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Monsters, Mutants and Other Animal Mysteries

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• The hairless dogoyote. Rancher Devin Macanally shot and killed an unknown animal that he says was attacking his livestock on his ranch in Elmendorf, Texas in July, 2004. Despite good photos and the actual body of the animal, it has yet to be identified. Because it was killing smaller farm animals, some wondered if this was the legendary Chupacabras. The hairless, blue-gray, 20-pound creature, which somewhat resembles a dog, may have been responsible for the disappearance of more than 40 of the rancher's chickens. The bones of the unknown animal have been sent for DNA testing, but meanwhile, experts at the San Antonio Zoo could not identify it. The mammal curator at the zoo theorized it was "a mix between a dog and a coyote," and admitted that its lower jaw was "not normal for any mammal."

• The PNG Dinosaur. A formal hunt was organized by police in Papua New Guinea when several locals reported seeing a large dinosaur-like creature lumbering about in March, 2004. The villagers described the creature as being about three metres (nine feet) tall, gray in color, with a head like a dog's and a crocodile-like tail. The hunt did not find the mysterious animal (or any ostriches).

• Dog-eating Chupacabras. In January, 2004, a 40-year-old man was scared out of his wits by a monster he encountered while driving on the road around 5 a.m. at Santa Filomena, Chile. Juan Berríos described it to reporter Scott Corrales as "a bipedal animal standing 1.50 meters tall, with hind legs like those of a kangaroo, small, curved hands ending in talons, a sharp mane like that of a porcupine running along its back, a tail with a rattle, a muzzle like that of a fierce wolf, several rows of teeth and voracious red eyes." Most terrifying, this monster was carrying the bleeding body of what may have been a dog in its mouth.

• Chupacabras' cousin. In August, Corrales reported on the discovery of an unidentified animal inside a doghouse belonging to Manuel Otazo in Valparaiso, Chile. According to Corrales, "Manuel Otazo explained that the animal had a small head and red fur, with large fangs, claws and hands resembling wings, different from any rodent or known domestic animal." Otazo believed it could have been a relative of the Chupacabras.

Other Recent Animal Anomalies and Oddities:

• Fertile mules. Ask any veterinarian or zoologist and they will tell you that it is impossible for a mule to give birth. By definition, a mule (a cross between a female horse and a male donkey) is an animal bread to be sterile. Yet on June 7, 2004, in the Bhutan village of Dorikha, a golden yellow mule gave birth to a black foal. This "impossibility" is not an isolated case. In October, 2002, a mule gave birth in rural Morocco.

• Giant hog. They dubbed it "Hogzilla" - a gigantic feral hog that stretched 12 feet long and weighed in at a whopping 1,000 pounds. Chris Griffin killed the monstrous pig on his plantation in Alapaha, Georgia in July, 2004.

• Seagull attack. A retired man in Falkirk, Scotland became the victim of a flock of seagulls that seemed to really have it out for him. "James McNeish said the gulls would swoop and peck at him when he walked out of the door," reported the Daily Record on July 13, 2004. "He also said they would stare at him through his windows." The strange incident became more and more like Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds when the gulls began to go after children as they played in a nearby park.

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