Chupacabra poaching in Kentucky

Mark Cothren of Nelson County, Kentucky, shot this innocent chupacabra and no-one seems to care. [NBC via Gawker]


  1. That’s definitely a raccoon with severe mange. Long limbs, not much larger than a house cat, and long fingers with claws.

  2. I must note here that Nelson County, Ky, is one of the world’s largest producers of bourbon. So maybe the poor thing was into the mash.

  3. Typical hunter mentality. If you don’t know what something is, by all means, kill it. How stupid. Granted it’s not all that cute, but it could have been one of the last of its kind.

    1. That’s not true. Hunting (as well as all other types of shooting) safety courses teach not to shoot unless you’ve 100% identified your target.

      But on a less pragmatic note… if it wasn’t the bullet then it was going to be the disease this creature is clearly infected with. Nature is a harsh mistress.

      1. “That’s not true. Hunting (as well as all other types of shooting) safety courses teach not to shoot unless you’ve 100% identified your target.”

        Yeah, right. Every backwoods redneck hunter has has taken those safety courses and take those rules to heart.

        1. Yeah, right. Every backwoods redneck hunter has has taken those safety courses and take those rules to heart.

          My experience has been that “backwoods redneck hunters” don’t need those safety courses; they know when and what to shoot (they shoot food and obviously diseased animals that may endanger their local environment, for example). It’s a part of their culture.

          Internet trash-talking city folk, on the other hand, are rather likely to shoot cows, children, and other hunters. You know that guy who shot two other hunters dead the other day? College-educated big city lawyer, not “backwoods redneck hunter”.

    2. I completely disagree. I am an avid waterfowl hunter and show more respect to wildlife and conservation efforts than many non-hunting types. Please, avoid casting general stereotypes. It’s unhealthy for humanity.

    3. I have to agree with the other comments to you. I’m an upland bird hunter and there has been no occaision that I would shoot an animal that I was not sure as to what species, and in the case of pheasants, what sex it is (try doing that in -30F wind chills in NE MT). We do not run through the wild shooting animals gleefully. It is serious business to take a life no matter how small. The act must be done with skill and care-not blood lust. In my experience hunters on the whole tend to be more respectful of landowners, public lands, etc. If you don’t like hunting don’t do it, but please don’t lump us all together in the wacko club.

  4. It’s clearly a ROUS. Didn’t these people see the movie? Even looks a little singed from a Fire Swamp mis-step.

  5. I don’t think it’s a raccoon. Notice the paws of the animal. They are long and fingerlike. Raccoons have fingerlike appendages, but not that long and slender. When I was a kid, my folks rescued a couple of young raccoons that we kept for a while and the body shape and everything is just…different. Unless it was sick and starving, which might account for some distention. Hard to say.

    More reading for your entertainment:

    If you scroll down to the paragraph with the dateline “Lufkin, TX” you’ll see photos of a very similar critter.

  6. I’m sure glad my hairless dogs don’t wander around this guy’s house. I do agree that this looks more like a bald racoon. How many Xoloitzcuintlis and innocent racoons/wild animals have to die ? Have these people never heard of Mexican Hairless dogs? I love Chupacabra stuff more than the average person, which would make me NOT WANT TO KILL IT EVEN MORE. What if it was a rare mythical beast? These boneheads would shoot a unicorn if it wandered onto their property, stuff it and use the horn to puncture beer cans.

    This “chupacabra” killing in particular makes me so enraged…

    The poor dog died in pain, poisoned and curled up alone in a barn…


  7. I think the first three mysterious animals are Newscasters, sometimes called “Talking heads” because they are never captured on video with legs. Notice the long fingerlike appendages.

    1. I think the first three mysterious animals are Newscasters, sometimes called “Talking heads” because they are never captured on video with legs. Notice the long fingerlike appendages.

      Well that solves THAT mystery! Can I shoot them if they wander up onto my porch?

      1. Please don’t. They may look sick, and even be completely hairless, but they often lead long lives and are mostly harmless. They are very predictable and don’t typically harm livestock or pets.

  8. I’m not a hunter and I don’t own a gun, but I grew up in a fairly rural area.

    It’s pretty reasonable to shoot a wild animal in your front yard if it looks unhealthy and is acting strangely. More than likely it’s sick and, at best, you’re putting it out of its misery and preventing it from spreading disease to other wild animals. More practically, you’re protecting your own livestock, pets, and family from a threat. Sick wild animals are unpredictable and can be dangerous.

    1. i’m not a hunter, but i’m also from a rural area and i do own guns, and was about to type a post with the exact same premises you’ve posted.

  9. given the bluntness of the nose and the shape and width of the muzzle, and the slender digits, i’d say it’s a raccoon.

    And it wouldn’t be the first hairless raccoon to whip up a Chupacapbra frenzy.


  10. Okay folks, here’s a little Spanish lesson from a native Spanish speaker:

    Chupacabras is both singular and plural. It literally means “sucks goats”. So you can have one chupacabras and two chupacabras. Don’t fail and write chupacabra.

    Same with a dishwasher: a “lavaplatos”. That means “washes dishes”. One dishwasher is not a lavaplato.


    Let it be known: a single chupacabras is referred to as a “chupacabras”

    Also, FWIW: there is no “ñ” in habanero and Tijuana is pronounced “TEE-HWANA”, not Tia Juana.

    1. Well, that’s probably true when you speak Spanish.

      Otherwise, not so..

