The "Montauk Monster" may just be a bag of bones by now, but the people who know where it is aren't saying.
The riddle of the beaked beast found on a upscale East Hampton, N.Y., beach in mid-July got even trickier Thursday as various experts weighed in — and its "discoverers" revealed they might have something mysterious of their own planned.
First, "Animal Planet" wildlife expert Jeff Corwin appeared on FOX News Channel to proclaim that we're all suckers.
"What you think is a beak is actually the canine teeth," Corwin told Bill Hemmer and Megyn Kelly. "What we have is an incredibly rare" — dramatic pause — "raccoon."
New York magazine contacted the East Hampton Department of Environmental Analysis, which denied the town's animal-control unit had disposed of the beast.
"It's a raccoon," Margaret Carry-Smyth told the magazine.
Later in the day, the three women who said they'd come across the purplish flotsam a few weeks ago showed off a second snapshot of it on a digital camera.
"It exists," Rachel Goldberg, Courtney Fruin and Jenna Hewitt asserted on local cable channel Plum TV, denying suspicions that they'd Photoshopped a picture of a dead dog.
But pressed by interviewer Nick Leighton about where the animal was now, the semi-glamorous trio suddenly got cagey.
"It decomposed in our friend's back yard," said Goldberg. "It's been since removed ... by friends of ours."
"You're a little shady with the details," observed Leighton. "You planning to write a book about this?"
Goldberg only shrugged and nodded with a faint smile.
"We're hoping to have scientists contact us to find out what it is," she conceded. "It's in a box."
To complicate matters, Alanna Nevitski, who e-mailed the original photo that started the whole brouhaha, told New York magazine the three women were "full of" what dogs and raccoons produce a lot of, and that they had nothing to do with the picture.
The trio's elusive friend apparently popped up on one of FOX News Channel's rivals, where reporter Jeanne Moos played a video she'd gotten from a young surfer-dude type who said the carnivorous corpse was in his back yard.
"We're gonna try to have some experts analyze it," Davis said as his buddies used a stick to hold up what looked like bones with skin still attached. "It's a really cool beast."
Meanwhile, the marketing team for a new energy drink called Venom threw up a blog offering a lifetime supply of their product for anyone who captured a live Montauk Monster.
Finally, a third, better picture of the bloated body showed up on New York Newsday, whose site appeared to have crashed from all the excitement.
• Click here for the Jeff Corwin interview on FOX News Channel.