Lately, there’s been a flurry of Chupacabra-related news coming out of Bridgeport, TX, a burg of 5,800 inhabitants 45 miles from Fort Worth that, up until this point, was known chiefly as the site where a toll bridge was built across the Trinity River in 1860 to facilitate the St. Louis-to-San Francisco stagecoach route. But forget about that, thanks to the discovery in January on a local golf course of a peculiarly hairless, pointy-snouted, sharp-toothed animal carcass that the local newspaper, the Wise County Messenger, described as an “alleged chupacabra.” The Messenger went on to quote the discoverer, one Tony Potter:

“This is a weird little critter,” Potter said. “This is not a coyote. This is not a dog.” He considered that it might be a hairless raccoon, but it bears little resemblance. Potter pointed out that despite the lack of hair the animal does not have any lesions indicative of mange to explain the hair loss. He showed the animal to several people in town and took it to a veterinarian in Bridgeport, but no one was able to identify the species.

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We had hopes that this find might actually be tangible evidence of the apocryphal goat-sucking predator that first became an object of fear and fascination in Puerto Rico, Mexico and the southwestern U.S. in the mid-1990s. But that optimism was dashed, in short order, by a subsequent report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that state wildlife biologist Jennifer Barrow had concluded — based on examination of the skull and feet — that the purported chupacabra was, in fact, a raccoon. The creature’s hairlessness, however, was not easily explainable, since it had no signs of mange or other illness. Barrow hypothesized that the, er… raccoonacabra had fallen into a nearby lake and drowned, and that the cold water somehow caused the fur to fall off.

True, that vague explanation sounds suspiciously like a government misinformation campaign, but we’ll accept it for now. Bridgeport nevertheless, is reveling in its newfound international notoriety (Google reveals that the incident prompted about two dozen articles on Spanish-language websites as far away as Peru). In addition to the obligatory souvenir t-shirts, a local veterinary clinic put up a roadside sign message offering to give vaccinations to chupacabras.

Paranatural: Chupacabra premieres on Tuesday, February 23 at 9P et/pt.

Comments

  1. shabbychic
    February 24, 2010, 1:39 am

    Before I started working at Nat Geo–I had never heard of the Chupacabra.

    Then I saw this show: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/is-it-real/2509/Overview

    Ever since I’ve been fascinated! So glad that we’re doing another show.

  2. Woody22
    February 24, 2010, 5:44 am

    well i can say that I’m a guy who many of my friends say I’m a dog man and knows his dogs. A few years back i was in Mexico, friends of mine showed me a dog that is know to be a breed that is very old. This dog resembles the chupacabra as in the skin and color but not the snout. I was told that it was an ancient breed and it was a delicacy.. go figure, anyways i dont remeber the name and will investigate. Maybe its the same dog crossed with something else idk…..

  3. MarkVanDine
    February 24, 2010, 1:15 pm

    That raccoon story sounds suspicious … the snout seems too elongated for that sort of rodent. And remember that the original zombie outbreak in ‘Resident Evil’ happens in Raccoon City. Coincidence? I think not.

  4. danacorby
    February 24, 2010, 6:10 pm

    Oh, horsefeathers! It’s a dog. There is a breed of dog originally from Peru that’s hairless except for tufts on its head, feet and sometimes tail (and sometimes not even there) has dark gray skin, big ears and a long nose with an overbite, and sometimes has blue eyes. They are nocturnal (or kept indoors by their owners)because they sunburn badly. According to the research I did after last night’s show, they are becoming very popular in North American and there’s a breeder in Texas. Coincidence? I think not. Google ‘Cusco>hairless dog’ and read all about it. Or keep believing they’re demon goatsuckers from outer space.

  5. stevenfirst
    February 7, 2011, 10:42 pm

    I really think we have a live picture of what maybe a chupacabra. we took the picture while the animal was lying in a field. At first we thought it might be a sick looking cyote, but then it got up and totally looked like a animal we seen on one of tv shows of the chupacabra. It look’s hairless, the tail is long and hairless, long snout, long thin hair sparse on top of head. The area was along the Colorado river on the California side 6 miles north of Big River RV Park. I have 2 pic

  6. COY POOLE
    NC
    January 11, 10:46 am

    I saw 3 of them together in 1989

  7. Ralph Brew
    Adelaide, Australia
    December 18, 4:31 pm

    I know that monsters of legend persist in popular consciousness, but if people are finding hairless dogs that hunt in the night and suck blood, well is that really any great mystery?
    Personally I think it is pretty obvious that a landrace version of the Mexican Crested or Hairless Dog is hiding out and surviving. As they have no sweat glands or very few and no fur, they can’t do temperature control very well or protect themselves in the sun. Hence hunting only at night. But you know that’s pretty normal for many carnivores. The blood sucking thing is no mystery. It’s exactly what foxes do with poultry. It is fast, low weight material which is easily regurgitated for a litter of pups that not only need nutrients but water as well, especially in semi desert conditions. I just real sorry for the poor buggers who got landed with the genes for hairlessness, due to the selective breeding of dogs in the Mixtec Empire for hairless, non smelly bed companions.