Chupacabra ‘sightings’ in Texas create stir

A barn in Hood County, Texas, has become ground zero in the hunt for the chupacabra.

Earlier this week, animal control officer Frank Hackett shot and killed what was unquestionably one of the ugliest creatures to ever walk the planet. That much we know. What’s less clear is whether or not the departed creature was the elusive goat-sucking beast.

Interestingly, that wasn’t the only chupacabra sighting around Hood County. A second creature was spotted and killed several miles away. Both appear to be either hairless coyotes, extremely ugly dogs, or, who knows? Maybe the thing they call el chupacabra.

In the wake of the discovery, Web searches on “chupacabra sightings” and “chupacabra texas” both roared to life, as did Web lookups for “chupacabra translation” and “chupacabra definition.” According to Virtue Science, the name literally translates to “goat sucker.” Legend states that the beast would attack goats and suck their blood. Think of them as a less sexy version of “Twilight”‘s infamous vampire Edward Cullen.

Officer Hackett was careful not to say whether or not this is really the mysterious beast. He’s going to wait for the DNA tests before he makes up his mind. There is one thing he does know: “It wasn’t normal.” And another officer on the scene commented that she’d “never seen anything like it.”

you can watch the locals discuss their findings, but beware. The images of the creature are quite nasty.

The chupacabra found in Texas this week and killed by an animal control officer appears to be yet another case of mistaken identity.

“It’s your typical mangy canid,” says Loren Coleman, who heads the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine and has researched the legend of the chupacabra, which means “goat-sucker” in Spanish. “It’s probably a coyote with mange.”

In a video report this week, San Antontio-based WOAI.com reported that a Hood County rancher heard a growl come from his barn. When he looked inside, “he saw the ugliest creature he’s ever seen. An animal officer came out, pulled the trigger, killing what some believe is the mythical or mystical goat-sucker.”

“All I know is, it wasn’t normal,” Frank Hackett, the Hood County Animal Control officer who killed the beast, said in the TV report. “It was ugly, real ugly, and I’m not going to lie on that one.”

DNA tests are now being done on the animal.

The Hood County Animal Control office declined to take questions from the Monitor today, redirecting all queries to the office of Chief Deputy George “Biff” Temple, who did not return a phone call.

This was by no means the first chupacabra sighting in Texas. DNA tests on similar looking animals found on separated occasions in 2004 revealed them to be coyoties. In January, CBS News reported that several golf course workers found the corpse of a chupacabra.

But Mr. Coleman, author of more than 30 books on mythical creatures, including “Cryptozoology A To Z: The Encyclopedia of Loch Monsters, Sasquatch, Chupacabras, and Other Authentic Mysteries of Nature,” says the most recent chupacabra sighting is only another case of media hype.

Most sightings, he says, turn out to be dogs, foxes, or coyotes with mange – the skin disease caused by parasitic mites.

“There is absolutely nothing complex, nothing unexplainable, nothing mysterious about them,” he says. “What is mysterious is that the media keeps writing about them.”

Most of the chupacabra sightings have been in the US or Latin America, and are believed to have begun in Puerto Rico. But the Americas aren’t the only places with a fetish for mythical creatures.

In April it was revealed that a former Scottish police chief took measures to protect the Loch Ness Monster. Earlier that same month, China captured the so-called “Oriental Yeti,” which was really no than a common civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) or a masked or Himalayan palm civet (Paguma larvata) that had lost its hair because of a bad case of mange.

The latest supposed chupacabra sighting in Texas appears to be a coyote, says Coleman, reached by phone.

“A lot of people seem unaware of how strange coyotes look without hair,” he says. “Coyotes have a bushy coat and very pronounced nose. But as soon as they lose their hair they look extremely weird and strange to people.”

At the Animal Care and Control Division in the nearby City of Forth Worth, there are no calls on record of chupacabra sightings.

“I have never, ever, ever heard of that in my life,” says division spokesman Bill Begley.

“They say that it is real,” says another employee. “It’s an ugly animal, I’ll tell you that much.”

Posted in Odd News, Odd Stuff & News, Off Topic.

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