KAVU-TV

No, it hasn’t.

A Texas couple claims to have captured a living chupacabra in their backyard. Seriously. It isn’t even April Fools Day anymore. Here’s the report that aired on the local news channel, KAVU-TV:

For those of you who don’t know what a chupacabra is, here’s a little cryptozoology history. Sightings of the rumored chupacabra began nearly 20 years ago in 1995. A woman in Puerto Rico claimed that a 5-foot-tall hairless creature that looks like a combination of a reptile/dog/alien kills livestock by biting the neck and sucking the blood out. In fact, the creature’s name actually translates to its alleged diet. Chupar is Spanish for “to suck” while cabra means “goat.” And so, the first stories that emerged about the so-called “goat sucker” include a creature that is rarely seen, but leaves a trail of dead livestock in its wake.

The chupacabra, as it was first described, looked like this:

Chupacabra drawing. Credit: LeCire, WikiMedia Commons

A few years after the first “eyewitness” report, the chupacabra’s appearance began to evolve. It shrunk from a tall, spiked “Creature From the Black Lagoon” type into a hairless canine-like species. Witnesses began to note losses in their livestock. The animals weren’t completely eaten, but did suffer bite marks to the neck, feeding fuel to the hypothesis that the chupacabra sucked blood. 

Before the most recent case in Texas, there hadn’t been any live captures of the animal. Deceased specimens that were thought to be evidence of the chupacabra actually turned out to be coyotes or wolves with mange, resulting in a loss of their hair. Mange can also be extremely itchy, resulting in animals who would rather scratch than try to find food. This, combined with a decline in overall health, could explain why these hairless animals target livestock: it’s just easier. Also, their poor health might prevent them from successfully taking down and eating the animal. Thus, all that is left on the livestock would be bite marks on the neck. Many animals attack the neck first, because that is the most vulnerable. 

Though the animal in the video was described as being a canine, that’s probably not the case. The wildlife expert who commented had only seen the animal through video and had not observed it in person for himself. The feet and eating habits very closely resemble members of the raccoon family, but it could very well be a hybrid of two species as well. Most animals suspected to be chupacabras have been hybrids of coyotes and wolves. 

Those who believe it is a chupacabra claim that the animal looks a bit too docile to have mange, but it could also have lost its hair due to a genetic mutation. DNA testing will need to be conducted in order to be sure of the creature’s identity and any malady it may have. But let’s get real here for a second—this is not a goddamn chupacabra. 

The couple claims that the animal was spotted sitting up in a tree, eating corn. Does that really sound like the behavior of a blood-sucking monster? I know that the neighbor said in the interview that he has never seen a raccoon like that or heard it make that sound, but there’s a hell of a difference between someone who hunts them on occasion and someone who actually keeps them alive and studies them. 

Until the animal is identified, it will remain at the couple’s home where it is fed corn and cat food. There hasn’t been any information released on if it has been moved to a larger cage or if it is still confined to the small trap that it was originally caught in on Sunday night.

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