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Just down the road from Elizabethtown on a Boston-area farm, an animal some believed to be a mythical chupacabra was shot and killed last month.
With long fingers and big ears, the bald creature caused a media stir.
It isn’t a chupacabra, though. A Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist has determined it’s a raccoon — sans fur, according to the Kentucky Standard newspaper. Mange or a congenital problem could have caused the hair loss.
But Weekly World News — which in 2009 alerted us about aliens beaming up Fort Knox gold into their spaceship — offered a more sinister explanation of the mysterious animal.
“Local politicians believe that the chupacabra was released into Kentucky by the Obama Administration because they are not happy with the Republican-leaning citizens of the Bluegrass State.”
A WWN commenter offered another possibility: It’s Dr. Evil’s cat from the “Austin Powers” movies.
While this cryptozoological mystery has been put to rest, area residents still may encounter unexpected critters — from timber rattlers on rocky slopes east of Elizabethtown to albino squirrels said to haunt Hodgenville.
Four years ago, an Elizabethtown woman found the remains of an armadillo along a LaRue County road. (The creatures fare poorly around automobiles.)
Local residents also have said they’ve seen black bears at locations including a subdivision near Stovall Road and a Peterson Drive soccer field.
Cougar sightings too have been reported in Hardin County, although an expert has said the species isn’t established in Kentucky.
Less debatable is the presence of coyotes.
Local outdoorsman Pat Cardin said two of the animals killed his dog, a Maltese, last May near his Pear Orchard Road home.
He said he has heard of others in the Elizabethtown area who have lost pets this way. He urged people to watch their animals — especially at night.
However, if you hear a strange cry after dark it might not be a coyote. Cardin and other hunters killed 19 bobcats in Hardin County last year, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“They’re getting more plentiful,” he said.
A reason may be because the local wild turkey population is booming. Big birds for big cats.
Or, along the lines of Weekly World News logic: Could it be wildcats were released in areas of the state suspected of harboring University of Louisville fans?
John Friedlein can be reached at (270) 505-1746 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His Stories from the Heartland column appears Mondays in The News-Enterprise.