT friendly. They will hurt you if you corner them.
    Right now the snapping turtles are coming out of the river to lay their eggs here. Raccoons get most of the eggs (I saw two destroyed nests today) but one wily old girl laid in my dooryard between my car and the cabin. Photo attached if I can figure out how. Humph! Can’t see how to attach. Hint? I borrowed your “stabby ” and changed it to “snappy” in describing the turtles to my kids. Nick

  80. Wait wait wait…aren’t ALL beavers land beavers? I mean, I know they build dams in creeks and stuff..but essentially, aren’t they all land beavers?

  81. I’ve never seen a squirrel. Wrong part of the world. Not even in a zoo (not that a zoo is a great place for a squirrel to live though). One day hopefully.

  82. There’s a band called the whistle pigs. I just thought it was a clever name. Now I’m just sad that they’re just calling themselves groundhogs.

  83. I had that happen to me once I said I saw this crazy looking squirrel with a stripped tail and they were all like oh you mean a skunk. And I was like no not a skunk I know what a skunk looks like. And then I said it had like a curly tail with a stripe and they kept INSISTING it was a skunk and I said no! But then they started making fun of me and said it was a mutant squirrel and I said well maybe but not like xmen, or maybe like xmen cause it could have powers but I don’t know cause I didn’t see it use any powers.

  84. Google hoary marmot. It looks like a a squirrel on steroids with a big bushy tail. Plus you get to call it hoary.

  85. I think he recognized you and screwed with your head knowing that you’d blog about it and he’d be able to brag to his friends.

  86. Whistle-pig is my new favorite curse word! “Oy, get over here you fucking whistle-pig.” That works.

  87. I had a similar experience at work. I was driving through campus and I saw something go across the street. It was a small animal, without a tail. About the size and shape of a large potato. But it moved less like a squirrel or chipmunk and more like a hamster. Nobody believes me. They also just say, “It was probably a squirrel.” !!!

  88. Maybe a weasel or a fisher. And yes, fishers are real animals, but I think they only live out west. So weasel?

  89. We just had the “It’s a mole. It’s a mouse. It’s a chipmunk” conversation yesterday. I think we finding new species and science doesn’t care.

  90. i’m voting for marmot, because their tails can be fairly bushy. however, you’d have to have been at a fairly high elevation for it to be a yellow-bellied marmot. i regularly drive through the mountains and see them all the time, and shout, “Marmot!” with great glee because they are so cute…and because i live at a lower elevation and they aren’t tearing up my yard (like some prairie dogs that i know, which have become significantly less cute now that i nearly brake my ankle every time i walk to my garden), they remain cute and fun.

  91. Just wanted to say that as a tribe we are slipping! It took until Jane with comment # 48 before someone made a Princess Bride reference. C’mon Lawsbians, we are better than that.

  92. Its a chupacabra squirrel marmot hybrid. Or a coyote. That was tiny.


  93. My cousins and I definitely saw one at lake Buchanan in Burnet last weekend! We decided it was too big for a squirrel and walked like a rat so it could only be a nutria-squirrel hybrid. It even rat-walked right up to our porch!

  94. I have taxidermied dozens of squirrels and even the biggest fox squirrels are not close to a nutria. I have seen some odd looking foxes though, I almost wonder if it was a fox instead of a fox squirrel.

  95. The squirrels near where I live (Indiana) are huge. Like crazy enormous. Of course I never knew that until I saw the pathetic things everyone else calls “squirrels” pretty much every where else in the country.

  96. So a groundhog showed up in my backyard on July 4th, and I looked it up. They are basically a giant squirrel. I’m assuming your daughter came home safely from camp without being accosted by rodents of unusual size?

  97. not sure if anyone mentioned it earlier, too many replies to filter through I have pinteresting to do. BUT Woodchucks or Groundhogs or whatever everyone is calling them in your part of the country do have really big fluffy tails. They’re just usually so low to the ground you don’t see them.

  98. I came across this post when I googled “animal that looks like a giant squirrel”. I’m new to east central Indiana, and saw a mysterious creature earlier this week. My students informed me it was a mink. Perhaps this is what you saw too?

  99. I saw the exact same thing. I was out for a jog and I saw what I thought was a massive squirrel (b/c of the big bushy tail) Then I saw it from the front and it looked like a ground hog. I called it the squirrel hog but couldn’t find out anything else on the internet.
    I saw it in Stratford ontario canada. (an hour west of toronto)

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