Online Sleuths Unravel Mystery of Oddly Appearing Animal in Northern Colorado

A recent Reddit post by user u/lunaapollo has sparked widespread curiosity and concern. The user shared an image of an unusual animal spotted in Northern Colorado, raising questions about its identity and health status.

Coyotes with mange often lose most of their fur, leading to a bizarre appearance.

Photo: Pexels
Coyotes with mange often lose most of their fur, leading to a bizarre appearance.

Initial Confusion and Analysis

At first glance, this animal puzzled many. Some Reddit users speculated it might be a lost dog or even a feral hog, a species not native to Colorado. However, closer examination revealed features more akin to a coyote, notably its ears and snout. As the Denver Gazette reports, the animal’s lack of tail and odd coloring, however, were atypical for a healthy coyote.

Coyotes with mange are often spotted in urban or suburban areas searching for food.

Photo: Pexels
Coyotes with mange are often spotted in urban or suburban areas searching for food.

The Likely Culprit

Experts suggest the animal is a coyote suffering from mange, a skin disease caused by mites. As the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension reports, mange leads to severe itching, hair loss, and potential secondary infections. This condition aligns with the animal’s appearance in the Reddit photo, notably its scraggly tail and abnormal coloring.

The photo taken by Reddit user u/lunaapollo ignited a storm of comments.

Photo: Reddit / u/lunaapollo
The photo taken by Reddit user u/lunaapollo ignited a storm of comments.

Mange in Wildlife: A Wider Concern

Mange is a serious concern in wildlife, affecting various species. In canines, it’s caused by Sarcoptis scabiei and Demodex canis mites. Severe cases can alter an animal’s behavior, making them seek easier prey, and in folklore, such afflicted animals are often mistaken for mythical creatures like the Chupacabra, reports National Geographic.

Community Response and Assistance

The Reddit community has been proactive in responding to this situation. Commenting on the original post, a user called u/skunkangel, representing a wildlife rescue organization, offered a “Mange by Mail Program,” providing treatment for animals like the one spotted. This program emphasizes the importance of not feeding wild animals to prevent disease spread and suggests discreetly helping afflicted animals.

In advanced stages, mange significantly weakens a coyote's immune system.

Photo: Pexels
In advanced stages, mange significantly weakens a coyote’s immune system.

Public Safety and Health Implications

Mange is not just a wildlife issue; it has implications for human and pet health. The disease can be contagious, making it vital to maintain distance from affected animals and to consult professionals if pets show symptoms, warns the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. For wildlife, though treatment is challenging, many animals can recover naturally.

A Call for Awareness and Compassion

This Reddit post serves as a reminder of the delicate balance in our ecosystems and the need for awareness and compassion towards wildlife. As we share spaces with these creatures, understanding and responding to their health challenges is crucial for their well-being and ours.

Colorado's Historic Wolf Reintroduction Mission Employs Satellite Tracking To Save the Pack: Click “Next” below!

Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, spending time with his daughters, and coffee.
Whizzco for FAP