El Chupacabra got its name from the Spanish words chupar (“to suck”) and cabra (“goat”). This mythical monster supposedly inhabits parts of Puerto Rico, Mexico and the United States. Believers in El Chupacabra believe the monster acts like a vampire, drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats. – wonderopolis.org
When we first saw this trap cam picture from deep in the forests of Devil’s Lake State Park, we wondered, Is it the Chupacabra???!!!
If you’ve followed along, you’ll know that we, along with the Devil’s Lake State Park nature center, have been putting out trap cams around the park to check out the local wildlife. Along the way we’ve captured lots of deer, raccoons, coyotes, red fox, black birds, vultures and more. One of the more interesting captures came from our aptly titled “Bigfoot” cam which was originally set up for family “Finding Bigfoot” hikes throughout the year. Wouldn’t you know, that would be the camera to catch something weird!
Interestingly almost everyone is immediately sure what it is. The problem is that most people who’ve seen the shot can’t agree. The debate has been raging on our Facebook Page for a few days. “It’s A Racoon!” “A Coyote!” “A Cat!” “A Fox!” “A Cougar!”
Well, the park naturalist sent the pic out to the Wisconsin DNR’s experts to get a definitive answer… And she didn’t quite get one. The pros who look at these trap cam pics all the time, guessed that we are looking at a Gray fox, mostly because of the feline-like face. (Score one for the naturalist who pegged it!) Adult Gray Foxes normally weigh 9-11 pounds and are 3-3 1/2 feet long from the tip of the nose to the tip of the 15-inch tail. Gray foxes have a black tip on their tail, unlike their larger cousins the red fox who have white tips. (Can you see a black tip tail in the pic above?) Another interesting note, Gray Foxes have semi-retractable claws which allow them to climb trees, and they are one of only two canine species in the world that can do so. These days Gray foxes are more common in the southern and western parts of Wisconsin and are rare in the northern part of the state.
AND by-the-way, it is now thought that foxes play a major role in controlling the ticks that cause lyme disease. Hey, we LOVE foxes!
Still, when looking at the trail cam photo, no one was 100% certain. Legs too long for a racoon (and no striping). Feline face but a dog-like bushy tail…. What do you think?