The latest viral tale of a caged bloodsucking chupacabra in Texas has been put to rest, literally and figuratively.
It all started when a Texas couple caught a critter that they saw eating corn in a tree on their property in Ratcliffe, Texas. Jackie Stock said her husband trapped the animal, which had a "hairless back, large claws and countless teeth." That led locals to speculate that it was the legendary chupacabra, a monster that supposedly attacks livestock and drinks their blood.
Chupacabra sightings pop up periodically, over a range that extends from South America to Maine but centers on Mexico and the American Southwest. ("Chupacabra" is Spanish for "goat-sucker.") Usually the monsters turn out to be coyotes or dogs with a bad case of mange. That's the kind of critter that was repeatedly sighted in the Houston area earlier this year.
"Since I have a sense of humor and a long-held interest in Texas history and folklore, chupacabra calls usually go to me," Mike Cox, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, told NBC News. "I'd guess I get three or four a year, more when an incident like this comes up."
The Ratcliffe Chupacabra is unusual, in that experts eventually made it out to be a mangy raccoon rather than a coyote (or a chupacabra, for that matter). Cox said the local game warden in DeWitt County took on the case.
"The warden did contact the person who trapped the animal and told him that since it did appear to be a raccoon, he would have to release it back into the wild or euthanize it," Cox said Friday. "The land owner left a message on the warden's voice mail this morning that the animal had been euthanized."
Cox said Texas Parks and Wildlife has taken no enforcement action and plans no further investigation. "Our agency does not believe chupacabras exist anywhere but in the imaginations of some," he told NBC News.
What would Agent Mulder say about this X-File? "Trust no one."