Move over Bigfoot, because there's another mythical beast that's been stealing your headlines in recent years -- the Chupacabra. The name is derived from combining the Spanish words chupar (to suck) and cabra (goat). The story is that this beast likes to suck the blood from livestock, especially goats.
The Chupacabra is especially popular in Hispanic lore, but sightings of the beast have supposedly been made as far north as Maine and as far south as Chile. Sightings have also been made in Puerto Rico and, believe it or not, in Russia.
In Texas, strange-looking animals were found and thought to be Chupacabras in 2004, 2007 and 2009. But after genetic tests were done on the animals, they turned out to be coyotes with a kind of mange that caused them to lose their hair.
In the last couple of weeks, another "Chupacabra" was found in Wise county, Texas. The dead animal (pictured) was definitely not a coyote or a dog. It was hairless, but had died in good health. Naturally, the rumors began to spread that at last a Chupacabra had been found.
But it was not to be. State biologist Jennifer Barrow said, "It was a raccoon, no doubt about it. It's feet were a real giveaway. It had long toes, narrow feet. . .everything right for a raccoon. He didn't appear to be sick -- except that he was dead. But he wasn't skinny. He had real smooth skin."
Barrow didn't know how the animal had died, but theorized that it has fallen into the nearby lake during freezing weather and died. She said the extremely cold water preserved the body, and after a while caused the hair to fall out.
So the Chupacabra, like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, remains a myth. I suspect it always will.