It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a chupacabra?
I think I have talked about where I live before, it is an old farmhouse in the kinda country. I live on the edge of town in Morton, IL and my house is 75% surrounded with fields.
As you can imagine, along with the location comes critters. We have the occasional opossum that wants to live in the barn, field mice, rabbits and coyotes. And now we can add a “chupacabra” to the list. For those of you who have no idea what a chupacabra is, according to Wikipedia, it is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. Physical descriptions of the creature vary. It is reported to be a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail or an evil-looking, dog-like animal with long snout. They pray on small livestock like goats.
I know what you are thinking… Erin has lost her mind and watches way too much SyFy, but check out the pic of what has been roaming around the house over the last week.
It looks like an evil, dog-like creature, doesn’t it? Many experts have investigated sightings and say they are coyotes with mange. I really don’t know, but I have lived in central Illinois my entire life, and have never seen the likes of this. When we first saw it running around, this was the exchange of words in the kitchen as we were all pressed against the window…
Me – What in the world is that???
My boyfriend – Is it a hairless coyote?
Me - I don’t know. Maybe it is one of those ugly dogs with no hair that people spend way too much money on.
My boyfriend - It could be a dog with mange that got dumped.
My 16 year-old son – No way! That looks like a chupacabra!
So, that is how our latest bit of wildlife got it’s name. We had hoped that it would just move on, but with daily sightings, I started to worry that it could be sick or that we could accidentally surprise it sometime, forcing it to defend itself. I decided it was time to call the professionals.
Yesterday, I called animal control who referred me to the police department who referred me to DNR. Long story short, none of them had a clue what this thing was for certain but guessed it was either a hairless fox or a hairless coyote. All of them said the same thing, I could try to trap it or I could just make a lot of noise whenever I saw it to scare it off. Not really the answers I wanted, but it is what it is. We decided that we would be very aware of our surroundings when outside and be loud when we see it. In the interim, I decided to see what the Red Cross had to say about dealing with “chupacabras”.
I started to research and found a fab little class we teach called Bow Wow Ow. It trains children about how to be safe around dogs and what to do to avoid dog bites. Sure it was a stretch, but “chupacabras” are reportedly dog-like.
The class addresses more than 12 common situations where children could have a negative experience with dogs and then illustrates the proper behavior children should possess while in each situation. These teaching points, along with common sense and adult supervision, go a long way in preventing dog bite-related injuries.
- For example, kids want to know why dogs want to bite us when we just want to pet them and the response is they don’t want to bite us, it is just the way dogs express themselves and they maybe scared of humans. So noted… I will not attempt to pet the chupacabra.
- Another lesson teaches children why dogs bark so much, it is just their way of telling you how they feel. Got it… the chupacabra is not barking because it doesn’t really care to tell me how it feels. That’s okay with me.
In all seriousness, the Bow Wow Ow class is pretty awesome for young kids and it’s free, so you can’t beat that. Our instructors go to area schools and teach children about being safe through tons of classes. (Click here to see all that we offer.) Fall class scheduling is now open, so feel free to let your child’s teacher know they should contact Monica.Grugett@redcross.org to schedule their free classes. I do not recommend asking her for “chupacabra” safety training though, her office is next to mine and she thinks that I have completely lost my mind.