An urban legend creature linked to parts of Mexico and the southern United States is capturing the minds of the internet with an image shared by a zoo.
What happened: The Amarillo Zoo shared an image with the public asking for help identifying a strange creature seen outside the zoo in the early hours of the morning on May 21.
The town of Amarillo asked if the image was a person with a weird hat or maybe a Chupacabra, which led to the story quickly going viral. Twitter Inc. TWTR.
Amarillo Zoo captured the eerie image outside the zoo in the dark and early morning of May 21 (around 1:25 a.m.). Is it a person with a weird hat who likes to walk around at night? A chupacabra? Do you have any ideas what this unidentified UAO Amarillo object might be? pic.twitter.com/86Ly9ogtBT
— CityofAmarillo (@CityofAmarillo) June 9, 2022
For those unfamiliar with chupacabras, urban legend says the creature is similar to a Sasquatch or Bigfoot and its name translates to “goat sucker.”
The mysterious creatures were first linked to parts of Puerto Rico where goats, sheep and other animals were drained of blood. Urban legend describes them as standing on two legs and looking like large animals.
Sightings have linked the animals to Mexico and the southern part of the United States. Some sightings turned out to be coyotes or canine hybrids that had mange, making them appear hairless.
The Amarillo Zoo contains over 80 species of animals on 15 acres in North Texas. The zoo offers wildlife education and experiences. Among the animals featured at the zoo are lions, tigers and bears. And yes, in case you were wondering, the zoo is home to goats. Boer goats are among the animal species in the zoo.
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Why it matters: Although it looks like it’s straight out of the movies or a potential attempt by a social media account to go viral, Amarillo city officials say the image is real.
The cameras near the zoo are motion-activated and send an alert to zoo officials when they capture something on camera. No video of the creature has been recorded, only images.
Social media is divided if the image is real and also if it is an animal or creature or if it is a person in a costume. Internet guesses range from the coyote mascot of the San Antonio Spurs to video game characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Crash Bandicoot.
The Chupacabra is not as well known or featured in media programming as Bigfoot. Bigfoot shows like “Finding Bigfoot” and “Expedition Bigfoot” are among the programs of Discovery of Warner Bros. WBD proprietary channels that focus on finding this urban legend.
A Travel Channel episode of “When Monsters Attack” featured a look at the Chupacabra.
The image of the Amarillo Zoo could lead to an increase in programs featuring the urban legend and could trigger a tourist boom for the town of Amarillo.
Photo: Courtesy of duluoz cats on Flickr