Are Chupacabras Real? And If Not, Why Do People Keep Seeing Them?

When a family from Picayune, Miss. returned home from a boating trip, they came across what they believe was a chupacabra. When representatives from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks arrived, the creature was nowhere to be found. However, the family managed to capture a video of the creature before it disappeared: 

WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

The chupacabra, which literally translates to "goat sucker" in Spanish, is a mythical creature that is believed to suck the blood from livestock. In recent years, they have been purportedly spotted everywhere from Redlands, Calif. to Cuero, Texas. However, many are hesitant to identify these creatures as chupacabras. In the segment above, officials from the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks suggest that the creature is more likely a coyote with mange, and that the animal's poor health has forced it to resort to eating garbage and pet food in order to survive.

When humans are infected with the mite that causes mange, they develop scabies. However, coyotes have not evolved to deal with the mite. When infected, their hair falls out and their skin shrivels up, leaving them to look like the animal in the video.  Furthermore, Barry OConnor, an entomologist who studies the parasite that causes mange, says, "Animals with mange are often quite debilitated, and if they're having a hard time catching their normal prey, they might choose livestock, because it's easier."

While this explains why the animals tend to target livestock, or in the Picayune case, why la chupacabra has been haunting the community in search of food, it does not explain the mythology surrounding the vampiric desanguination. OConnor chucks the purported blood-sucking up to a "pure myth."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Keith Grubb

A graduate of Harvard College who studied English Literature and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Keith loves thinking about the world through an intersectionally feminist lens. One of these days he will move to D.C., but until then he is spending time reconnecting with friends, family, climbable trees, and cornfields.

MORE FROM

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.

Hillary Clinton says Republicans will be the "death party" if they pass health care bill

Hillary Clinton spoke out against the Republican's proposed bill on Twitter.

It's time to redefine the clitoris, according to sex education experts

"Words matter. They shape and mold our ideas and beliefs about our purpose, our bodies, our self-worth and our place in the world around us."

Al-Jazeera becomes a target amid Qatar diplomatic crisis

Gulf states are demanding the broadcaster be shut down.

5 blocks of London apartments to be evacuated over potentially flammable cladding

800 North London apartments will be evacuated following a fire inspection that turned up evidence that the buildings could be unsafe.

Tomi Lahren wants to rally women to her side after criticizing feminists and "pro-choicers"

"My view on abortion is not black-and-white," Lahren said.

These 5 states are drafting laws to limit protests on college campuses

The legislation is intended to protect free speech on campus.