Legend tells of the fearsome chupacabra; a creature of terrifying visage, with large black eyes and dry scaly skin that sneaks into farms killing goats. Many people believe this is a long-standing and ancient myth, but they would be wrong.
According to “Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore,” by Benjamin Radford, editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the aforementioned version of the myth is relatively new. In fact, it allegedly came about in 1995, less than 20 years ago. The original version says that the chupacabra is actually a bird-like creature that sucks goat milk, not blood.
People have been seeing other legends, like Bigfoot, for a long time, and the stories rarely change so drastically. Why would the description of a chupacabra change from bird to canine-like creature so suddenly?
When people are frightened of something, or see something strange, they will pull at any string possible to explain it. The picture above is not a chupacabra, despite the fact that it looks almost exactly like the “chupacabra” captured in Texas. The creature in the picture is a hairless coyote.
Wild animals, including coyotes or dogs, can easily catch a parasite called a Sarcoptes scabiei mite, which causes the skin disease mange. This disease causes scaly skin, rashes, lesions and hair loss. In wild animals, since they don’t usually get treatment, the disease can even lead to death. It’s also contagious, explaining why several of these strange-looking canines can be found in one place.
The most recent chupacabra sighting was in Texas. The family that captured it insists that they’ve never seen such a creature and that it could only be the mythical chupacabra. Brent Ortega, Wildlife Diversity Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, had this to say, “The animal in the cage, as best as I can tell from the view, is some sort of a small canine.” Canines can include dogs, foxes and coyotes.
The Texas chupacabra was lucky. The people who found him caught him by peaceful means. Most are not as fortunate. In 2011 a 13-year-old, shot and killed what he thought was a chupacabra. In February of this year, another Texas family claimed to have killed one of the mythical creatures. In 2010, it was a man from Kentucky. Almost as long as people have been talking about the chupacabra, people have been killing creatures that they believe fit the bill.
The chupacabra is a relatively new creature of myth, its original form being that of a bird. Unfortunately for the animals being killed in the creature’s place, fear is stronger than fact.