Baby chupacabra or common raccoon? (w/video)
RATCLIFFE - Jackie Stock woke up in the middle of the night last week to her husband, Arnold, saying he may have trapped a baby chupacabra.
"He was charred grey and was by our squirrel feeder," Stock said.
The odd-looking animal attracted national attention because of its vague resemblance to a mythical creature rooted in Mexican folklore. The likely truth is much less exciting.
"To me, it looked like a raccoon with severe mange," said Rex Mays, a game warden supervisor covering a five-county area. "It looks like a raccoon to me."
Regardless, Stock said, she and her husband plan to have the animal stuffed by a taxidermist and sell it over the Internet.
"This animal has a growl that's not like a raccoon, and its eyes don't shine at night," Stock said. "Its feces is also not like a raccoon."
The outside of the Stocks' home was decorated with Christmas decorations, and the animal was kept in a cage on a bright red front porch.
Stock started feeding "Chupie," as she called the animal, dog food after she ran out of cat food.
Raccoon feces tends to vary depending on what the animal has consumed, May said.
Mike Cox, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said, "Our biologists put no faith whatsoever in chupacabra sightings."
Chupacabras exist only in the imaginations of those familiar with the South Texas folkloric creature, Cox said.
"Sometimes, we all just need chupacabras in our lives," Cox said. "They help lighten what is a pretty serious world sometimes."
A similar looking animal found in 2011 in Vero Beach, Fla., was discovered to be a hairless raccoon and was relocated to a wildlife sanctuary.