"Bubba that looks like a baby chupacabra."
That's what Jackie Stock, resident of small-town Ratcliffe, TX, told her husband earlier this week. According a report by local Texas station KAVU-TV, Stock and her husband claim say they have finally discovered the legendary chupacabra* and that it is, in fact, alive in a cage in their back yard.
Unfortunately for the couple who now has this thing caged up in their backyard, there's pretty much no way it's the real deal.
Benjamin Radford, deputy editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine and author of six books including Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore, concludes that the Ratcliffe Chupa is just a weird looking dog or raccoon with a skin disease.
"I've seen the recent photos and it looks typical," Radford told Fusion. "The key to a chupacabra, in theory, is that it sucks blood. There's no reason to believe that there's anything vampiric about this animal."
If you need more evidence, Radford points to actual animals that feed on blood — think leeches, vampire bats and mosquitoes — all of which have a very specialized mouths that allow them to suck blood. Clearly, the hairless dog found in Ratcliffe does not share these anatomical features.
"It would be physically impossible for that animal to suck blood," Radford said. "That's not my opinion - it's just impossible."
Radford's illustration of the mythical chupacabra
"The myth of the chupacabra will probably be around forever," Radford says. "With the power of the internet, I guarantee that in 10 years when the next chupacabra sighting pops up, they'll cite this very news story from April 2014 and say, 'See! They exist!"
*Here is very useful guide to the "world’s best-known vampire after Dracula," for those who do not already know the story of the chupacabra.
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Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.