El Hábitat de Pino Barrens del Diablo


New Jersey’s Pine Barrens habitat is an Atlantic coastal ecotype dominated by nutrient poor soils, stunted vegetation and coniferous trees of the Genus Pinus. The habitat supports a wide range of flora and fauna, including the colorful Pine Barrens Tree Frog (Hyla andersonii). The habitat is threatened by urban development -less than 10% of the pre-settlement ecotype remains intact. The remaining fragments of pine-dominated forests are important national gems worth exploring. They are also allegedly shelter for the legendary New Jersey Devil!

This is one of my favorite cryptids because the New Jersey Devil has a mythological provenance well over 250 years, with sightings stemming back to 1735. The Lenni Lenape natives coined the Pine Barrens area as Popuessing, translated as place of the dragon. The creature is usually described as a flying quadra-ped with hooves, with a horse or goat-like body, or kangaroo-like, with leathery bat-like wings, vestigial arms or claws, and glowing phosphorescent eyes. Wow!

The most famous accounts were hundreds of visual and audio sightings in January 1909, where people described hearing blood-curdling screams and seeing the illusive beast. Hundreds of livestock mutilations were reported. This all reminds me a bit of the great Puerto Rican Chupacabra scare of the mid-90’s. The descriptions of the Jersey Devil and El Chupacabra have some similarities. Why are so many cryptids described as being kangaroo-shaped? In Australia I wonder if cryptids are described as raccoon or coatimundi with leathery wings.





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