Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Australia Idle Science

Mystery of the 'Chupacabra' May Be Solved 94

Posted by timothy
from the letting-it-live-on-in-my-heart dept.
rhettb writes "The mystery of the legendary chupacabra, a beast said to drain the blood of domestic animals at night, has been solved, according to a University of Michigan scientist. Biologist Barry O'Connor says that most chupacabra sightings are probably linked to coyotes with mange, a disease caused by the same species of mite that triggers scabies in humans. Severe cases of mange cause hair loss and thickening of skin in wild dogs and can lead to bacterial skin infections that produce a foul odor characteristic of the 'chupacabra.' Wombats and squirrels are also susceptible to mange, suggesting that chupacabra are found in trees and Down Under."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Mystery of the 'Chupacabra' May Be Solved

Comments Filter:
  • That Big Foot, flying saucers, and ghosts aren't real either? I'm so disappointed!
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Well, you are right regarding bigfoot and ghosts

    • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @07:29AM (#33995656)

      That Big Foot, flying saucers, and ghosts aren't real either? I'm so disappointed!

      Couldn't they have spent all this effort on trying to explain Snookie from 'Jersey Shore' instead? I'm confident we'd all be better off if they proved she didn't exist.

      • by Suki I (1546431)

        That Big Foot, flying saucers, and ghosts aren't real either? I'm so disappointed!

        Couldn't they have spent all this effort on trying to explain Snookie from 'Jersey Shore' instead? I'm confident we'd all be better off if they proved she didn't exist.

        I always giggle at her name.

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        That Big Foot, flying saucers, and ghosts aren't real either? I'm so disappointed!

        Couldn't they have spent all this effort on trying to explain Snookie from 'Jersey Shore' instead? I'm confident we'd all be better off if they proved she didn't exist.

        If you would RTFA, you'd see that these mites can infest humans, and can lead to bacterial infections, itching rashes, and thickening of the skin.

        • by RoboRay (735839)

          scratch scratch scratch scratch

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by ooshna (1654125)
          Snookie has something alright but I doubt its as curable as scabies.
          • Scabies is curable for humans, but not animals. Untreated, it's a serious illness. It can make a squirrel into a chupacabra, and it would do the same to a human.

            Years ago I had a case of scabies, and the doctor gave me some (pyrethrin?) goop to rub all over from head to toe which cured it. I remember how god awful itchy I was, ( and for a few weeks after the cure as the dead mites and droppings imbedded in my skin slowly migrated toward the outer layers to be sloughed off. The alergic reaction contin

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by ooshna (1654125)
        Didn't you see the new South Park? Snookie is the chupacabra.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      No. Each of those phenomena will have to be explained separately.

    • If a researcher at the University of Michigan is incapaple of recognising that wombats and squirrels are vegetarian, I wonder about that institution's selection processes. Neither beast is likely to "drain the blood" of any animal, for fun or otherwise. A mangy animal is just a mangy animal, which, while sad, does not mean they are vampires.
      • by 228e2 (934443)
        Where in the article does the researcher claim mangy animals drink blood?

        Id thank you to learn how to read before taking shots at my alma mater. Thanks.
        • Try line 1 of the submission:

          "The mystery of the legendary chupacabra, a beast said to drain the blood of domestic animals at night..."

          There's nothing wrong with my reading skills, but in true Slashdot tradition I didn't get as far as reading TFA before I saw that. I have no animus against your alma mater, so I'm sorry if I gave offence.
    • That Big Foot

      I'm pretty sure that the sasquatch [freewebs.com] isn't a mangy anything.

  • Hrmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by acehole (174372) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:07AM (#33995354) Homepage

    Perhaps they should investigate how it's related to the Australian Drop Bear.

    (The Koala's distant carnivorous cousin who drops out of trees onto unsuspecting passers by)

    • Re:Hrmm (Score:5, Informative)

      by aerthling (796790) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:33AM (#33995452)

      I'm far from unsuspecting, but I narrowly avoided a big female taking my ear off only a couple of months ago. I don't go camping or walking in the national park near my parents' house without my bearspike and/or a bottle of vinegar now.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If you carried a gun you would be safer, silly Australians surrendering your right to defend themselves.

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          What do you mean? prisoners never had the right to carry guns.....

        • And you think a gun would be any use against a drop bear???

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by vortexau (471931)

          > > "If you carried a gun you would be safer, silly Australians surrendering your right to defend themselves."

          Having to carry a gun for defense is only a requirement in a lawless society; as is the case in Somalia or similar places.
          When it comes to Australian wildlife all one needs is venom-proof clothing, the sense not to swim with crocodiles, or a knife about which one can say: 'This is a knife!'