      For examaple, I’m reasonably sure that Spanish speaker still speak of the cities “Colonia” and “Hamburgo” in the country of “Alemannia”. (And most of us aren’t even Alemannen,)

      1. No. It has nothing to do with speaking English or Spanish. Many words are borrowed by Americans from other languages, but they remain intact because they preserve their meaning, such as “liaison,” or “rendezvous.” However, there is no such word as “chupacabra,” only “chupacabras,” so it doesn’t change depending on which language anyone is speaking.

  11. “Typical hunter mentality.”

    Ummm… no. As a life-long hunter, I can assure you that you had better be sure you know exactly what it is you are shooting at while hunting. There are game wardens to enforce the consequences if you don’t.

  12. I liked chupacabras better when it was a big headed spiky reptilian biped. Now they’re all just coyotes or raccoons with mange, way less fun.

  13. SpacelordMother,
    Thank you. As someone who has spent hours and hours studying pictures of different species of ducks for proper identification while waterfowling, that kind of comment drives me up the wall.

  14. I have treated more than one or two dogs with the mange, and this animal whatever it is has some dermatalogical syndrome going on that is worse than mange. I have seen numerous crypto zoological specimens such as the Mantouk Monster to name a few that suffer from this same affliction. I just hope this disease doesn’t start making pathways into populations of our domesticated animals.

  15. It’s a raccoon with mange There’s loads of photos of them on the internet. Poor thing. Nice of the guy to kill it – what an ass.

  16. “Unidentifiable” my foot. I live in the opposite hemisphere and I can recognize a raccoon with mange all the way from here. Raccoons have long fingers and are plantigrades; in fact the tracks left by their “hands” look a lot like ours (photo).

    Funny how the reporters are interested in the opinions of the nice ladies in the market, never asking a zoologist or wildlife expert.

    Oh, we have “news stories” like these here in Argentina too, and as a zoologist who tries to spread knowledge and respect for all living things, I find them incredibly frustrating and infuriating. I’m usually a very level-headed person but this is the kind of thing that makes me want to strangle somebody! >:-(

  17. Whatever that poor animal was, and whatever disease it had, this is super sad. Keep your pets indoors unless supervised, kids, and regular vet checkups too.

    Thus, I declare the need for a unicorn chaser! Disclaimer: Not actually a unicorn, but it still gives you warm fuzzies!

  18. Freakin’ second time my local news has appeared on BoingBoing, to my knowledge. First was “snow on the ground.” As a southern Indiana resident, I refused to be associated with this Kentucky nonsense.

  19. i’ve had this dog for a couple years, and i’ve never been able to figure out what kind she is. but thanks to this post, and the helpful comments thereupon, i can now rest assured that she’s a northern, non-hairless variant of chupacabras.

    or a peruvian or mexican not-quite-hairless.

    or a raccoon without mange.

    thanks, internet!

  20. The paws and face indicate cat, and that’s my guess. Cats can have rounded ears like that too.

    Poor kitty :(

  21. I liked chupacabras better when they were alien hybrids created by the secret shadow government. I don’t find them nearly as frightening now that they’re hairless raccoons. Somebody in the secret shadow government really needs to redesign these guys.

  22. To me it looks like a shell-free armadillo.

    However, watching this with the sound off because I’m at work made it impossible to tell whether the whole thing was a tongue-in-cheek spoof production. The dramatic shots of small parts of the animal! The ‘press conference’ camera angle! Really?

  23. Why didn’t they bother to interview a biology professor, or someone with experience identifying local wildlife?

  24. To everyone saying “that poor animal” at the sole fact that he was shot by a savage “backwoods redneck hunter”, you need to honestly think about this here. If some creature that looked like that wandered onto your property/into your neighborhood where you may have children in the vicinity, would just feed it and nurture it like Snow White? Would you take the time (several days) to try and humanely trap it unknowing of what diseases it may be carrying besides what you think to be the obvious?

    I had a neighbor that tried to humanely trap a raccoon that looked half like this (hair was falling out in large patches) and you know what happened to her? She got bit, badly. Then she spent the next two weeks in the hospital because the bite got infected and she had to be treated for rabies. The cops wound up shooting the animal on the spot.

    What quality of life could this this or that animal have anyway? I feel bad for him but I am glad he is not suffering anymore as well.

    1. would just feed it and nurture it like Snow White?

      I’d bust a cap in Snow White’s ass if she wandered onto my property.

  25. I prefer the Mexican theory that a chupacabras [sic] is released each time the shadow gov’t wants to distract the populous.

    Luckily, BB readers are too astute to allow important stories like this to dissolve into mindless rehashing of well-worn rural/urban divides.

  26. Oh! No! You are all wrong! I just talked to my drinking buddy in Ky and he said it is an alien animal. He says when he was abducted by aliens a few years ago, there were some of these animals on the space ship and they are mean.He also made a good point by saying that a animal without hair can not live in Ky because of cold weather.He says we will never know the true results of the dna because you know the goverment will cover it up.
    I believe him

  27. From the nose and what I can see of the teeth, I’d guess the animal is some sort of dog. From the length of the tail and whiskers, I’d think fox. Gray fox, possibly. Not a cat or raccoon; nose is too long for either and the claws are obviously non-retractable.

    I’m wondering what the *live* animal shown in the vet’s enclosure is, myself.

  28. 1: At least it’s dead, whatever it was
    2: If it was just a diseased racoon or dog, it’s out of it’s misery and no longer threatens to spread the disease
    3: If it’s a freakin’ Mexican hairless, there’s an irresponsible pet owner somewhere

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