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'My neighbor says chupacabra': What's the creature wandering around Grapevine?

After much online speculation, Grapevine Animal Services has finally identified a "mysterious" creature.

GRAPEVINE, Texas — If you were hoping to see a chupacabra, don't hold your breath.

The animal in these viral photos is a coyote with mange, according to Grapevine Animal Services

Steve Cooley first spotted the lean, hairless animal wandering in his backyard weeks ago.

"I was mowing the lawn on the 15th, and he kept hanging around the next-door neighbor's yard while I mowed," Cooley said.

Cooley and his wife have been living in their Grapevine home since 1999, enjoying the space and proximity to a wooded area.

"There's a creek that runs through the middle of it that feeds into McPherson Slough," Cooley said. "Over the years, it's attracted a lot of wildlife because of the amount of building that's going on around here. There are fewer and fewer places for these animals to live."

Credit: Jay Wallis
Steve Cooley sits down with his dog, Ziva, to explain what the wildlife creature he is calling "the blue dog" looks like.

Cooley said he's used to seeing all types of wildlife such as foxes, rabbits, deer, owls and hawks. But most of all? Coyotes.

"Coyotes are very savvy and wily," Cooley said. "Normally, whenever I see them, as soon as they see me, they don't want to have anything to do with me."

That wasn't the case with the animal he saw a couple of weeks ago. What Cooley is calling "the blue dog" wasn't intimidated by him and didn't run away from him.

"After I finished mowing, I decided I wanted to get a closer look at it," Cooley said.

So Cooley picked up his camera, snapped some photos and shared them with his Facebook friends. Then they shared his post and their theories on what the creature could be.

Credit: Steve Cooley

"My neighbor says chupacabra," Cooley wrote on his post. "Friends of mine are like, 'Dude, this is going viral.' And I'm like, 'No, it ain't viral yet.'"

Cooley's neighbor, Sonia Duque-Miyashita, saw the animal a couple of weeks after him, and she said she was also struggling to identify what she was looking at.

"It was maybe about a week ago, I wasn't sure what he was because he looked kind of like a dog or a bobcat," Duque-Miyashita said. "It looked very frail. Malnourished. I just wanted for that poor animal to be taken care of."

If mythical creatures aren't your thing, a "chupacabra" is a folklore creature believed to attack livestock and drink its blood. 

But this story is non-fiction.  

A Grapevine Animal Services supervisor squashed the chupacabra theory quickly.

"The animal in the photo is a coyote with mange," Supervisor Kristina Valentine wrote in an email to WFAA. 

Credit: Steve Cooley
Photo of a Grapevine coyote with mange

Mange is a skin condition that occurs when parasitic mites embed themselves in a mammal's skin or hair follicles and causes hair loss.

It's also contagious. 

If you see the coyote and have other pets, Valentine said to keep them inside until the coyote's been safely removed and call animal services at 817-410-3370. 

Putting the Chupacabra jokes aside, Cooley said he hopes the coyote will be found safely and nursed back to good health. 

"He was favoring a hind leg and once again was hanging out in the backyard. He's not been seen since and I fear the worst for him," said Cooley. 

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