Mystery Dog or C ATof South America.

Etymology: Unknown. In Nahuatl (Uto-Aztecan), mitla is the "abode of the dead," hence the name of the Mitla ruins near Oaxaca, Mexico.

Physical description: Doglike cat the size of an English foxhound. Black.

Distribution: Rio Madidi area, Bolivia. Possible explanations: (1) The dark-brown to black Bush dog (Speothos venaticus), suggested by Roy Mackal, is found in this part of Bolivia. It is rare and little seen over much of its range, which extends from Panama to Brazil.

mitla 341

(2) The blackish-gray Short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis), suggested by Karl Shuker, is slightly larger (2-3 feet long) and is also found east of the Andes in Bolivia. It moves with a feline grace. Sources: Percy H. Fawcett, Exploration Fawcett (London: Hutchinson, 1953); Roy P. Mackal, Searching for Hidden Animals (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980), p. 177; Jeremy Mallinson, Travels in Search of Endangered Species (Newton Abbott, England: David and Charles, 1987); Karl Shuker, Mystery Cats of the World (London: Robert Hale, 1989), pp. 195-196; Karl Shuker, "South American Mystery Cats," Cat World, January 1996, pp. 36-37.

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