They role-play on a Web site called “Furry MUCK,” a chat-room kingdom where users pretend they’re red-tailed hawks, foxes, and polar bears. His nametag reads, shaggy, but his real name is Mike.

A high number of furries are bearded and wear glasses. Not all the conventioneers want people to know their full names, lest their bosses or parents find out what they’re up to on the weekends.

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It’s how I was my whole life, and all of a sudden, I’m like, Wow, here’s a whole bunch of other people like this!

Having not come to it from the outside, I have difficulty saying what it actually is.

He was a chemist at the time, collecting dinosaur stuff on the side.

One day he went to a comic-book shop and discovered a furry comic-book series with sexy characters. This looks pretty much exactly what I’d like to read—I gotta have one of these,” he recalls.

Welcome to the world of “furries”: the thousands of Americans who’ve gotten in touch with their inner raccoon, or wolf, or fox.

Judging from the Midwest Fur Fest, this is no hobby.

A “furvert” is anyone who is sexually attracted to mascots and such.

Many furries have jobs related to science and computers.

He even wrote a plushie newsletter for a while, but gave it up. In a casual way, but not really seriously.”He goes into a store and purchases materials for a puppet-making workshop he is scheduled to lead the next day. The body, just the flesh, the general design, I just don’t like.”He says he’d prefer to be a lemur or a rabbit and still be intelligent and keep the opposable thumbs. ” I ask.“Everybody’s fucked up in some way, I think. It’s just more, you like this person because of who they are rather than for their body.

Back behind the wheel, Ostrich says, “I don’t like the human form. He thinks the technology will be available relatively soon to help him achieve this dream. And we find as the number of women increases, the number of people who thought they were gay but decided otherwise increases, too.

The moose—actually a man in a full-body moose costume—is here for a convention . Even the people in regular clothes have a little something (ferret hand puppet, rabbit ears) to set them apart from the ordinary hotel guests.