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Posted on Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 2:40 p.m.

El Chupacabra or a mangy animal seen in Ypsilanti Township?

By Juliana Keeping

The feedback from yesterday's investigation into chupacabras - storied dog-beast hybrids that suck the blood of goats - included warnings of a government conspiracy and pictures of a suspected chupacabra in Washtenaw County.

The fact that a University of Michigan mammal expert confirmed chupacabras are really just animals rendered hairless and creepy-looking by a bad case of mange - like coyotes or feral dogs - wasn't enough to dissuade some readers.

A number of readers bucked science in favor of the unexplained. Chupacabras and Bigfoot - not to mention the Yeti, they warned, are no laughing matter.

One man e-mailed to say was stonewalled by the state Department of Natural Resources.

Another sent pictures.

Jeff Allen, an Ypsilanti Township resident and the director of residential services for the township, pulled over on Bridge Road in the summer of 2008 to snap pictures of a strange-looking animal coming out of the parks along Ford Lake to snack on some roadkill.

"I got pretty close to it," Allen said.

He wouldn't call it El Chupacabra. He made some calls and was told the animal likely had mange, a parasitic disease that attacks furry animals' hair follicles.

"It looks like a fox or a coyote," Allen guessed.

Check out the picture, take our poll below and tell us what you think.


This thing was spotted in 2008 in Ypsilanti Township. What do you think it is?

Update: Another reader just sent in a photo she took of a mangy-looking animal in Ypsilanti Township. She said it was taken in May 2008 in the Greene Farms subdivision off Whittaker Road. Check it out:



Brenna Dunville

Sat, Apr 16, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

I'm not saying I believe in el chupacabra, but you have no proof that it doesn't exsist. No one has any proof that it does exsist. Just because you don't believe in it or haven't seen it doesn't mean it isn't real and that isn't the right picture of it. Everyone knows thats just a cayote. That doesn't even look like the descriptions.


Mon, Aug 23, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

i swear to god i saw one by my house in desert hot springs california it looked like a solid grey hairless malnutritioned coyot.......but i see coyotes all the time and it didnt exactly look like a coyote........


Sun, Apr 11, 2010 : 9:30 p.m.

This is a glaring example of survival of the fittest. Nature can be cruel and deadly. It is an example of diseases in the wild that have the potential to affect our pets. Since we have close association with our pets (& domestic animals), humans can be at risk of exposure to the diseases. The most notable, serious, deadly, disease is Rabies. Sorry!, if I grossed anyone out. A "Chupacabra" is only a diseased animal. It is given some mythical, mysterious, imaginary status as the result of folklore, ignorance and fear. I think if one feels it necessary to carry fire arms for protection while hiking in Michigan's woods, it would be for protection from our own predatory species. (Homo sapien)


Sun, Apr 11, 2010 : 9:09 p.m.

I agree. It was the most gross, pathetic, diseased animal I had ever seen in my entire career. I had thoughts of treatment and rehabilitation, at first. I quickly realised what was the most humane choice. The sick, female fox in the picture is not as severe as the one that I encountered, but it is, in my opinion, not going to live very long. The prognosis is grave.

W. Vida

Sun, Apr 11, 2010 : 7:45 p.m.

Valgus, that is one gross story!


Sun, Apr 11, 2010 : 5:21 p.m.

I can tell all of you for certain this is a "Red Fox" with Sarcoptic Mange and secondary complications. Several years ago, when I was working in my barn with the doors open, an over whelming, nauseating stench permeated the air. A blind, emaciated, diseased red fox stumbled into the barn through the open door. It ran into objects, walls, etc.. I quickly rigged up a snare with a cord and a piece of pipe and caught it before it ran into a sharp farm implement. It had completely clouded corneas in both eyes with green-yellow matter (pus) from the eyes and down the face. It showed advanced kowashiorkor ( emaciation, generalised hair discolouration and loss, extreme weakness, dehydration). plaques of skin were flaking off as seen in the picture. The rotting stench was nearly over whelming. I would have been surprised if it weighed 5- lbs.. It was definitely moribund, so I humanely euthanised it. The pictures are not of a Chupacabra, a coyote, domestic dog, or hybrid of any kind. It is a Red Fox with Sarcoptic Mange and secondary complications.


Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 9:17 a.m.

coyotes and foxes can not create a "cross" they can not mate.

PE #1

Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

@actionjackson Sorry for the late post, but have you no heart? If the animal is doomed to die, why shoot it? The animal shelter could put it down, If that is what is needed, kindly. There is no possible way that this animal is anything but a mangy fox, so why be afraid of it? once again our pets are in no danger, except that of catching mange. To shoot this poor fox would be the wrong thing to do.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 3:59 p.m.

This does look like a cross between a coyote and a fox. I have never seen a dog no matter how sick it was look like this. It is very sad to look at and I wish someone would catch it and get it help if it can be helped and then we would know for sure what it is. El Chupacabra are known to walk on two feet not four. This is just some very sick animal who needs help.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

This animal is NOT what my wife and I saw March 29, 2010 at 1:15-:30 PM est on East Huron River Drive just east of the US-23 overpass. I have hunted just about everywhere and everything this state has to offer in small and large game over the last 45 years. There has only been one time that I have ever seen any type of animal that looked like what we witnessed crossing the road from the Huron River side and that was on the following Saturday when we watched a program on the National Geographic Channel entitled "Paranatural:Chupacabras". They had supposed video of one giving the same profile as it crossed in front of the camera. Now THAT looked like what we saw...only slightly larger and beefier in the trunk. This "thing" then...since the police and other authorities have laughed at us when we dare use the "C" word...could easily take down a small framed adult with no effort. True. To date there have been no reported human attacks, but after seeing one from less than forty feet in broad daylight, I WILL NOT WALK THE WOODS OF MICHIGAN ALONE UNARMED. Hunting season or not. Friend told me that since I claim it can't be native to the state and a possible threat to human life, I don't need a license and it would be open season.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 1:17 p.m.

No matter what animal it is someone should shoot it with something other than a camera!


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 12:08 p.m.

Well said, Adlai Reinhart! Both photos look like sick foxes, possibly with mange. Before people jump to believing it is some supernatural creature or going all "boo hoo" about mankind's cruelty toward dogs, please keep in mind that sick animals can look quite different if they have lost some of their characteristic fur and/or considerable weight. These are not someone's neglected pets, they are wild animals that need some medical attention, if at all possible to get it to them. They need care, not misplaced outrage or fantisizing or goofy stories about sucking the blood out of goats. If you see an animal like this near your home or work that doesn't look right, please call someone who can help. I think it would be great if did a follow-up with a story about area people or agencies who help wild animals in distress, and about how to contact them or donate to their efforts.

PE #1

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 11:14 a.m.

Anyone in their right mind can see that is a mangy fox. I cant believe that any sane person could call that a Chupacabra. The animal should be caught and given treatment (anyone herd of Howell Nature Center?) and when ready, be released back into the wild. The only danger that pets are in is the danger of catching mange. The animal doesn't need people on these articles calling it a dangerous Cryptid, it needs medical care and attention.

Patti Smith

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

These pictures are breaking my heart. I can't stand to see an animal in distress. Judy McAtee hit the nail on the head...we did this to dogs (domesticated them) and then stuff like this happens?? Makes me want to holla....


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

Yikes! Thanks for the nightmares.

Judy McAtee

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:17 a.m.

my god, people! this is a prime example how naive and cruel people are. this is obviously a starving, sick dog that humans have disowned. we domesticated animals hundreds of years ago and many of us aren't responsible enough to own an animal. therefore, stupidity reigns with many who make up some ridiculous story about this poor dog being a monster! i don't know how anyone could look at that photo and not feel just awful about how this poor dog has been mistreated.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 6:02 a.m.

Looks like a Coyote/Fox cross to me!


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 5:55 a.m.

