LEBANON JUNCTION, KY (Raycom News Network) - Has a mythical creature made its way to Kentucky? Some people seem to think so, after a Nelson County man came across a creature with grayish, wrinkly skin and no fur.
Mark Cothren shot and killed an animal on Dec. 18 because he said he feared what it was, since he did not recognize it. He said the animal walked from the woods onto his front yard around 3 p.m. Cothren lives on Mount Carmel Church Road in Lebanon Junction.
"I was like: 'every animal has hair, especially this time of year!' What puzzled me is how something like that could survive through a winter with no hair," Cothren said.
"Everybody is getting very curious, you know. [The] phone is ringing off the hook. It's kind of a mystery right now," Cothren said.
Cothren described the creature as having large ears, whiskers, a long tail, and about the size of a house cat. He says many people have tried to guess what the animal may be. He said he's heard anything from raccoon to a dog to the legendary Chupacabra.
"Everybody is leaning kind of toward that - it's the Chupacabra! People have come up to me [saying] 'that's what the thing is 'cause I pulled it up on the Internet'" Cothren laughed.
Legend has it the Chupacabra - also known as the "Goat Sucker" - kills goats and sucks their blood. The fabled creature has supposedly been spotted in South America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, as well as Texas and Oklahoma.
"It's hard to judge what an animal is from just a photograph," said Sam Clites with the Louisville Zoo. Clites say he would have to see the animal in person to study it and determine its species. At first glance, he believed the animal could be a raccoon or a dog, but not a mythical creature.
"This is an animal that's native to our area, most likely that is suffering from some type disease," Clites said.
Clites says it isn't uncommon for an animal with a severe disease to lose fur and look unrecognizable.
Cothren says he has spoken with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and is preserving the animal to hand over to them.