Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Jack the cuddly Chupacabra

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I had been interviewed for a podcast by a fellow named Robert Chazz Chute, a journalist and writer who was curious about how a guy who was born into a devout Roman Catholic family in southern Louisiana had ended up becoming a skeptic and atheist.  The podcast is now live -- I hope you'll give it a listen!  Check out Gordon Bonnet on The Cool People Podcasts.


I try not to spend too much time focusing on individuals who either (1) are yearning for attention or (2) have a screw loose, or possibly (3) both, but this one was too good to pass up.

Much has been made in cryptozoological circles of El Chupacabra, the "goat sucker," a canid cryptid that apparently first was mentioned in Puerto Rico about twenty years ago.  Since that time, reports have come in from all over, largely concentrated in the southwestern United States, although there have been mentions of the beast from as far away as Siberia.  Where there has been evidence, apart from eyewitness accounts and blurry photographs, the creature in question has always turned out to be a coyote or wolf, usually with mange (a condition that makes the affected individual lose patches of hair).

So, imagine my surprise when there was a story on the bizarre site Who Forted? wherein someone said that not only is El Chupacabra real, but he has one as a pet.

The gentleman in question, one Craig R. of San Diego, thinks his pet dog is a domesticated Chupacabra.  Let's hear his argument:
Chupacabras are real..

I am sure there are generations of groups that have figured out how to live in the wild. The wild ones will of course have more exaggerated wild features.

Jack is a coated Xolo. 4 out of 5 in a litter are black skin and hairless. One out of 5 still have the black skin but they have coats (like Jack) and a full set of teeth (hairless ones are missing most of there [sic] teeth which explains the wild hairless Xolo feeding habits). Standard size of Xolo is 35 pounds. Jack is an intermediate 20 pounds. They have minis to that look like Chihuahuas.

So forget that Jack is not hairless and study the features of Jack. The paws….the teeth. Jack has elongated fangs. I play tough [sic] of war with them they are so long. Look at the nose, the head, the ears.

The Shorter front legs. The rabbit like hips.

He is pretty much a spitting image of the museum Chupacabras and pics.

I can even explain the padding on the hind end of the Texas one. They’re hip bone because he has rabbit like hips stick out on each side of the tale.

If its [sic] a wild one, they will need extra PADDING there to comfort from hard rocks and hard surface while sitting. Plus they wedge they’re hips with those bones against a vertical surface to help them curl up in a tight ball. So those pads are easily explainable...

Chupacabras are wild or feral Xolos that’s it.
The "Xolo" he's talking about is short for Xoloitzcuintle, the so-called "Mexican Hairless Dog."  Craig is right that despite the name, some members of the breed do have hair.  But as far as his pet being an exact match for the fearsome goat-sucker, as he implies, let's look at an image of an alleged Chupacabra corpse:

Then, we have El Chupacabra, as artists have pictured it, from eyewitness testimony:

Then we have... Jack.

I don't know about you, but I'm just not seeing it.

Given that genetic testing on the small number of dead Chupacabras that have been recovered (including the one pictured above) have, one and all, shown them to be sick coyotes, I just don't think I'm ready to cast myself into Craig R.'s camp just yet.  If there were any other evidence of wild packs of Xolos running around...  but right now, that's it.  Just his word, with an assurance that Jack is really a great deal fiercer than he looks.

Because, face it; doesn't Jack just look a little... cuddly to be labeled as a "goat-sucker?"  If he really was a Chupacabra, you'd think that the general reaction would be running away screaming, while all I want to do is to skritch his head.  But that's just me.  I haven't, after all, played "tough of war" with him.

So, that's today's news from the cryptozoological world.  Once again, a wild claim and nothing really much to back it up, but it's not like that's anything new.  Who knows what's next?  If this sets any kind of precedent, the next thing we know, we'll have the Yeti being characterized as "very much like a baby panda."


  1. That's Cool I understand your skepticism. Not looking for attention bud.
    Just getting tired of seeing dead dogs perpetrated as Chupacabras. That look like my dog and the breed. Moreover there is a perfectly logical explanation to this...that's what I am after. I will have my thesis done soon. The email you copied (and that article) was literally my first correspondence to anyone about this (and was more of a rant to the Author) , and I am in the process of cleaning up my theory it was really ruff. Since then I have put a Facebook page up to help with this. So people can study the research. The science I am going to use is primarily pictures. The current Xolo DNA profile is WAY to narrow and can not be counted as the final say. Pictures tell 1000 words.

  2. We have a 14 lb Xolo and he looks to me like if he was a "standard" up t 40 lbs, he could be mistaken for a "Chupacabra". I believe that all Chupas are really wild Xolos!