It looks mostly like a sick Coyote but it looks like to much red fur (what is left of it) possible Coyote Fox cross.


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 6:24 p.m.

People are crazy


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 5:14 p.m.

two years ago- I had one in my back yard- it was mangy and rubbing it's face on the ground- it then went over and ate fallen apples on the ground under my trees- that was also the time the deer quit coming around. It was not a dog.

Dante Marcos

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 5:12 p.m.

Both photographs are of foxes. Study the black button nose of a fox, in comparison with the butterfly-shaped nose and narrower snout of a coyote:


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

first idea but whatever it is it's about to die, second pic looks exactly like the red fox we have a lot of in our neighborhood only it seems to big and the tails all wrong "to long"


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

the second pic is a fox, the first pic I said coyote... whether it is a dog or a coyote it is terribly sad to see it in that condition. 2008, it is likely dead by now :( and no longer suffering.

Atticus F.

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

Whatever it is, I wouldn't want to get anywhere near it. Looks like it has the potential to be a biter.

Dante Marcos

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 4:07 p.m.

This photograph is of a fox. I've seen Bigfoot. In a terrycloth robe, bending over to pick up the WSJ, on Geddes Rd. just past the entrance to the Arb.


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 3:54 p.m.

@ TreeTownCartel-Thats funny!


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 3:38 p.m.

Cougars on Sharon Hollow? When did somebody open a bar on Sharon Hollow road?


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 3:35 p.m.

I grew up in Superior Township. Have lived in the country out in Lenawee county. And I have seen thousands of coyotes. This appears to be one which is very sick and has mange. Coyotes are even seen in Detroit. They wander all over and propagate at a high rate. Besides. Chupacabras are purported to walk on two legs, not four.

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

if the second picture is the one photographed in greene farms, my neighbor told me about this. she told me that the humane society or wcsd animal control indeed was called out. they put antibiotics in hot dogs and left them out for the animal to eat. they identified it as a fox w/a den in the creek that flows through there right near my house. so there should be documentation of this call. personally, i did not see it that summer. however, the neighbors seen it repeatedly that summer during the day.

Clay Dowling

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 3:17 p.m.

The first animal looks like a malnourished immature golden retriever. The second is without a doubt a fox. They are really common, but they're also really good at remaining concealed. The fact that it's trotting down an open path like that suggests that it's too tired to worry about basic survival skills like hiding from humans. The decent thing to do is put it down.

Theresa Taylor

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 3:17 p.m.

Poor thing. Just a starving dog with mange. :(

Theresa Taylor

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 3:16 p.m.

Poor thing. Just a starving dog with mange.


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

Poor critter, it should either be caught and treated, or caught and put down...mange is a terrible disease and the poor thing is likely suffering.


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

very close to the area and time of the sighting a fox severely afflicted with mange came onto our patio, and then wandered off. it was partially blind, lame in one leg and with repulsive black scaly growths on its face.. allowing for photo quality issues, the beast depicted could have been it....but a fox is what i saw, without any doubt whatsoever ( perhaps the very one that the previous spring had a den within 50 feet of my study window).. all sad, but "natures' way" and certainly not an unknown no need for "monsterquest" here.


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 2:42 p.m.

I'll go with a sick dog.It's snout looks too wide for a coyote


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 2:37 p.m.

Just recently a couple Cougars were photographed off of Sharon Hollow Road in Sharon Township.

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 2:28 p.m.

when i commented the first time, the first picture was the only one there. it does look like a sick coyote. being malnurished will make things like the tail and legs look longer (in relation to it's torso). i live in the 'south district' of ypsi township. i do hear coyotes whining during the night on occasion.


Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

The photo looks like it has been "tinkered" with. Hence, I am not certain how much we can trust the image. Looks a lot like a starving, diseased coyote, though.

W. Vida

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 1:58 p.m.

""I got pretty close to it," Allen said." What? Allen don't get close to it! I think it is a mangy dog.

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Apr 8, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

looks like a sick and abandoned dog to me.