The mysterious goat-sucking chupacabras are considered mythical creatures by most animal experts, but Texas-based nutritionist Phylis Canion has the remains of a bizarre blue-skinned dog that may prove its existence.
Canion picked up the unknown creature off the side of a road near her ranch in Cuero, Texas, back in 2007, at a time when she had been trying to figure out what was killing chickens on her ranch.
"Each time we found a chicken dead, it was opened up ... in its throat area," she says on "The Unexplained Files," a Science Channel series debuting Aug. 28. "It appeared that all the blood was out of it."
Twenty-eight chickens were lost before she found the dead carcass. It was unlike any animal she'd had ever seen before. It weighed about 40 pounds with steel blue eyes, a snout with an overbite, and strange skin closer to an elephant's epidermis than the hair associated with canines like wolves or coyotes.
GALLERY: Is This A Chupacabra?
This animal may look like a dog, but a researcher in Cuero, Texas, believes it may be a chupacabra, a so-far mythical creature that allegedly sucks the blood from its prey.
Dr. Phylis Canion, who found the animal on the side of a Texas road in 2007, says the animal weighs about 40 pounds and has steel blue eyes, a snout with an overbite, and strange skin closer to an elephant's epidermis than the hair associated with canines like wolves or coyotes.
Canion believes the animal may live underground, but eyewitnesses have seen the creature running along Texas roads as fast as 35 mph.
There have been hundreds of sightings of similar animals all over East Texas, but Canion has the only creature that has been found and analyzed.
DNA tests of the animal, which has been called the "Texas Blue Dog," say that it is a hybrid of a coyote on the maternal side and a Mexican wolf on the paternal side.
Cuero says the DNA evidence is compelling, but there are still questions to be answered. For instance, some species of wolves have blue eyes, but the Mexican Wolf is not one of them.
Canion said before she found her "Texas Blue Dog," she had lost 28 chickens on her ranch in a strange manner: Each chicken was opened in the throat and all the blood was drained out.
Canion said it's important to catch a "Blue Dog" that is alive, but has had problems convincing her fellow Texans. "Everyone in Texas carries a gun, but I don't want to annihilate them. I want to [shoot them with a tranquilizer dart] and get the DNA."
Canion will discuss the "Texas Blue Dog" on "The Unexplained Files," a Science Channel show airing Aug. 28, 2012. She also has a website dedicated to her research.
Because the creature seems to drain the blood of animals at the site of the kill, rather than drag them away like other predators, Canion believes it could be the mythical chupacabra, but others have taken to calling her animal the "Texas Blue Dog" because of its blue-hued skin.
Canion brought the remains to a taxidermist, and now keeps the remains on display at her home.
"We know the animal that killed the chicken licked the blood," Canion told The Huffington Post. "It opens the throat in the jugular. It seems to like the taste of blood, which is interesting because the only animal that is set up to suck blood is the bat."
Texas wildlife officials believe that the animal in question is a dog with mange. But Canion conducted extensive research to call that conclusion into question.
Numerous DNA tests suggest the animal is a hybrid of a coyote on the maternal side and a Mexican wolf on the paternal side, but Canion says there are other factors that make that description inexact.
For instance, Canion's "Blue Dog" has three phalanges or "toes" on the front paws, while wolves and coyotes have four, and it only has four teats, whereas most other canines have between eight to 10.
There are also two strange pouches on the both sides of the tail that were not infected glands.
"I cut into one for a DNA test and there was nothing but solid red meat," she said.
Canion has the only "Blue Dog" that has been captured, but there have been many sightings of similar creatures in eastern Texas and southern Oklahoma, usually in the early morning hours and twilight hours.
That along with the blue eyes and hairless skin suggest to her an animal that usually lives underground.
"We had some bad floods and that may have forced them above ground," she said.
The animals reportedly can run as fast as 35 MPH and are hard to catch. Canion said it's important to catch one that is alive, but has found it hard to convince her fellow Texans otherwise.
"There is no way to trap it. It's not the kind of animal you can lure," she said. "Everyone in Texas carries a gun, but I don't want to annihilate them. I want to [shoot them with a tranquilizer dart] and get the DNA."