Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

September 30, 2013

You’ll know it immediately because of its ugliness

I recently read in the Republican and Cumberland Times-News that “FSU’s Cultural Events series kicks off season with Squonk Opera’s Astrorama.”

Very interesting name, “Squonk.”

Few readers realize that the Squonk is a rare and endangered species in these parts.

It is described in the seminal compendium of “creatures of the wild” entitled “Fearsome Critters” by the noted ethrozodogist Henry Tryon (whose veracitude is unquestioned) who in 1939 first described the Squonk (Lacrimacorpus dissolvers) as “probably the homeliest animal in the world and knows it. It is most retiring, bashful, crepuscular animal garbed in a loose-fitting, warty, singularly ill-fitting skin.”

It’s call is a mournful wailing and it sheds bountiful tears because of its ugliness.

Old growth hemlock stands are its desired habitat, which were largely removed from this region beginning in the mid-1800s.

It was last reported in the Swallow Falls Sate Park area in the early 1900s. However, since some hemlock regrowth has occurred it could be returning to its native haunts.

A word of caution, if one happens to trap a Squonk and attempts to transport it in a gunny sack to show off to the home folks; once in the sack it dissolves into a teary mess.

I am presently composing a descriptives list of such creatures so that unwary travelers in the wild hereabouts do not suddenly confront them and suffer a heart attack or, worse yet, become a victim of an attacking creature.

There are more than cougars out there, so be careful!

Paul Shogren

Oakland

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