Southern California residents are on the lookout for the legendary Mexican monster, the chupacabra. According to Huffington Post, home owners in the area have reported encounters with the beast at night as it stalked their pets. One resident by the name of Cary Shuker reports shooing away a large hairless creature near his home, describing it as a snarling beast over two feet long with a rat's tail. He claims it wanted to eat his cat. Other residents claim to have also seen the creature, fearing for their pets and pedestrian safety. Experts, however, are skeptical.
The director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine, Loren Coleman, believes the creature to simply be a coyote with mange or a similar condition and not the chupacabra. “DNA results prove these are 100% canid (coyotes, foxes, dogs, red wolves), usually with mange." This is likely to be the case, as reports of chupacabra appeared last year, as well, turning out to simply be a coyote with mange as Coleman is predicting now. The theory was that the coyote had eaten poisoned rats, becoming sick in the process. Local officials seem to agree with this theory. “Chupacabras are not a thing,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Andrew Hughan.
A DNA test of saliva or other biological material left behind by the creature could easily clarify its true nature, though Hughan believes that's unlikely to happen. Even so, whether the beast turns out to be a coyote or chupacabra means pet owners should be on the look out for strange animals in their area. Mange is a contagious disease which can be spread to others by contact, not even mentioning the risk that someone's pet may become the coyote's dinner. For the time being, it would likely be safest for pet owners to keep their pets indoors until further notice and supervise them carefully on walks or trips outside. Residents should report any sightings of a suspicious animal or cryptid to their local animal control chapter.