Chupacabra Hunting in Mississippi
You've heard of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and the Jersey Devil, but one of the newest mythical beasts is the chupacabra. The thing is, no less than three Mississippi hunters have claimed kills against these so-called fictional animals in the past few years. And there is at least one still around.
What is a Chupacabra?
Back in 1995, a rash of attacks on goats in Puerto Rico, which left a string of wasted animals in their wake, was blamed on what the locals called a chupacabra. The name in Spanish literally means, "Goat sucker," as the predator of those poor animals attacked the neck and seemed to drain them of their blood. These goats were killed-- but not eaten. In the past two decades this phenomena has spread to the mainland and these attacks are credited from Maine to Texas and Kentucky. At least three incidents of these unproven predators being taken in Mississippi have occurred in recent years.
The Walnut creeper
Located in far north Mississippi, Walnut is a town in Tippah County of some 750 residents. In July 2010 one unnamed resident shot and killed a strange creature believed to have dug up a 70-pound goat that had died and been buried in a pasture. Local residents didn't know what the canine looking animal was and posted pictures on WMC-TV's webpage.
(2010 Walnut beast, shot by undisclosed hunter)
The images show a hairless predator similar to a coyote or medium sized dog with a long snout and pronounced canine teeth. Instead of fur, the animal's bare skin had a blue, rough hue. WMC quoted Herb Roberts of the Memphis Zoo who looked at the pictures as believing they showed a dog with a bad case of mange.
The Simpson County beast
Just over a year after the blue unidentified creature in Walnut, livelong outdoorsman Truitt Barnard in rural Simpson County came face to face with what he called, "the weirdest looking animal I've seen in my 50 years of hunting." As reported by WLBT News in October 2011, Barnard saw a coyote-like animal poking around his property with a long face, no hair, and a rough hide. Dropping the animal at 130-yards, he photographed it and showed the pictures not only to several news outlets but also to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks. The photos show a medium sized canine with no hair, long teeth, a pointed snout, and a blue-hue on its hide.
Jim Walker, a representative with MDWFP said that they believed the animal was some sort of dog or canine with severe mange. Troy Majure, a Jackson area veterinarian looked that looked at the photographs went on record as saying that he also believed the animal to be a coyote or dog with chronic mange.
The Pigtown monster
(Matthew Hewharrell of Pigtown Mississippi is the latest Magnolia state resident to bag a chupacabra)
To the north of Jackson lay the small community of Pigtown (we aren't making this up), near Lena in Leake County. It was there on September 11, 2013, while coon hunting at night around his barn, that Matthew Hewharrell saw a set of red eyes 'glowing' at him. The animal started advancing on Matthew in a threatening manner. Firing his .22 rifle to drop the beast, he killed it and kept the carcass to get answers as to what it was. The animal was hairless, blue to red in color, and had a long snout with pronounced canine teeth.
The MDWFP, after looking into it told WJTV that they believe it to be a dog or coyote with mange. Hewharrell reportedly kept samples of the animal for later DNA analysis.
Just last month, another 'chupacabra' was spotted, and filmed in the Picayune area of Mississippi.
Could they just be dogs?
Besides coyotes, feral (wild) dogs can be very dangerous to livestock and a threat to the community as a whole. The aspect of goats killed but not eaten in attacks by predators, which is blamed on the fictional chupacabra, is a hallmark sign of dogs rather than coyote.
In 1999, Jackson County animal control officers had their hands full staking out goat fields in the Hurley area. Over a several week period, more than forty goats were attacked and killed but not consumed in the night around Polktown Road, with no sign of a culprit. After fruitless nights and threats from local residents to take matters in their own hands, the county set up a humane trap baited with a staked out goat kept safely inside a second enclosure. This trap captured a fat and happy Labrador retriever. Many scoffed but after the rouge retriever was brought in, the attacks suddenly ceased. Predication on animal herds by feral dogs and coyotes is a very real thing.
Moreover, as you may know, most canines are subject to mange.