Two weeks ago, news erupted about a hairless animal shot by a hunter in Kentucky, which many say could be the mysterious chupacabra. After rounds of testing, officials at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife declared the animal as a hairless raccoon.
The chupacabra, which in Spanish literally means “goat sucker,” has been a mystery since 1995. The creature is said to appear like a dog–or a small bear–with rows of spine from the base of the neck to the tips of the tail. It is notorious for attacking livestock, their favorite being goats, which it lets them bleed until completely dried out of blood. Since it was first reported in Puerto Rico, the chupacabra has since been spotted on Mexico and parts of the United States.
After it was identified as a raccoon, scientists now begin to study the animal further to solve the mystery as to why it is losing hair. They have wiped out the possibility of mange, which was the case of chupacabras found in Western US that are mainly coyotes suffering from the disease. In the case of this raccoon, the hair loss is being linked to a condition similar to alopecia in humans, although possibilities of trauma, a genetic defect, or even a virus spread, are not far behind.
But with the case of “found” animals that are said to be chupacabras, from mangy coyotes in California to strange-looking dogs in Texas to hairless raccoons in Kentucky, it is hard to explain why different species of animal have the same hairless appearance and thirst for blood.