what was this mystery animal that accosted us?

This is one of those things that’s been driving me nuts for about six months, and I"ve been meaning to ask the SDMB about it, but always forget to. I’ll try to include as many pertinent details so as to help would-be cryptozoologists figure out this creature.

Last February (the 13th), my wife and I were driving to my aunt’s house outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, around 2:00 in the morning. This is just at the beginning of the appalachian mountains, so the terrain is hilly and wooded. It’s mid-february, so it’s still pretty cold out, and snow would not be unexpected.

The road we were driving on was pretty windy and curvy, and as we rounded a particularly sharp curve, we saw it. The creature was in the road, toward the shoulder but still at least six feet clear of the trees that lined the road. It was about three feet high, and spindly - almost like a spider, praying mantis, or walking stick. It seemed to be all long legs, rather than having a specific trunk or abdomen. But it didn’t look insectile - it moved with a sort of fluid, mammalian gait, almost like it was dancing, like a marionette. It was a sort of brown or flesh-colored; it didn’t appear to have feathers or scales or anything.

The second she saw it, my wife screamed, startling me, just as I saw it, too. In a second we had passed it, both freaking out a bit because our minds couldn’t rationalize what we had seen. We returned to the scene, but it was gone.

So - what the hell did we encounter? My immediate reaction was that maybe it was a deer fawn, as they can appear to be “all legs” and move with an awkward motion. But it was too early in the season for fawns to be appearing, and as a lifelong hunter, I’ve seen a million and would have immediately recognized it for what it was. Other guesses - a buzzard or other large bird (turkey?) hopping around with its wings out - and yet, that doesn’t quite jibe, especially at that time of night.

Friends, including a professional game warden, have suggested that it may have been a diseased deer or large bird, perhaps having lost all of its fur or feathers.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Deer sounds right. If not necessarily a fawn, then a small adult…or maybe you misjudged the height.

A lost Aardvark?

You don’t seem to have mentioned the dimensions, except by rough comparison.

But, as mentioned, I’ve hunted deer for 20+ years now in a multitude of conditoins, and I think i’d recognize one, even in such bizarre circumstances.

Now, maybe a diseased and hairless deer…hobbling?

Good point. Sorry about that. Let me do my best… I’d say it was about 3’ high, and about as wide. It was kind of hard to get a judge of its size and presence, as it didn’t seem to have a trunk or “main body” as much as it seemed to be “all legs, all moving in a dance-like motion,” like a large spider or preying mantis.

Wow, I don’t know, sounds like something from another galaxy. Maybe a coyote with mange?

Your descriptions keep making me think of something like a honey badger or wolverine - those sort of animals that have a relatively small head, long neck, slender body and perhaps a substantial tail, making it look at a glance like it is all legs.

Just how many legs did it have?

Was it in your headlights?
Is there a possiblity that it was more than one creature but very close together so you combined them? Did the legs end in feet or hoves or claws?
Of course that creature is somewhere telling a story about something with no legs that slide along with glowing eyes and none of his friends belive him.

Accosted you? Accosted you!

It must have been a sentient life form from another world. ‘Accost’ means to approach and address somebody, usually a stranger.

I would guess deer fawn as well. Here in Georgia our deer population is growing to such an extent that we’ve got young fawns much earlier and later than you would think. The word among my hunting circle is that there are so many does (with most hunters hunting exclusively for trophy these days) that the bucks can’t service them all in what we think of as traditional rut times, so the unbred does come back in later.

And also having spent many years hunting, I know how ‘odd’ something can appear when you only get to see it for a moment like when you’re driving at night. There isn’t anything else I can think of that it might have been…at least without going down the being from another planet road.


I’m pretty sure it was a Wal-Mart employee. I’ve seen it working as a Greeter at the local store.

No no, you are mistaken. It was the think that burst out of the greeters chest.

Were you hearing strange gibberings on your baby monitor?

It must have been the Appalachian Sasquatch! Very rarely seen.

Could it have been something standing in a reflective puddle?

It was probably a Hodad wandered down from the Great North Woods.

Grif: I think it looks more like a puma.
Sarge: What in Sam Hill is a puma?
Simmons: You mean like the shoe company?
Grif: No-o-o, like a puma. It’s a big cat. Like a lion.
Sarge: You’re making that up.
Grif: I’m telling you, it’s a real animal.
Sarge: Simmons, I want you to poison Grif’s next meal.
Simmons: Yes, Sir!
Sarge: Look. See these 2 tow hooks? They look like tusks. …And what kind of animal has tusks?
Grif: A walrus.
Sarge: Didn’t I just tell you to stop making up animals?
Sarge: So unless anyone has any more mythical creatures to suggest as a name for the new vechicle, we’re going to stick with… the Warthog. How about it, Grif?
Grif: No, Sir. No more suggestions.
Sarge: Are you sure? How about Bigfoot?
Grif: It’s okay.
Sarge: Unicorn?
Grif: No, not really, I’m cool.
Sarge: Sasquatch?
Simmons: Leprechaun?
Grif: Hey, he doesn’t need any help, man.
Sarge: Phoenix?
Grif: Ugh, Jesus Christ…
Sarge: Simmons, what’s the name of that Mexican lizard – eats all the goats?
Simmons: That’d be the chupacabra, sir!
Sarge: Hey Grif! Chupa-thingie – how about that? Got a ring to it.