Is it a sea creature? A dinosaur? Just a badger?
After the latest storm in Santa Barbara, an strange-looking creature with intimidating teeth and claws was discovered on a beach near a drain washout.
KEYT senior reporter John Palmister was covering a beach story when he stumbled upon the mysterious “creature.”
“It certainly has been a mystery,” Palminteri told The Huffington Post. “It definitely had teeth and I would never want to encounter it in a dark creek path.”
Palminteri posted photos of the animal online, asking his audience for opinions on what it might be.
Santa Barbara resident Michael Curtis told ABC 3: “I’d say it looks like a combination of a seal and dog with fangs dried up, potentially.”
“To me it looks reminiscent of a dinosaur … like an old dog, ancient,” Josh Curtis, said.
Paul Collins, curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum, contacted Palminteri with a simple explanation:
“He said it was a badger,” Palminteri said. “Short feet, with claws, narrow snout with two protruding cheeks. That’s a badger.”
Other experts are in agreement: it’s a badger.
“It’s hairless, bloated and decomposing. Of course people will freak out and speculate wildly,” wrote the editor of Doubtful News.
“Dogs, cats, seals, minks, opossum, badgers, you name it, animals look weird when dead and are missing the traits we most readily identify them by.”
Of course, even if it is a badger, it leaves another question unanswered: what was a badger doing in the Santa Barbara area?
Jonathan Gonzalez, the former assistant director of The Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center, also commented on the story, saying that the mystery animal is “a California sea lion in advanced decomposition state.”
And how does Gonzalez explain the “claws”?
“They only appear to be ‘claws’ because the skin around the edge of the flipper has since decomposed. Trust me, I know those teeth. I’ve been bit many times during rescues,” he said.
In 2012, a similar photo was taken by Josh Menard near San Diego.
“It kind of had paws and some hair on the side of its face, which was facing down in the sand. It had short front paws with like, nails and longer back legs—it had the body shape of a pig, and a fat stomach, fat middle area. And the canines were just ridiculously large. That’s why I couldn’t understand what it was,” Menard described the animal to Vice, comparing it to the legendary chupacabra.
We’re guessing it wasn’t a chupacabra.
What do you think Santa Barbara’s mysterious creature is?