2014, March 30: Chupacabra Caught in Texas... Alive!

Ratcliffe Chupacabras 1

        On April 1, 2014, a couple in Ratcliffe, Texas, USA, announced they had caught a "chupacabras" -- a legendary blood-sucking animal first told of in Puerto Rico -- alive!

        Jackie Stock said her husband caught the creature Sunday night, March 30. Arlen Parma, another Ratcliffe resident, said he had hunted racoons for 20 years, yet never seen anything like the animal in the cage. Its very unusual growl impressed him greatly, convincing him it wasn't just a hairless racoon... it was something else, something unknown to him.

Ratcliffe Chupacabras 2

        A Wildlife Diversity Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, Brent Ortego, ventured his opinion that the animal was a small canine of some sort; in short, a dog, coyote, or fox. He explained the hairless appearance as caused by mange, a canine illness that causes hair to fall out.

        Due to the claim the animal was a 'chupacabra,' the story went viral by April 3, having been picked up -- and messed up -- by just about every news related website in English and Spanish worldwide. By April 4, the first serious attempts to identify the creature was published by Benjamin Radford, a noted skeptic of strange claims, who stated that the animal simply appears to be a racoon with sarcoptic mange, a mite infection that causes hair loss; Radford made no notice or comment on Parma's statement above about the animal's unusual growl, Parma's claimed experience with racoons.

        Apparently based on Radford's long distance indentification, the Stocks were contacted by the local game warden in Dewitt county and told that since the creature had been identified as a racoon, they would either have to release it to the wild or euthanize it. On April 5, the Stocks left a message on the game warden's phone stating that they had euthanized the animal... which sucks for the animal!

Under Observation

Ratcliffe Chupacabras 3

        This "chupacabra" was not large -- about the size of a toy poodle or a chihuahua -- which is what led Mrs. Stock to describe it as a "baby chupacabra." The woman in the picture above is local reporter Janelle Bludau, who gives a good comparison to the size of the creature. The Stocks were feeding the animal corn and cat food.

Chupacabra Hands 1 Chupacabra Hands 2

        The animal was also definitely not a dog; pictures from the released footage clearly show possum or racoon-like fingers that can be used to grabbed the cage. In addition, the video of the creature shows it sitting on its hind legs and using its hands to bring food up to its mouth... so again not a canine, but very much like a racoon or related animal. I suspect that Mr. Ortego with Texas Parks and Wildlife just saw pictures of the animal, and didn't see these fingers; otherwise he would not have identified it as a canine. Radford's identification as a hairless racoon is far more supportable, and ultimately led to the animal being killed.

Conspiracy Theory Alert!

        So, just to note it before it becomes someone's pet theory: a news posting about this event put on the Metro website on April 5, 2014, makes a BIG error in its presentation.

        In trying to sum up that the "chupacabra" was killed a few days after it was captured, the author of the article, Evan Bartlett, states, "A couple who found a mysterious, hairless creature in Texas last week, which was likened to the mythical chupacabra, has been killed just a few days after it was captured." ... which sounds like the Stocks were killed, and not the animal!

        Bartlett gave no way to directly contact him, so the best I could do was note this in advance... because someone will someday claim the Stocks were either killed for finding a Chupacabra, or by a Chupacabra. And Bartlett's Metro article will be why. Oy.

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