Animal rescued from the cold looks like a hairless cat — you’ll never guess what it really is

Animal rescued from the cold looks like a hairless cat — you’ll never guess what it really is

Fur is so important for many animals, as it provides much-needed protection from the cold. It also gives them their distinct looks — there are some animals that, when completely bald, you might not recognize at all.

Recently, rescuers took in a creature that looks like a hairless cat, but is actually something much rarer. Read on to learn more about this unique creature and her unlikely survival…

Last month, Hope for Wildlife, a nonprofit conservation organization in Nova Scotia, took in the most unusual animal. According to the Canadian Press, a couple in West Arichat discovered the animal in their backyard, shivering in the cold.

At first glance, the creature looks like a Sphynx cat, but it isn’t — it’s actually a completely hairless raccoon!

Facebook/Hope For Wildlife

It’s certainly hard to recognize a raccoon without its signature mask-like fur pattern. This little creature, a northern raccoon, is completely bald due to severe alopecia.

The rescue says they have had previous cases of balding raccoons, but never anything like this: “It’s just tufts of fur around the snout, ankles and feet. This is a severe case,” Hope Swinimer, director of Hope for Wildlife, told The Canadian Press.

Though the raccoon is a female, she’s been named Rufus after the naked mole rat character from the cartoon Kim Possible.

The rescue wrote on Facebook that they have not fully diagnosed the cause of her hair loss, saying the cause could be an autoimmune disorder where her hair follicles are damaged. They also ruled out causes like parasites, mange and fungal infections, saying that her skin appeared to be healthy.

Facebook/Hope For Wildlife

Raccoons depend on their fur to keep themselves warm and protect their skin from the elements — the rescuers couldn’t believe that Rufus had managed to survive this long.

“We are quite amazed that this little lady managed to make it [through] the winter without fur and without suffering from frostbite or worse!” they wrote on Facebook.

They added that she had a “feisty” personality and that “her successful survival was all her own doing.” Even so, it seems like she was rescued just in time, as she was reportedly “down and out upon arrival.”

“We were panicking for a few short hours … but she got hungry and came out. She’s getting quite feisty and we’ve seen a big improvement since she first arrived,” Swinimer told The Canadian Press.

Given the circumstances, Rufus might become a permanent resident of the shelter, and will have a specialized habitat, an outdoor space with a space to crawl into to keep warm, as well as amenities like hammocks and nesting boxes.

We’ve never seen a hairless raccoon before! It’s incredible that Rufus has managed to survive in the wild so long, and we’re glad she was found and is now in good care.

Please share this interesting story if you love animals!

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