(Fox News) The legendary chupacabra has been spied, shot and killed -- will bigfoot be next?
A man in Kentucky found a strange, hairless creature prowling his front lawn December 18, a critter he believes to be the mythical chupacabra, a beast from Hispanic folklore supposedly known for attacking goats and other livestock (chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish).
Mark Cothren described the creature, which strolled onto his lawn in Lebanon Junction, KY, as having large ears, whiskers, a long tail, and about the size of a house cat, reported Wave3.
"I was like, 'every animal has hair, especially this time of year!' What puzzled me is how something like that could survive through a winter with no hair," Cothren told the TV station.
The chupacabra has captured the public's imagination for years, and was even featured on the popular television series "The X-Files." Many carcasses of the coyote-like chupacabra have been "identified" across the U.S. -- and even put on display in museums.
In July, a chupacabra was spotted in North Texas. In October, 2009, a real-estate agent from New York believed he had found one of the mystical creatures; he had the carcass stuffed and put on display at John Adolfi's Lost World Museum in Phoenix, N.Y., The exhibit also included 45 photos of living or killed chupacabras, 6 minutes of news footage and the remains of a 4-month old hopping gray critter from 2006.
Past sightings have been explained in a variety of ways. Some have turned out to be raccoons or coyotes with mange, a skin disease that often leads to hair loss and explains the hairless condition people associate with the chupacabra. Mange comes from infection by a blood-sucking mite, according to Barry OConnor, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan.
"To me, the most interesting aspect of this whole system is the fact we are talking about a human parasite that has moved from us onto other animals, as opposed to all the things that have gone in the other direction," OConnor said when the last sighting turned up.
Still, Cothren remains unconvinced, and he says others share his interest.
"Everybody is getting very curious, you know. [The] phone is ringing off the hook. It's kind of a mystery right now," Cothren told Wave3.