A mysterious creature is baffling millions online, who can’t quite work out what the cat-like animal is, with guesses ranging from a lemur to a weasel.
A clip of the black-and-white critter, which has cheetah-esque markings along with a ringed tail and masked face, like a raccoon, amassed more than 2 million views overnight.
The video, which can be seen here, was posted to @kinkatopia’s TikTok on Monday and was captioned: “Jolteon is that you?”
Jolteon is a type of Pokémon, with the official website explaining if the lightning creature is “angered or startled, the fur all over its body bristles like sharp needles that pierce foes,” just like the creature in the video.
Numerous people shared their thoughts on the animal, as Matrino15 joked: “It’s a mohawk lemur cat.”
Michael Alvarado joked: “It’s a raccoon-cat-stegosaurus!!!”
Natalie asked: “Is that a cat or weasel?”
ToriPeebs quipped: “Your raccoon looks different from mine.”
Brenda Ortiz wrote: “I’ve never seen a hyena cat mixed with raccoon!! I like it PICASO!!”
Jalyn pratt joked: “Yo so we just pulling out mystic animals now.”
Abbyy_leighh said: “No seriously what is that.”
Banana reckoned: “Hyena fox lemur cat.”
Peter Mansion asked: “What IS THIS GORGEOUS THING.”
Lyssa commented: “I don’t even know what I think I see…. What a unique cat…”
And referencing the character in Madagascar, Yung Niko added: “King Julian’s been busy huh.”
The TikTok bio states it belongs to the mother of kinkajous, otherwise known as honeybears, run by Alexandra Ashe.
Ashe is the chief executive officer and founder of Kinkatopia, a nonprofit working to improve the quality of life of kinkajous. She explained that a number of the animals live in her private homestead.
Ashe, a recovering heroin addict, has over 40 animals, including venomous snakes and an alligator who live in her kinkajou-orientated sanctuary.
She told Newsweek: “‘Cat weasel’ is the most common reference I hear. The animal collaboration names that come up are hilarious! I see ‘baby hyena’ a lot. And ‘lemur fox.'”
But the exotic animal in the video isn’t a kinkajou, but rather a genet. There are 14 identified species, including the forest, small-spotted and large spotted genet, according to the African Wildlife Foundation.
The website said: “Genets are long, lean carnivores that appear catlike with a tail usually as long as (if not longer than) the body.”
Ashe, based in Florida, has previously shared videos and clips of her genet to social media, named Norman, with recent posts indicating she’s received a second, whom she’s dubbed Norma Jean.
Explaining more about the new arrival, an Instagram post said: “Norma will be joining Kinkatopia early next week.
“Norma is a five-year-old genet who recently lost her companion. We are so grateful to the Newport Discovery Zoo for entrusting us with this beauty! @newportzoo.
“When she arrives, she will be quarantined to settle in. We need to go very slow with her. She is not cat-like like Norman. She is 100% genet.”
A post from Saturday was captioned: “Norma Jean is here and settling.”
Ashe’s existing genet, Norman, thought to be the star of the now-viral video, is very different. Ashe explained in another Insta post: “Norman makes his own rules.
“Small-spotted genets are not traditional pets. Norman has a very special personality and temperament because he was raised with cats at our homestead.”
The on-screen caption said “tell me more about this cat-fox-weasel-lemur,” referencing the genet’s unique looks.
Ashe, who confirmed Norman is neutered, told Newsweek: “Genets are very cat-like! And even more cat like when they are raised with them. that’s a very special component to remember about the situation. Norman is in anomaly! They actually aren’t as friendly as him. Much more shy and aloof.
“Norma, I believe, will act like a traditional genet. They absolutely can be trained! They are extremely intelligent! Norman knew his name at six weeks old! We think training and enrichment is very important to happy and healthy animal keeping.”
According to the African Wildlife Foundation, genets live up to eight years in the wild, but can live up to 34 years in captivity.
They share similarities with the domestic pet cat, with the site noting: “They can squeeze their flexible bodies through any opening larger than their heads. They are also nocturnal and stealthy hunters. Much like cats, they kill with a quick bite to the neck.”
And their diet also has some recognizable dishes, as the AFW wrote: “Although classified as a carnivore, they are omnivorous and will eat what is most readily available. This can include small mammals — especially rodents, shrews, and bats — birds and their eggs, frogs, millipedes, centipedes, scorpions, and various fruits.”
Ashe added: “Specifically, Norman loves cooked chicken, green beans, super worms, and avocado! He could live off of that combination! Norma is used to a raw diet so… let’s just say I’m adjusting. But it comes with the trade!”
Update 3/16/22, 9:05 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment and photos from Ashe.