The unidentified animal which is believed to be either a fox or possibly a coyote pup.

Fox, Coyote, Foxote - Or Was RR Smoking the Peyote?

By Jessica Teal

Time & time again, Livingston Campus has proven to be the veritable Rutgers hotspot for seeing and hearing weird creatures on campus. There is a 370 acre ecological preserve on the campus that contains an ash-wood forest that has not been cut into since the 1840’s. Since our most recent strange animal sighting occurred near the furthest end of the preserve, the RR Team is beginning to think that this “virgin” ecological park may be the home to some of our local oddities, both human & animal.

The creature that we encountered on a recent rainy night was actually crossing Cedar Lane, which runs along the preserve, bordering Highland Park. It was fox-like or coyote-like in shape, with glowing eyes and large pointed ears. Its size was small, definitely smaller than the coyotes spotted in our other encounters on Livingston. Having seen the foxes in nearby Johnson’s park, we’d say that the creature appeared closer to a bigger fox’s size but this animal had a few anomalies about its appearance that made us uncertain as to whether it was a fox indeed or possibly a coyote pup. The animal had a very long, very skinny tail with a white ring at the end. Not at all fluffy or furry as is usually seen on a coyote or fox. Its coloring was also a bit strange. It wasn’t reddish-orange like the foxes often spotted in Piscataway and in the zoo. It was brownish-tan with a lighter underbelly. The face was undoubtedly canine in appearance, but it definitely wasn’t a dog. The ears and the snout were sharper and more pointed, like a fox’s or coyote’s, but again, even after reviewing some images of foxes and coyotes that we had on file, the RR Team could not make a determination as to what the animal actually was. It was the strange rodent-like tail that sparked the most debate and led Co-Investigator Ray to ultimately declare that we had happened upon a meer-cat, but zoological stupidity aside, this little animal’s skinny tail defies visual classification.

It also proved to be a suburban creature as well, as it was hardly wary of us in our car gesticulating wildly and thrashing about trying to get our cameras in hand. It paused at one side of the road and stared at us, even seeming to begin to approach a little as we whispered fervently about its origins. It gave us a good, full minute of picture taking time and then sort of trotted off into the underbrush. Coyote, fox, mutated dog-rat or meer-cat, this creature’s encounter with the RR Team has only fueled the fires of speculation about what exactly is protected in the Rutgers preserve on Livingston.

Editorial Comment by Ray Brennan: It's a damn fox for crying out loud!


A shot of the creature caught in a backward glance (left) and a shot of the creature close to the actual distance it was viewed from the car.

Closeup shots of the creature and its glowing eyes that light up the night.


©Rutgers Rarities and Unexplained Phenomena, 2005