A Texas couple has captured what is being called a baby chupacabra, the legendary animal said to roam the countryside in search of blood. The "Ratcliffe chupacabra," as it's been dubbed, was found Sunday in a tree on the couple's property in Ratcliffe, Texas. But upon closer examination, it becomes clear that the mysterious creature couldn't possibly be the legendary beast.
The defining feature of the chupacabra is that it's a vampire: Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, named so because it is said to drain the blood from animals such as goats, chickens and other livestock.
The news and video footage of the small, hairless, caged animal went viral and left countless people scratching their heads, wondering if a chupacabra (unlike Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster) has finally been caught. "In Dewitt County, (Texas), most people are convinced this is the elusive chupacabra," said a reporter with KAVU News, an ABC affiliate based in Victoria, Texas, though a wildlife biologist suggested it might be a dog or coyote. Still, others are not convinced. [Bigfoot to Chupacabra: Our 10 Favorite Monsters]
So, is this animal the elusive chupacabra? It's clear that it's not, because video of the creature broadcast on KAVU clearly shows the Ratcliffe chupacabra doesn't have the anatomical mouth features that would allow it to suck blood, from goats or anything else.
Like several other "chupacabras" found in Texas and elsewhere in recent years, a simple look at the mouth demonstrates that it is physically impossible for the animals to suck blood. The mouth and jaw structures of raccoons, dogs and coyotes prevent them from creating a seal around their victims, and, therefore, physically prevents them from sucking the blood out of goats or anything else. This Ratcliffe chupacabra was not seen nor videotaped sucking blood from anything.
What is it?
So, if the mysterious animal is not a chupacabra, then what is it?
The most likely answer is that it's a raccoon. Animals that have lost most or all of their hair can be very difficult to identify correctly, for the simple reason that people are not used to seeing the animals without hair.