WEIRD NEWS

'Chupacabra' In Mississippi Town Reportedly A Coyote With Mange

10/29/2013 05:02 pm ET | Updated Oct 31, 2013

Is it a chupacabra? A 'squatchdog'? Ask people in Picayune, Miss., and you'll get different answers.

But regardless of what the bizarre, dog-like animal may be, one thing is for sure -- it's getting a lot of attention.

"If a zombie had a dog, it would look like that," Jennifer Whitfield told WLOX. Whitfield and her son captured video of the creature in a lot near their house and posted it online. Her son, who is 11, thinks it's a chupacabra, and it turns out he's not the only one in the neighborhood who feels that way.

"We've been running back and forth to our cars because we didn't want the chupacabra to get us," Amanda Denton, who lives a few streets away, told the station.

Agents from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks who responded after residents called in about the animal, have their own theory: They think it's a coyote with a particularly bad case of mange.

"It's probably sick, weak, and not able to hunt on its own, so it's going to the nearest food source it can find," Sgt. David Burnette told the station. He said that means residents should look out around their garbage, and keep a safe distance if they encounter the animal.

The chupacabra is a mythical creature that supposedly kills animals and then sucks their blood. It's name means "goat-sucker" in Spanish, because in legend the creature would feed on the blood of goats.

There have been other cases of strange, dog-like creatures being mistaken for chupacabras.

In 2007, Texan Phylis Canion found the carcass of an animal that she calls a "Texas blue dog" on the side of the road. It had steel blue eyes, a snout with an overbite, and strange skin that resembled that of an elephant.

Although some believers contend that the remains, which Canion had preserved and mounted, are that of a chupacabra, DNA tests have indicated it is a hybrid of a coyote on the maternal side and a Mexican wolf on the paternal side.

In September, a Leake County, Miss., man shot and killed what he thought was a chupacabra while he was "coon hunting." He killed the animal in a chicken coop. Local animal officials told WJTV that it was probably just a mangy dog or coyote.

Clarification: A previous version of this article stated that a man killed an alleged chupacabra while coon hunting in a chicken coop. The man killed the animal in the coop, but he was not hunting coons in the structure.

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