Saturday, November 6, 2010

Chupacabra and Mangy Coyotes

I do not have any problem identifying a medically challenged coyote or raccoon as a strange looking beastie.  Yet both are unable to drain blood from a carcass or likely to produce anything like the evidence associated with the Chupacabra phenomenon.

These critters kill and devour their prey in a pretty predictable and identifiable way.  Given a little time, they leave little behind.

That last thing left behind would be a full corpse drained of blood.  It would at least be working on entrails for high energy.

Thus we do have evidence of marauding coyotes and even raccoons who are hairless and this item makes it pretty clear what is doing them in.  Associating a rare sick carnivore with a blood sucking unknown critter is simply wrong.

As I have pointed out, the eye witness reports suggest a large vampire bat which has smaller cousins worldwide and which is clearly nocturnal. This also explains the lack of handy road kill and the like.  Someone is going to have to catch it at work and to gun it down with a shotgun before it becomes airborne.  It may simply be too quick of the mark.

Otherwise, searching large caves and the like is an option.

The 'monster' behind Chupacabra mystery

Sightings abound of hairless, fanged creature whose name means 'goat sucker'
By Wynne Parry

updated 10/30/2010

Sightings abound of a four-legged, hairless, fanged monster that kills and sucks the blood, and sometimes milk, from livestock in the United States and Latin America. Its name chupacabra literally means "goat sucker."

There is, in fact, a real monster behind the sightings, but it has eight legs, measures at most 0.02 inches long and burrows into skin, rather than sucking blood. Its name: Sarcoptes scabiei,the mite that causes scabies in humans … and coyotes.

The chupacabras themselves are actually coyotes with severe infections by these mites, called sarcoptic mange, according to Barry OConnor, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan

Infections in humans are usually mild, causing patches of itchy skin. Over our long evolutionary history with the mite, we have gained the ability to fight off the infections. Domesticated dogs and other animals have less experience with the mite than we do, and for them sarcoptic mange infections can be severe. But the prospects are much worse for their wild relatives who have no experience with the disease, and it often kills them, he said.

"To me, the most interesting aspect of this whole system is the fact we are talking about a human parasite that has moved from us onto other animals, as opposed to all the things that have gone in the other direction," OConnor told LiveScience.

Reports of chupacabras began in Puerto Rico in 1995, where the creature was said to stand on two legs and have spines on its back. Sightings spread, with reports of the creature being spotted elsewhere, particularly Mexico, where it was described as a four-legged animal, but still hairless and ugly. People began taking pictures, which, according to OConnor, revealed the truth.

"The photos clearly show coyotes or dogs with very severe sarcoptic mange," he said.
The mites burrow into the animals' skin causing them to lose their hair and provoking an immune response that causes their skin to become thickened and ugly. Their faces swell, and their canine teeth become more prominent, resembling fangs. Weakened by the infection, they may be more prone to attack livestock, rather than their usual prey, such as rabbits, he said.

There is evidence for other sources as well. A strange, hairless carcass found on a golf course in Texas was dubbed a chupacabra. But a wildlife biologist examination revealed a close resemblance to a raccoon. The creature also apparently suffered from several diseases that can cause hair loss.

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