A family in Victoria, Texas shot and killed this animal, which they are claiming to be a chupacabra, a mythical creature that sucks the blood out of livestock. (KAVU/ABC News)
Victoria, Tex. (ABC) -- A south Texas family claim they shot and killed an infamous chupacabra after coming face-to-face with the strange coyote-like animal on their property.
Doug Ohrt and his family were at home in Victoria County ranch Sunday night when they heard a chilling howl.
“My grandson ran outside and shot him from about 240 yards,” Ohrt, 79, told ABC News. “It’s mangy looking and it’s got long hair on the back and hair on its legs.”
"My grandkids said ‘Oh that's a chupacabra’," Doug Ohrt’s wife, Lucy, 77, told ABC News affiliate KAVU, referring to the infamous mythical beast that has long been part of folklore and legend in the South.
The chupacabra is said to closely resemble a coyote, but with a skinny, hairless body and patches of mangy hair. It also has a reputation for sucking the blood from livestock, hence its name, meaning “goat sucker” in Spanish.
"It's usually got long hair on it and this one doesn't and that's what makes it different from a regular coyote," said Lucy Ohrt. "I’ve heard people say they've gotten young calves, but they have never gotten any of ours.”
Doug Ohrt says they’ve been hearing long wailing howls at night time for at least the past year.
“It would get real close and try to get into the dog food,” he said.
Numerous other sightings over the years have added to speculation that the chupacabra lives on past the legend, but experts aren’t so sure the creature killed actually exists.
"I've seen squirrels, raccoons and coyotes in this area with the same features," Josh Turner, a wildlife biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, told KAVU.
"They're a mythical creature that most people see, but what it really is sarcapotic mange which is caused by a mite that bites the animal and it can be on any mammal -- dogs ,cats, coyotes foxes, and humans can get another version of it as well," Turner said.
"If you do shoot it or something, wear gloves if you want to move it because that mite can get on your pet," Turner recommends.
In June 2010, ABC News reported two mysterious, coyote-like creatures have been spotted within a week of each other in a 10-mile stretch of north Texas that were claimed to be chupacabras.