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“Chupacabra” Sighting: Truth Behind the Mythical Beasts

A mythical monster has reared its head again: the chupacabra. A family in Picayune, Mississippi, has captured video of a “chupacabra” recently near their home and posted it online, according to the news station WLOX.

The family soon discovered others had noticed the mysterious animal, including Amanda Denton, who told Jackson’s Clarion-Ledger: “We’ve been running back and forth to our cars because we didn’t want the chupacabra to get us.”

In reality, this odd beast poses no threat to humans—it’s actually a coyote with mange. (See “Chupacabra Science: How Evolution Made a Mythical Monster.”)

Stories of animals that suck the blood of livestock have exploded in Mexico, the U.S. Southwest, and even China since the mid-1990s, when the chupacabra, or chupacabras, was first reported in Puerto Rico (map).

In almost all these cases, the monsters have turned out to be coyotes suffering from very severe cases of mange, a painful, potentially fatal skin disease that can cause the animals’ hair to fall out and skin to shrivel, among other symptoms, National Geographic News reported in 2010. (Related: “‘Balding’ Bears: Mangy Mystery in Florida.”)

For some scientists, this explanation for supposed chupacabras is sufficient. “I don’t think we need to look any further or to think that there’s yet some other explanation for these observations,” Barry OConnor, a University of Michigan entomologist who has studied Sarcoptes scabiei, the parasite that causes mange, said in 2010.

Likewise, wildlife-disease specialist Kevin Keel has seen images of an alleged chupacabra corpse and clearly recognized it as a coyote, but said he could imagine how others might not.

“It still looks like a coyote, just a really sorry excuse for a coyote,” said Keel, of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study at the University of Georgia.

“I wouldn’t think it’s a chupacabras if I saw it in the woods, but then I’ve been looking at coyotes and foxes with mange for a while. A layperson, however, might be confused as to its identity.”

As for the Mississippi coyote, it’s probably more visible to people because it’s been rummaging for garbage and pet food.

Master Sergeant David Burnette told the Clarion-Ledger that the coyote is “probably sick, weak, and not able to hunt on its own, so it’s going to the nearest food source it can find.”

Tell us: Have you seen a chupacabra? 

Follow Christine Dell’Amore on Twitter and Google+.

Ker Than contributed to this report.


  1. Cheryl B. Montoya
    San Antonio TX
    February 14, 2015, 8:18 pm

    Several years ago I saw a feature on Unsolved Mysteries about the chupacabra; up until then I’d never heard of such a thing; I had a pretty good idea that somebody from around here who had also watched Unsolved Mysteries the night before was going to call in with a report of a chupacabra sighting; guess what — somebody did; claimed that a chupacabra had come to a small farm where they lived and attacked some of their chickens; after they became overwhelmed by the success of their hoax, they admitted that the culprit(s) might have been a pack of wild dogs.

  2. Judy
    Northern Arkansas
    July 20, 2014, 12:09 pm

    I was at a friends house last night and she showed me an animal she had shot. It was in her hen house. It was definitely a chupacabra, no doubt in my mind. And this is no coyote or dog with mange. These things are real!

  3. Joaquin
    April 10, 2014, 3:16 pm

    I think that this is the real chupacabras, maybe he is not a mythical beast but he is not a normal dog.

  4. Naza
    Córdoba, Argentina
    April 10, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Thats so incredible!!! i have never seen a chupacabra!!!

    North Carolina
    January 11, 2014, 10:41 am

    I saw 3 of them together in 1989… here is the full story

  6. advice
    December 10, 2013, 12:11 pm

    everybody go to sleep or the cupacabra will get u 🙁

  7. Sohail Saha
    November 29, 2013, 11:23 am

    Has anyone ever seen a Yeti, or does anybody have a prove???

  8. Senad B.
    November 26, 2013, 3:51 am

    Hello i got a news today that In Bosnia Herzegowina one Hunter shot a unknown animal thta looks like chupacabra!!!
    Here the link with picture : http://otocani.net/bosanska-otoka/2113-dosad-nevi%C4%91en-ulov-u-bosanskoj-otoci.html

  9. chris
    November 22, 2013, 2:18 am

    it looks like a XOLOESCUINCLE & kind of hated …a relationated news i saw on tv … about someone claiming to kill the chupacabra & was actually a XOLOESCUINCLE :/

  10. Travis
    tx granbury
    November 21, 2013, 11:06 am

    I agree with neil thats just a hairless dog

  11. Neil
    November 6, 2013, 3:06 pm

    people see a hairless dog and what they do… IT”S A CHUPACABRA!!!
    too much superstitious 🙁

  12. Laura
    East Texas
    November 3, 2013, 1:04 pm

    I have a picture of the creature you described. Looks like a coyote with severe mange. Saw it dead on the side of the road at a stop sign

  13. Doc_Anchovy
    Eureka, CA
    November 2, 2013, 6:18 am

    Just a sick, almost dead, dog.

    Just uneducated, superstitious, humans.

  14. Ima Ryma
    November 1, 2013, 4:20 am

    The chupacabra got its name
    From humans who did swear they’d seen
    A spiny creature with the fame
    As killing, blood sucking machine.
    The “monsters” humans think they see,
    Running wild in the countryside,
    Are animals, hurt and sickly,
    Last gasps of living till they died.
    The real monsters are human kind,
    Don’t look so scary till too late.
    These are the monsters of a mind
    To make a life sucked away fate.

    A chupacabra – what it be?
    A sick and mangy coyote.

    • Christine Dell'Amore
      November 1, 2013, 10:19 am

      Thanks Ima. I feel bad for these coyotes, they lead such hard lives.

  15. Mridul
    November 1, 2013, 3:57 am

    Come to India, you will see same animals in the streets. It is nothing it’s just a diseased dog or a fox.

  16. Ben
    October 31, 2013, 6:27 pm

    This is nothing other than a misshapen dog.