      • I don't go camping or walking in the national park near my parents' house without my bearspike and/or a bottle of vinegar now.

        Spot the newbie.

        I thought everybody knew that if you rub Vegemite behind your ears, the drop-bears will leave you alone.
      • I narrowly avoided a big female taking my ear off only a couple of months ago.

        Some here would not be opposed to a big female nibbling on their ear.
        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Did somebody say 'steak'? :)

      • I'm far from unsuspecting, but I narrowly avoided a big female taking my ear off only a couple of months ago.

        You misspelled "talking" there.

    • Either the Drop Bears or the Bunyips. Clearly not a wombat, whose only super skill is being such a solid bastard that he can rip the underside out of a 4WD if you hit one at anything more than 20.
      • Clearly not a wombat, whose only super skill is being such a solid bastard...

        Depends on what kind of wombat. If you're in Tasmania (IMO the unquestionable road-kill capital of the world), the wombats are mostly cute little things with button-noses that are intelligently designed [that's a joke, guys] to make you feel really guilty when you hit them with your car, leaving them on their backs with their round, cuddly tummies facing the sun. :-(
    • by sempir (1916194)
      How come they didn't mention the Giant Vampire Bat like we have here in Africa?
    • by migla (1099771)

      I thought the Drop Bear would tunnel from one computer to another. The name would make more sense your way, though.

    • Wait, do you mean Pedobear?
  • It's clear that the author and poster are part of the Illuminati, trying to cover-up the existence of these mystical creatures
  • by turtleAJ (910000) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:10AM (#33995376)

    I live in Puerto Rico, were a big part of the "Chupacabras" myth started.

    1st, there are no coyotes in Puerto Rico.. so WTF.

    2nd, this is just urban legend... crap you tell at 2 in the morning. Then the news pics up on it.

    Years ago (1970s?) there was a local surgeon that "manufactured" these odd "Cara de Diablo" (Face of the Devil??) things. Nobody had ever seen such a thing.

    He left them around for everybody's amusement (especially the media).
    Big uproar about the Cara de Diablos and what they were.

    When the guy came out of the woods, he explained: They were stingrays, he would cut-off the "wings" in a diamond pattern... then stitch them up with his superb abilities.

    Chupacabras doesn't exist people.

    • by sznupi (719324) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:17AM (#33995404) Homepage
      • by turtleAJ (910000)

        Thanks for the link!
        Now I know more than before.
        Very informative, and without a doubt, that's were the local surgeon copied his idea from.
        Have a good day! =)

    • by AJ Mexico (732501) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @07:17AM (#33995604) Homepage
      "Chupacabra" means different things to different people. Especially in Puerto Rico compared to the southwest USA and Mexico. In Mexico and the southwest we are talking about dog-like things. Puerto Rico had different ideas -- I think some of them were bipeds, and some were flying chupacabras.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Chupacabra, slang, Spanish. Translation: "Goat Sucker". [everything2.com] The Chupacabra is a possibly/probably mythical creature which tends to only "appear" in areas with a large hispanic population, rumored to drink the blood of animals, especially/initially goats. (Hence the name.) It is rumored to be a medium-sized creature, similar to a cross between a dog and a lizard. It's said to be capable of walking bipedally. There are occasional reports of missing organs in (or more to the point, not in) the victims of its attac

    • by Suki I (1546431)
      Sounds like a clever mixing of genre "swamp gas, move along, nothing to see here" and you are not going to trick me with it!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zippthorne (748122)

        Well it makes a lot more sense when you realize the high desert is actually covered in swampland.

        • by Suki I (1546431)

          Well it makes a lot more sense when you realize the high desert is actually covered in swampland.

          Exactly! These lame excuses by the government keeping the truth a secret (lol)

    • Don't exist? Damn. That bites. Does that mean I have to quit scaring the pretty young lady at work? Her supervisor has often put her to operating Machine #1, which is right next to an outside door. So, all of 3rd shift, she is alone, next to a nice dark doorway. I wander by now and then, explaining that I'm making sure the chupacabra hasn't got her yet. So - if there's no chupacabra, I have to stop loitering in her work area to protect her? This just sucks . . .
    • by bwanagary (522899)

      I have three siblings, at least two of which are Chupacabras. They've been sucking the life out of me for years!

  • Wombats? (Score:3, Funny)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:10AM (#33995382) Homepage Journal

    I doubt it. Wombats live in holes. Sometimes at dusk you can catch them in the open and at those times they are pretty slow moving. Not the kind of animal which could drain the blood out of anything which moves at more than a metre a minute. A dingo on the other hand...

    But this Chupacabra seems to be a US only myth. Let me tell you about this hoopsnake I saw just the other day. A real nasty bugger. One metre in diameter and 3.14 metres in length he was. I reckon he broke the new speed limit on Lygon street...

