Residents of Southern California Report 'Chupacabra' Sightings

M.J. Blunt, along with a drawing of a creature she says she saw a few months ago in the Box Springs Mountain area.

M.J. Blunt, along with a drawing of a creature she says she saw a few months ago in the Box Springs Mountain area.

Residents living at the base of Box Springs Mountain in Southern California have reportedly seen something they're referring to as a chupacabra, according to The Press-Enterprise.

In an interview with the news outlet, resident Cary Shuker, a private contractor, said he saw a strange creature outside of his home after witnessing his cat fleeing from something in terror.

“This thing was standing out there, looking at me” said Shuker.  “It was the ugliest-looking thing.”

"The thing had a big rat tail, like a possum," he continued.  "And it had no fur on it, and it was kind of buck-skinned, buck-skinned and a little pinkish color, kind of like a rat."

"It had rippled skin, and it was maybe two feet longer than the biggest coyote you ever seen."

Shuker also said the creature's teeth were protruding from its mouth.  

The creature snarled at Shuker before leaving.

“It was cussing me out, basically. … I stole its breakfast. It was hunting my cat,” Shuker said. “This wasn’t no coyote, by any means.”

Retired child development consultant M.J. Blunt also claimed to have seen a similar creature in the area.

“I thought, ‘That is the strangest-looking animal I’ve ever seen,’” said M.J. Blunt.

Blunt said she first saw the creature a year ago, eating fruit from a tree in a front yard.

“The ears of a deer, long snout, no hair, tail like a rat, long hindquarters,” she said. “I thought it might be a sick coyote, a sick wolf. But it had too many different characteristics from any of them.”

Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is skeptical of residents' claims.

“The chupacabra is not a recognized species by the Department of Fish and Wildlife,” said Hughan. “Chupacabras are not a thing.”

John Welsh, a spokesman for Riverside County Animal Services, is similarly skeptical.  

“There is no such thing, except in the folklore of various communities,” Welsh wrote in an email.

“Residents living in this area are right in the backyard of coyotes, and the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is not that far away either; there are bobcats and, in some rare circumstances, reports of a mountain lion in that area.”

Reports of chupacabra attacks on livestock began in 1995 in Puerto Rico, and spread to the mainland along mostly Hispanic communities; from Florida to the southern United States, and into the southwestern United States and Mexico.  Few people claimed to have seen the creature in Puerto Rico, but one of the few that did described it as a reptilian biped with a row of spines down its back; a far cry from the hairless dog-like creatures seen on mainland North America.  This discrepancy has many experts saying that mainland "chupacabras" are nothing more than a folkloric explanation for what would otherwise be easily recognized as a coyote or wild dog afflicted with mange. 

Mange is a skin condition that affects dogs that causes them to lose most or all of their fur, and is caused by parasitic mites.

Cryptozoologist and author Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Maine, believes that these sightings of supposed chupacabras can be entirely explained by animals that have contracted mange.

“DNA results prove these are 100 percent canid (coyotes, foxes, dogs, red wolves), usually with mange," said Coleman.

Despite the authorities' dismissal of their claims, residents in the Box Spring Mountain area are certain of what they've seen.

“It sounds like the craziest, made-up story,” said Shuker. “But it’s not.”

Tobias Wayland