; Phantoms and Monsters - Real Cryptid Encounter Reports - Fortean Researcher Lon Strickler

Monday, July 23, 2012

Response: Breaking Sticks...On the Trail of the Giant Sloth

I received a response to a recent post The Stick Breakers from 'arclein' at TerraForming Terra...a daily column, principally about the ongoing scientific debate over Global Warming and Terraforming the Earth:

Breaking Sticks - On the Trail of the Giant Sloth

Before you read this, understand that the witnesses have not seen the creature at all and all we have is the collected auditory evidence. However, considering that a skilled bird song identifier can distinguish several hundred separate species correctly, I will run with that sooner than a distant glimpse.

First though, let us consider breaking sticks. It is unusual to break sticks lying on the ground if you are a slightly experienced woodsman and have any vision whatsoever. It is still difficult to move soundlessly but actually not that difficult. You merely roll your feet as you settle in. When you do this, you also sense larger sticks and adjust accordingly. Thus the only way larger sticks could get broken by something on the ground would be deliberately by a hoaxer. That then begs the question of the flood lights. I think we can throw that option away pretty easily but keep it out there just in case.

Let us get to the real cause of breaking sticks. A large creature climbing around inside a tree canopy must break branches and yes cause broken branches to fall to the ground as reported here. We are now looking for a two hundred to three hundred pound creature that also exhibits four point gripping capabilities. This of course again describes the giant sloth.

Past posts have located unrecognized sightings in the Southern Appalachians and the Western USA. This locates a sighting in the North East. In general the sightings have been rare, but this is largely because at even a short distance the creature will be mistaken for a bear and has much better ability to evade dogs than a bear. It can go up a tree, but then traverse to other trees losing the dogs.

Four point gripping is very important as demonstrated by the South American sloth. Most important it allows the creature to firmly grip and test a potentially weak branch while secure with a three point grip from the tree it is in. It then can apply weight and grip an additional support branch before removing itself from the other tree. This is obviously something we can not do safely ourselves at all so arboreal hoaxing is ruled out.

What we have discovered is a clear trapping strategy available to us for this creature. When such a creature shows up and the breaking branches are heard, one goes out and stands directly under each and every tree and shine a flood light up into the tree from beside the trunk. Sooner or later the creature will be revealed.

The creature is certainly stealthy and is able to move about the trees without unnecessarily shaking boughs. This merely means the creature is watching us and moving accordingly. It’s problem is that it is impossible to do all this without breaking out dead wood in particular. Try it is broad daylight in a tree running wild. Then try getting out on a limb without breaking free encumbering branches. You will soon get my point.

The good news is that we have identified a couple of troops of nosy giant sloths.

For the record, sloths are mostly herbivores that in this case eat leaves and I suspect young pine needles if they are operating in New Hampshire. They also eat beetles and grubs as well and likely much more than is noted. Like bears, their claws would make quick work of a rotted out log. Thus we have a happy cow that lives well above any carnivores able to make a meal of it. For that reason there may be a lot more of them than has ever been suspected as they apparently nocturnal also.

Again understand that this creature will look like a bear at any distance. Even up close and personal you are likely to be badly fooled, particularly if it is in the habit of imitating a bear in a confrontation.

Do look at the skull in the photo here. This is still a herbivore. Size can reach up to fifteen feet in length to tail tip which is much like a large cow.

NOTE: If you go to arclein's blog he has underlined pertinent statements from the witness' account. It's an interesting theory and the first I have read it. Here are a few earlier posts I have offered in reference to giant sloths - Huge Sloth-Like Cryptid Sighting in Southeast Georgia and Does The Giant Ground Sloth Still Live?...Lon

Memoir on the Megatherium; or, giant ground-sloth of America (Megatherium americanum, Cuvier)

Giant Ground Sloth (Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals)