Monday, April 7, 2014

Return of the Chupacabra, Part 8: What's Your Problem, Texas?

Here’s an interesting video of a strange hairless critter captured alive by someone in Texas. Some folks are calling it a Chupacabra. Others say it’s a raccoon or coyote with mange. Now, I’m not saying it’s a blood-sucking monster from folklore. In fact, I think that’s somewhat irrelevant, and only going to get in the way of our ability to respond rationally to whatever they are.

Watch it use its’ paws to pick up the food - that’s kinda cute, and suggests raccoon rather than coyote, in my very unqualified opinion.
  • (As a side note, the news commentators in the video have an amusingly obvious bias. The man who could otherwise be paraphrased as "it's not like any raccoon or possum I've ever seen or heard" is immediately characterized as if he skeptically meant the opposite.  Not that I don't have just as bad of a bias in the other direction, myself, but then I'm not getting paid to pretend to be objective or professional here. Ahem. )
What’s interesting to me is that Texas has brought in at least 8 of these critters in the past 7 years (and only the lastest captured alive), and they’re no where else (in the US at least, and at least as far as I can tell).  Here’s a little timeline quoted from the last time I blogged about them:
Three were found as roadkill in Cuero, Texas in 2007. One was killed when a family in Blanco, TX, put down poison in their barn to kill whatever had been attacking their livestock in 2009. Now in 2010, there's two shot to death within a week of each other in different locations in Hood County, TX.
A quick google search tells me there was another one shot and killed in July 2011 as well.

Maybe it’s a new species of raccoon or fox. Maybe it’s a new species of mange parasite. What’s your problem, Texas?

Disturbing chupacabra photo gallery

To be honest, these animals don’t look at all to me like the disturbing photos of dogs with mange I’ve seen, but I’m no expert… and I have thankfully never experienced mange up close and petable. It looks bloody painful. If you’ve got the stomach for it, compare that gallery to this:  deeply disturbing image search for mange.  They just don't look like the same thing to me.
 EDIT: It does, however, look a lot like what you see if you just shave certain animals. NSFW googling 'shaved bear'

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