CLEVELAND, Ohio - A strange new species has been discovered on the banks of Lake Erie. It's not clear whether this animal is a fish, mammal, marsupial, reptile, or even a bird. It may even be an insect.
The creature ran up to an elderly man taking a stroll on the beach and bit his leg. The animal has the bite of a chainsaw and it gouged out a huge chunk of the old gent's right calf.
"That thing's teeth were bigger than its entire body," Frank Ricci said, recovering at a Cleveland hospital. "I looked down and all I could see were teeth, teeth, and even more teeth."
Ricci's granddaughter, Sissy "Bones" Brophy, captured the thing in an extra large cup she was drinking soda from - then she ran to Ricci's Pontiac Sable and threw the animal into the trunk. By the time she got to the car, the animal chewed a hole in her aluminum drink holder.
"All I heard was this loud rattling, like my little infant brother Tommy's kiddie toys. It sounded . . . well, it sounded like those rattlesnakes do on Rattlesnake Republic. And that thing was snapping something awful. Its teeth were thin and sharp, like needles.
"It didn't growl, but oh how it rattled and hissed. It's absolutely atrocious. They need to exterminate them and make them extinct," Bones said, as she held Grandpa Frank's hand in the emergency room. He was lying in a bed, wincing in pain.
"After I threw it into the trunk, its gills and fins sort of transformed themselves into wings. That crazy thing tried to fly out of the trunk, but I was quick and slammed it down real hard. Then I called 9-1-1 to get my Grandpa some help," the cute, pony tailed, 10-year-old beachcomber said.
Cleveland Police Sergeant Louis T. Blackwell drove Frank Ricci's car to the Cleveland Zoo after Mr. Ricci was taken to the hospital by ambulance. By the time Blackwell arrived at the zoo, the animal had gouged a gaping hole into the side of the trunk. It only had a little more metal to eat through the fender and it would've escaped.
Blackwell told several reporters at the hospital of how he handled this creature - which doesn't have a scientific or even a fluffy "pet" name yet - when he opened the trunk at the zoo to get it out of the car: "It was snapping those mean-looking teeth, rattling and hissing. I maced it. Then I tasered it. This didn't do much good. It only seemed to make the thing angrier.
"Then it flew around above my head. It landed and slithered around on the ground for a bit, rattling its tail. Finally, I used my Glock 9 millimeter and shot it four times. The bullets just bounced off. It has bulletproof skin. It has to!" the sergeant yelped.
"Two of the Cleveland Zoo's security guards brought out some kind of cage made from lead and titanium steel, grabbed it, and threw it inside," Blackwell said.
It was placed in a secure terrarium in the zoo with shatterproof, bulletproof, super-duper-tough, glass sides.
Scientists don't know what to make of this newly discovered animal. Only the size of a gerbil or chipmunk, it has gills and fins. So it seems to have all the essential accoutrements of being a fish. But it also has hair and can breath through its nose. It changes colors like a chameleon. It has a pouch near its stomach to carry around its young like a kangaroo or an opossum. It can slither around on the ground like a snake and slips its forked tongue out. But is this just natural way of practicing some sick sense of humor? And like a platypus, it has a stinger on its lower belly. It looks like a wasp or a hornet stinger, so is it an insect?
Scientists claim it's intelligent and wary of other creatures, except during mating season, when it looks for a mate. Its diet consists of aluminum cans; plastic containers; discarded paper; trashed, empty, pizza boxes; and empty beer and whiskey bottles.
"It has no competition for its food supply except the local garbage collection company. It's on top of its food chain, doesn't need to have any contact with other species, and it's a hermit. A loner. Except when every night's date night. Mating season, you know," said Thomas L. Free, Ph.D., a freelance zoologist.
"We think the one that bit Mr. Ricci might have had emotional problems," Dr. Free explained. "Zoo veterinarians put it on Thorozine, Lithium, Haldol, and Mellaril," the zoologist explained. "It's really doped up now, but believe me, it needs to be - that little monster can kill somebody!" he shouted.
"It might even be some new arrival to our planet - a forgotten lost pet for an extremely intelligent alien visitor who's come and gone. Now he's way, way out there somewhere - in the Sombrero Galaxy or maybe even somewhere around Pleiades. Somewhere nobody in their right mind would ever want to go.
"So now his little pet's homesick for its master and it's really, really pissed off with all of us," Free expounded.
"But we know this animal is indigenous to the beaches around Lake Erie and hopefully, nowhere else. It has no known predators. It's on top of its food chain and is quite happy just devouring garbage. There's a humungous food source around. We hope it doesn't expand its territory into Cleveland. But it might get hungrier and greedier. There's a lot of garbage in big cities," Free said.
Zoo officials discovered the animal's diet after it escaped from its terrarium and was found in a dumpster outside the 'big cat' building, where it's being kept.
"It had eaten much of the refuse and was licking its lips, seemingly satisfied. It couldn't move, it was so stuffed. And by then, the psychotropic 'zombie' pills had taken hold. So zoo workers had no problem recapturing it," Free said.