Nov
04
2007

Oh, snap! The Cuero Chupacabra is a sick coyote!

Sure, it's cute now: But wait until all its hair falls out, and it's draining chickens of their blood.  (photo courtesy of Harold Jarche on flickr.com)
Sure, it's cute now: But wait until all its hair falls out, and it's draining chickens of their blood. (photo courtesy of Harold Jarche on flickr.com)
Science! Oh no you didn’t! You had to go and ruin the latest chupacabra.

That’s right, crypto-enthusiasts, you heard it here first (unless you heard it from an actual news source): The Cuero chupacabra is, in fact, a coyote with hair loss problems.

Click on “Cuero chupacabra” above for some background, but the story, in a nutshell, is this: a rash of suspicious chicken murders in Cuero, Texas, were followed up by the discovery several suspicious-looking animal corpses. Some of the locals believed that these animals were examples of the legendary chupacabra, and a rancher saved one of the creatures’ heads in her freezer, and sent tissue in to Texas State University to be DNA tested.

Well, the “chupacabra’s” DNA sequence turned out to be a “virtually identical match to DNA from the coyote.”

I’m curious as to what was meant by “virtually,” but, yeah, the Cuero chupacabra is a hairless, 40-pound coyote. The wonders of science have single handedly destroyed by post-Halloween euphoria.

Learn more about stupid, boring, tricky coyotes here.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Joe's picture
Joe says:

I love that the rancher saved the head of a mystery animal in her freezer. That rules. And all in the name of science!

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 10:39pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Totally. And you saw the pictures of the creature, right? It didn't look like a cute little coyote puppy. It looked like... like... like something I would never want in my freezer. Or my life.

No, I take that back. If there was rash of chicken slayings in St. Paul, following that investigation would consume every waking moment for me.

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 11:39pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Ah yes, the photo. Do you think its tongue was frozen to the side of its head like that? Eww. A cube neighbor of mine is fascinated by the chupacabra, and has a plush one in her cube.

posted on Mon, 11/05/2007 - 1:04pm
Phylis B. Canion's picture
Phylis B. Canion says:

The mystery of the Cuero Chupacabra still continues. The DNA was not an exact match as stated on live TV. The sequence that it is close too is an unidentified animal. This creature did not have mange nor skin mites.

So the mystery of what this aniumal is continues-why the short front legs, no hair, small shoulders, large rear, full belly-All three killed were all identical.

posted on Sat, 11/10/2007 - 2:03pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Yes! This is what I like to hear.
I may have just trashed my pumpkin (it was gross) but post-Halloween euphoria... has resumed.

I hope you all remember that Phylis Canion (if that really is who commented) is the very person who found the Cuero Chupacabra. The field of cryptozoology is littered with the untested bodies of unusual-looking animals, so, for actually taking the effort to have the Cuero animal DNA tested, I salute her. Even if it meant keeping that strange, strange head in her freezer.

This isn't what she was referring to by "full belly," I expect, but the phrase brought something to mind - it would have been interesting to open the animal's guts up to see what it had been eating. Typical coyote stuff? Or something else? Next time, I guess.

posted on Sun, 11/11/2007 - 11:51am
Wolven's picture
Wolven says:

There is a .1% difference between all human beings and we all look incredibly different. I do not think it is hard to figure out that an "exact match" could simply be a cross-bred coyote. A coyote gives birth to one mix breed litter, which stays within the coyote habitat and then breeds the extra dog dna almost out of its gene-pool and then you have a "mostly" coyote canine.

People, this doesn't even LOOK like the chupacabra sightings. And a coyote would be attracted to the scent of many fresh kills. So obviously, if alot of chickens started dieing, a coyote or two would pop up. And if they had mange or something then eventually they would get sick and die due to the amount of vermin on them. Admitted it would take longer than in minnesota where the cold would kill them alot sooner, but it's the same with any vermin when you have too many of them on a living host.

And best of all, how the hell would that animal suck ONLY blood out of an animal? IF it had that kind on bio-mechanics going on, then why would scientists not just say, "Hey, this coyote is a new species and is not some mythical crap. Yah it has been doing this. It's just an oddly evolved coyote with some kind of unique adaptation." Nothing mystical about that. And guess what: There is no evidence that the skull of these canines has ANY ability other than for holding prey and eating meat, NOT SUCKING BLOOD.

Can't you guys think for yourselves or do your own research?

posted on Thu, 08/21/2008 - 1:47pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Can't you guys think for yourselves or do your own research?

I don't want to speak for the other bloggers, but, no, I can't.

I think it's interesting that the dead chickens were still around to be observed—I was reading some commentary related to the recent 'chupacabra' video, and some biologist-type pointed out that while feral dogs will sometimes kill an animal and leave it, coyotes will rarely pass up the opportunity to eat some livestock (like these chickens). Makes me think these odd little pooches are more dog than coyote, but you'd think that would have shown up more in the DNA tests.

