Sunday, January 09, 2011

Mystery of Kentucky Chupacabra Solved?

I was proud that Kentucky finally got a chupacabra sighting. It was sad that the animal was shot, but the mystery was pretty interesting.

The TV image is pretty good, for a change, and when I looked at it I thought it looked familiar. Very different than a lot of the Texas sightings, I started to think about it.

It did not seem to be made of ectoplasm or holographic energy, so it must be a natural animal. What? We have armadillos now, but it wasn't that. The paws and teeth did seem very familar, and very unlike the chupacabras found in Texas near my pal Boyd Harris.

The ears were a little bit of a mystery, so I went off to the internet and checked out a few images. The virtual same animal has appeared in:

Dry Gulch chupacabra on KOTV in Oklahoma on 5 March 2010
Golf Course in Wise County, Texas chupacabra on 21 January 2010

In both cases, analysis showed this was a hairless raccoon. The paws (nearly human-like fingers on the paws), and distinctive lower tusk seemed to be tell-tale signs. And the black shiny nose. Big ears are camouflaged with racoon hair, but they have astounding hearing.

The most careful response seems to be this posted as a comment to the Oklahom case:

My name is Annette Tucker. I own and operate Wild Heart Ranch Wildlife Rescue. I have cared for nearly 15,000 injured and orphaned wild animals and I have saved and released almost all of them. ... I work 80 hours plus per week caring for these animals ... This is a raccoon with sarcoptic mange who is doing very well, responding to treatment and will regrow her hair and be released. She is not suffering and she is getting the best of nutritional and medical care. Thank you to those who are concerned for her welfare.

Chrispy is very familar with raccoon raids on bird feeders, and I've had my share of cute raccoon pictures, and run ins with them as they masacred and desecrated my koi pond a few times - despite electric wire and webbing.

A co-worker tells a story that I believe to be true. He is a scout master, and on a camping trip, someone came and said that someone went through all their items in the tent, but the tent was zipped up. No one admitted to anything. Then, later, they came back on a different day, and watched in amazement, as a raccoon slipped it's paw uder the tent from the inside, unzipped it, walked outside after a fll meal of goodies, and rezipped the tent flap. Innocent as a new born babe, as it walked away. Who? Me?

So it seesm that there is an epidemic in the USA of a specific variety of mange (sarcoptes scabei mite) caused by an arachnid or pseudo-arachnid-mite that is eradicating the fur from raccoons and maybe other animals. It is certainly a shocking sight to see a fur-less animal.


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