This opens quite an interesting can of worms, and one I have to admit I had not thought about before, despite my well-publicised like of the term 'chupacabras' for these poor woe-begone creatures, which are obviously nothing of the sort.
As I have written elsewhere, the term chupacabras seems to have been coined by my mate Ismael Aguyo some time in the mid-1990s, and was (and is) used to describe the semi-bipedal spiky creature of the Canovenas grassland plains in central Puerto Rico. As I have written elsewhere, the fact that it seems to be common parlance now for a plethora of blue and grey skinned canids from the southern states of the USA is nothing but bad news.
Indeed I appeared in a pilot episode of something called The Tracker for the Discovery Channel back in 2004 and said just this. If the Discovery Channel hadn't been such sensationalist idiots and had used my pilot rather than something shot a few months later starring a person calling himself Spaceman Joe, who apparently wandered about with a pair of deely boppers on his head and talking pernicious nonsense, then perhaps common sense might have prevailed.
This latest incident when 13-year-old Carter Pope shot what appears to be a mangy coyote has actually highlighted something I feel is very important. It is obvious to anybody with more than half a brain cell to rub together that these things are canids of some description. Indeed, it appears that the vast majority of them are mangy dogs or coyotes. Others, however, are more interesting. Some of the male animals have peculiar cushions of flesh on their haunches, which I have not seen in any other extant canid. DNA tests on the specimens secured by Dr Phyllis Canion at Cuero some years ago have proven to be a coyote x Mexican wolf hybrid. As there are no known Mexican wolves in Texas, or indeed in Mexico, this is, to say the least, an exciting set of finds.
Other DNA secured by Richie and Naomi West has been identified as a coyote cross, and we hope that the next lot of analysis by Lars Thomas, Tom Gilbert and their team will give us more information.
Whatever they are, they are not semi-bipedal or vampiric. They are not monsters, and I have only just realised this, but to insist on flying in the face of both scientific evidence and common sense and calling them by a monstrous name demonises them. Is it any wonder, then, that at 13-year-old boy shot one thinking that he had bagged a monster, when - of course - he had done nothing of the sort? Whatever these creatures are, they do not deserve to be demonised, and they do not deserve to be shot at by trigger happy teenagers.
(Golly, I got through a whole article without bringing up the subject of the wisdom of giving guns to children. Whoopee!)
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