What does a chupacabra sighting look like, anyway?

posted on Thu, 08/21/2008 - 2:20pm
Wayne Hill's picture
Wayne Hill says:

It's very curious that the so-called DNA specialists said the creature was a "virtually identical match" to a coyote. The chimpanzee is a 98% DNA match to human beings, but they are not the same species. I'm sure that Wolves are very close DNA matches to dogs, but they are not the same species. Science is often wrong, as we have found out from the NASA space probes sent to explore our solar system. This mystery will continue.

posted on Fri, 02/15/2008 - 10:53pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

A little update on the Cuero Chupacabra:
I just found this story on a local cbs affiliate's website. They do not, unfortunately, provide a whole lot more information, but the article does mention that UC Davis found the "chupacabra" to be part Mexican wolf, which probably explains the 2% discrepancy with the coyote DNA. Maybe this one has been put to bed, but keep your eyes open, Crypto-buzzketeers, because you never know when a real goat sucker might turn up.

posted on Sat, 02/16/2008 - 1:00am
Wolven's picture
Wolven says:

So, a coyote's front legs with a wolf's back legs, and holy crap you have a mix breed that has slowly had the wolf blood being bred out of it's genetic gene pool and still has the genes to produce the wolf hind legs. 2% wolf blood is plenty to cause this kind of cross-bred trait and it is nice to see them looking deeper to make ppl shut up about something that is not a big deal. If this had happened in Minnesota no one would care.

I wish they had looked at the skull too. Just more proof that this thing can't suck blood at all. Nothing drains clean like they say without some sort of sucking mechanic that this creature doesn't have. This is just a sick cross-bred canine that was attracted to dead animals.

The chupacara may exist, but this is not it.

posted on Thu, 08/21/2008 - 1:55pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I don't think that's exactly how hybrid species work—that is to say, they aren't necessarily like a mix and match of body parts from the parent species.

The Red Wolf, in fact, seems to be a hybrid between coyotes and wolves (that's what DNA tests say, anyway). This goofy thing doesn't look very much like a red wolf, so there's probably something to this other than (or in addition to) wolf/coyote crossbreeding.

I think you're right that this creature is just a canine hybrid, and that it probably didn't drain the blood of the chickens. However, for the sake of argument, I'd point out that you don't actually need, you know, a proboscis to consume fluids. The vampire bat, which of course does drink blood, doesn't even "suck"—it bites a little hole in its host, and licks the blood up, with the heart of the victim actually moving the blood.

posted on Thu, 08/21/2008 - 2:38pm
K.Brennan's picture
K.Brennan says:

To J.Gordon: You sound like an expert, since you know all the facts and have scientific proof that the Cuero Chupacabra is only a sick coyote, but you didn't state if you personally did DNA tests on the specimin that Mrs. Canion has. You also did not state your creditials to which your scientific tests and facts have any significance. You must be a top expert in your field who has run all these tests personally or are you with the Psychic Friends NetworK? Oh, and one more question - have you ever been to Texas or seen a coyote?

Signed,
Been to Cuero and seen the evidence first-hand.

posted on Fri, 12/26/2008 - 9:04pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Yo, K.Brennan

Thank you, yes, I do my very best to sound like an expert—a top expert. But, no, I'm afraid in this case I don't actually have all the facts, only those provided by various news outlets, and that comment from Mrs. Canion herself (that was cool! scroll up!)

You've got me on the science credentials thing. I just don't have them. And so I wouldn't even know where to begin with DNA testing. Do you, like, put the sample in your mouth?

Fortunately, there are many real scientists out there who have years and years of training and experience in their fields, and some of those did the testing on the Cuero sample. This article has an interview with the actual scientists at Texas State University who did the test, and they go over the process in some detail. With regards to why the creatures don't really look like coyotes, one of the main scientists says, "That is the best part about science--the first answers often lead to more questions and then better explanations of the world in which we live."

So, while perhaps not entirely satisfying, I think that those results do have "significance." They were a necessary step in identifying the Cuero creature, even if (or because) they opened up more questions. It would have been awesome if the results were "this is something totally new and magic," but that's not how science works, and on Science Buzz we try to focus on scientific understandings of the world.

I like the "Oh, and one more question"! It makes me feel like Columbo is commenting on Science Buzz! Yes, I've been to Texas, and, yes, I've seen coyotes firsthand (we have plenty of them in Minnesota!).

What's your take on the Cuero animals?

Also, I don't use a period in my name. It's just "JGordon," like my work email automatically gave me. So if you want to be sassy, it has to be "KBrennan."

posted on Sat, 12/27/2008 - 12:35pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

BTW—
I'm not sure if it's linked to anywhere else on Buzz, so here's Phylis Canion's Cuero chupacabra website. There are plenty of pictures there, as well as the results of the DNA tests. Check it out.

posted on Sat, 12/27/2008 - 12:43pm
UCUE investigater's picture
UCUE investigater says:

I think that it could possibly be a coyote with a hair or some genetic mutation. On the other hand the descrptions i've gathered point to somethink else, but don't get me wrong because I am an open minded person.

posted on Mon, 04/06/2009 - 4:00pm

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