A Zebra Loose in Marietta?!

By: Bruce Layman
By: Bruce Layman

Just when you think you've heard it all, eyewitness reports are trickling in of a zebra that's loose in Marietta! Could it possibly be?

Here’s a story that you don’t hear everyday: sightings – actually multiple sightings - of a zebra roaming the streets of Marietta. 

That at least was the word last Friday from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. According to the WSCO, the zebra was seen by more than one person in more than one location.  That meant a high likelihood that this sighting was NOT the product of any “over-consumption” (you have to admit, you don’t hear about reports of zebras coming out of the dry city of Belpre!).  

A number of people in the newsroom, myself included, understandably were skeptical.  These zebra sightings surfaced almost a year to the day since the photos surfaced of the now debunked Calhoun County mountain lion myth.  You may recall the frenzy that followed when a photo began circulating of a hunter posing with his mountain lion “trophy” supposedly killed in Calhoun County.  While the photo was traced back to Arizona, WTAP still receives occasional questions from people wanting to know more about the mountain lion, including where in Calhoun County it was shot.

These Marietta zebra reports also brought back memories of “Buddy the Monkey,” who confounded Noble County deputies in July 2005 as they tracked down sightings and laid out bananas in hopes of recapturing the 18-pound primate who escaped from its owner.  Unlike the Calhoun County mountain lion, Buddy turned out to be real and was captured.

So far, no photos of this zebra have turned up.  In a world filled with camera phones and credit card-sized digital cameras, this seems somewhat strange.  So I decided Saturday to stroll the streets of Marietta to see what I could find.

The bad news, I did not find any evidence of the wayward zebra.  The good news is that I did discover evidence that a zebra sighting in Marietta might not be that far-fetched.

The first evidence actually occurred quite quickly.  It appeared to be a monkey (Buddy’s cousin?) sitting in a stairwell near the Washington County Court House.  Upon closer examination, two smaller monkeys appeared – an entire family – hiding in plain sight of mail carriers, shoppers and dozens of others driving by.  It truly is amazing what you can find when you really pay attention to the otherwise ordinary.  I hope these furry guests managed to find some place to spend the night, as it already was cold when I snapped this photo. 

With evidence that a family of monkeys could live on one of the main streets of Marietta, I was getting in my car when a SECOND unusual sighting occurred:

I still had my digital camera powered up and managed to get one shot off before this creature disappeared behind a row of columns.  Could this be the elusive zebra some have seen?  It didn’t look like a zebra, but perhaps it could be mistaken for one at night.

While my attempt turned up zero zebras, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t one playing hide and seek with Mariettans.  Please keep your cameras handy, as this animal evidently is pretty camera shy, and please share them with us at photos@wtap.com.  

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