    • by GoJays (1793832)
      Wombats are also herbivores... so I don't think sucking blood is really of any interest to them.
    • "When threatened, however, they can reach up to 40 km/h (25 mph) and maintain that speed for up to 90 seconds." Source [wikipedia.org]

      The article also says that can bowl a human over. Now imagine a pack of wombats; one traps you in, another bowls you over, then while you are helpless on they ground they all rush in rip you to shreds. Once they have the taste of blood, there is no stopping them. But they definitely can't climb trees...

  • What about El Chupanibre?
  • that the street vendor in Mexico who sold me a Chupacabra burrito was lying? What did I eat?
  • Idle... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geogob (569250) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @06:43AM (#33995480)

    I honestly don't get how stories get listed/tagged Idle these days. Some of them are really of interest and bring new insight to previously discussed topics. Idle should be Idle... this is something else.

    • by shish (588640)
      This may be interesting, but it seems to me more like normal news than news for nerds -- but then, it seems slashdot as a whole has forgotten about technology (as I speak, the entire front page is politics -- mostly politics of IT companies, sure, but there's nothing about the details of cool hardware or software :-( )
    • by ericvids (227598) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @07:29AM (#33995658)

      What's curious is the word "idle" here in Slashdot has been mangled to mean "weird stuff with some (or a lot of) idiocy involved", when it really ought to mean "this might be remotely interesting in an otherwise completely uneventful day."

      Anyway, by either of those standards, this article is clearly not idle.

    • Weren't there reported chupacabra sightings that were proven to be coyotes with severe mange in 2004? It's even been listed in the wikipedia article for years. It must have taken a lot of work and quite a visionary leap for this biologist too look at wikipedia and come up with this "theory".
  • And exactly how does a coyote drain its victim of all it's blood? Has no one thought to wonder why it would only consume the blood (if at all that's possible without sufficient time and victim-mutilation) and not the other tasty parts?

    I'm sure there's a plausible explanation that we just have not figured out yet, but the mange-afflicted coyote theory was first proposed way back in 1995 [perhaps earlier (and numerous times hence!)] when I first began reading up on the phenomena.

    This news is anything but new

  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday October 23, 2010 @08:01AM (#33995784) Homepage Journal

    "Coyote with mange"?

    I thought there might be some connection to Amy Winehouse.

  • by Jarik C-Bol (894741) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @09:59AM (#33996462)
    Ok, i worked for a guy from mexico for a few years, and one day asked him what the heck the deal with chupacabra's was. He laughed, and explained to me that years ago, there was this big thing going on in the news in Mexico, detailing some government corruption scandal. It was at this time, that the Chupacabra legend appeared. All of a sudden, all the news reports where about these mysterious 'Goat Suckers' and the government corruption was quietly swept under the rug. Basically, it was a distraction manufactured by the government to draw attention away from the issue at hand.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dunbal (464142) *

      it was a distraction manufactured by the government to draw attention away from the issue at hand.

      Kinda like the past 9 years in the US...

    • by DEmmons (1538383)
      that might explain its arrival in Mexico, but the origin of the myth is in Puerto Rico, although it seems to be a modification of an old and less well-known Spanish myth about vampiric birds. This modern thing about dogs / coyotes with mange seems to be a result of someone seeing an ugly creature and calling it a 'Chupacabra' in south Texas, without having any idea what the original looked like - and the ensuing media frenzy picked that up and ran with it. It certainly didn't look like a canid, more like a
    • ...and they would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for those meddling kids.
  • Around 50 comments and still no mention of this great X-files episode (season 4, IIRC)... I guess Slashdot ain't what it used to be.
    • Around 50 comments and still no mention of this great X-files episode (season 4, IIRC)... I guess Slashdot ain't what it used to be.

      "great"? maybe in your universe

  • Where's the 'news' here? I recall an episode of Monster Hunters a few years back where they mentioned this as one of the likely explanations for some of the Chupacabra stories.

    I think it's a good theory; it explains the second most common cause of misidentification. The first most common cause being tequila.

    • by Fizzol (598030)
      You're right, there's no news here at all. Mangy canines have been identified as the source for the supposed Chupacabra images and videos all along. From the headline you'd think they actually caught a real-life Chupacabra sucking the blood out of a goat.
  • by Libertarian001 (453712) on Saturday October 23, 2010 @01:07PM (#33997668)

    Why don't they just call it The Warthog?

  • by Dabido (802599)
    So, he's repeating what was said in 2004. How is this news?

Blessed be those who initiate lively discussions with the hopelessly mute, for they shall be known as Dentists.

Working...