Chupacabra

I was really into crypto-zoology when I was a teen. You know what that stage is like, you believe whatever is more fun to believe. Thank FSM I got out before this whole “chupacabra” nonsense.

As Ben Radford pointed out on his Monster Talk podcast, there are a number of different theories about what the chupacabra is, what it does and what it’s supposed to look like. Unlike bigfoot, the crypto community hasn’t settled on a description of chupacabra. That means that every time something weird is discovered, somebody say, “It’s chupacabra!”

Hospital workers outside of Washington D.C. manage to trap an odd looking critter, which NBC Washington has naturally labeled the mythical chupacabra. My first guess is that it’s a fox with mange or something similar.

  • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com/ Custador

    Looks like a giant, bald rat to me. They do exist.

  • Francesco

    the chupacabra is actually a bat (or at least here in Italy we describe it as such) which feeds on goat and/or sheeps, commonly found in Sardegna (one fo the two main islands of italy)

  • UrsaMinor

    I wish they’d showed us the paws and teeth, but it appears to be a canid. My money is on the red fox (Vulpes vulpes), as every bit of its anatomy that I can see is consistent with this. Granted, the tail is a bit long (typically it is two-thirds to three-quarters of the spinal length in a red fox), but it doesn’t seem to be outside the range of normal variation.

    Another diagnostic for foxes is the odor, which unfortunately is not well-captured by the video.

    As far as I can tell, no one made a serious effort to identify it when they had it trapped, because that would have spoiled the glamour of having a chupacabra.

  • Tyrrlin

    It sure looks like a fox with mange (and a really long tail) to me. The ears are the right size and shape, and the paws are definitely paws, not hooves. Also, it was lured in by leftover chicken, with would attract a carnivore/omnivore rather than a herbivore. In the few seconds of video showing it running away, you do see a small tuft of light-colored hair on the very tip of it’s tail, much like the tip of a fox’s tail.

    The comments on the website are amusing. The ears are wrong for a opossum or a raccoon, both of which have a much smaller ear-to-skull ratio than a fox (and an opossum’s ears are round, not pointed). The tail is too long and the paws (not hooves) eliminate the possibility of it being an ungulate like a deer. The nose appears to be more canine than rodent, the canine nose extends further up the muzzle, and is usually black and textured, while the rodent nose sits closer to the lips, more similar to a cat’s nose.

    But hey, if someone *believes* it’s a chupacabra, whatever that is, I guess my observational evidence pointing elsewhere doesn’t mean very much. The simplest way to have figured out what the creatre is would have been to take it to a vet.

    • Tyrrlin

      Argh, “its tail” not “it’s tail” and “an opossum” not “a opossum” and I misspelled “creature” in the last sentence. I can’t believe I did that. Never post before coffee. :-P

  • Michael

    I’m nearly certain it is a fox. It has to be a caniform, for the reasons expressed above (I suppose it could be a rodent, but the muzzle looks all wrong to me), but it seems to be digitigrade, which means it is a canid. The only canids its appearance is at all consistent with are foxes and jackals, but jackals don’t live in North America and tend to be much larger, so it is presumably a fox.

    Unfortunately, there are dozens of species of foxes, and there isn’t enough in the video to positively determine which it is, especially since it has lost most of its hair (probably due to mange, as vorjack said). I guess the red fox is a good guess.

    And yeah, that is one ugly animal.

    • UrsaMinor

      There are only a few species of foxes in North America, and this animal was found smack in the middle of the Eastern Seaboard range of the red fox. Others like the kit fox and the swift fox are only found farther west.

  • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com Gringa

    Chupacabra literally means “goat sucker” in spanish, fyi. That bat theory sounds plausible.

  • psufreak100

    I’m no animal expert but that does not look like a fox to me… looks like a mini kangaroo with longer front legs/arms

    • UrsaMinor

      It doesn’t move at all like a kangaroo. Watch the hind legs when it leaves the cage.

    • http://www.dctouristsandlocals.wordpress.com Gringa

      I’m going with the giant rat vote.

      • UrsaMinor

        Rats have hairless tails. This thing had a tuft of fur on one end.

        I really wish we could have seen its teeth.

  • exfundy

    Whatever it is, what he really wanted was a cigarette!

  • thin-ice

    My vote: it’s an acolyte of Rick Perry’s New Apostolic Reformation movement. I’ve never seen one in person, but I’ve read about their “mangy” appearance and preference for red meat, and their desire to slink around unnoticed by the mainstream media.

  • vasaroti

    Oh, goody, this idiot who failed biology forever is in the health profession.
    There are a number of reasons why a dog/fox/coyote – or any mix thereof- might have alopecia. There are also nearly hairless dogs, such as the Xoloitzcuintle.
    Google “hairless fox” and look at the photos you get.

    To an animal lover, the nasty comments and ignorance relating to this fox are extremely depressing. Try to imagine the next 10 people you meet naked, and I’m guessing “kill it now!” will be your response at least once.


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