When a new story of mysterious animal killings hits the media and a certain blood-sucking cryptid is blamed, fans of the true Chupacabras are always quick to point out that the legendary creature lives primarily in Puerto Rico, not Texas or anywhere else; it looks more like a small, upright-walking lizardish monster, not a mangy dog; and it prefers goats – that’s the ‘cabras’ in the name. Well, Chupacabras fan – here’s a story from Silicon Valley that involves mysterious goat deaths caused by something other than a skinny, hairless dog. As Meat Loaf likes to sing, two out of three ain’t bad.
“DEAR JOAN: Three neighbors nearby here in the Lexington Hills have had their goat herds slaughtered at night in the last month by mountain lions. That amounts to 12 goats, none of which were eaten.”
A concerned Los Gatos citizen wrote a letter to Joan Morris, the pets & wildlife columnist for the Bay Area News Group of which the Mercury News is a part of, about the mysterious deaths of a dozen goats in her area. Los Gatos (‘gatos’ means cats, not goats, in case you were wondering) is in Santa Clara County in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the heart of Silicon Valley. Why are there goats there? This is California – goat herds are an environmentally friendly way to keep brush and wild grassy areas trimmed. Earlier this year, a herd of about 200 goats broke free from a fenced-in area in nearby San Jose and stampeded through town before being rounded up and led home by their owner. Sounds like heaven on Earth for a Chupacabra, right? As the story made the rounds via Reddit and other sites, “Chupacabras” was the #1 answer, as Steve Harvey likes to say on “The Family Feud.”
“DEAR SUE: Has anyone actually seen a mountain lion kill one of the goats, because I’m not at all convinced the cougars are to blame. Mountain lions don’t hunt in packs, and neither do they kill for fun. When a mountain lion kills, it drags the carcass away to eat. It might cover it and return to continue eating. The most common predator of goats is the coyote, but it also kills for food, and will take one goat every few days. It sounds more like there is a dog or a pack of dogs involved that are killing for sport.”
Joan Morris may have started a few family feuds by putting the kibosh on mountain lions and blaming a pack of wild dogs (not of the Texas-style Chupacabra kind) instead. Coyotes would have been this writer’s answer – the animals are common in Los Gatos and known to be vicious attackers – in 2019, a Los Gatos woman recorded a video of a pack of coyotes standing up to a mountain lion. Also, coyotes don’t kill for sport or eat their kill on the spot the way wild dogs do – they prefer to drag it back to their dens. The dead goats found in Los Gatos may have been left by coyotes spooked when humans approached.
What about Chupacabras?
Well, the report doesn’t say that the dead goats were drained of their blood – the number one Chupacabra indicator. There’s no report of footprints (lizardish feet would give it away) or strange creatures on security cameras. Also, there don’t seem to be any other reports of dead goats or mangy dogs in the area. Thus, it’s a good-news-bad-news scenario for Chupacabra fans.
“You could install some motion-activated lights and alarms, which if nothing else would alert you to an intruder. You also could install a predator light — a device that mimics the red, glowing eyes of another predator. Otherwise, make sure the barn is secured against intruders.”
Good advice for goat owners from Joan Morris – whether you live in Los Gatos or Puerto Rico.