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Maryland "Chupacabra" ID'd as fox with mange

It may not be not the Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot, but a mysterious-looking creature seen near a hospital in Maryland has now been identified.

The animal--which possessed the different characteristics of a rat, coyote and deer--was trapped last week, and a Maryland Department of Natural Resources official identified it as a fox with mange, The Washington Post reported.

"Like all wild animals, especially canine species, people should avoid feeding or otherwise attempting to befriend this critter," wrote Paul Peditto, director of DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Service, in an email. "Mange affects a portion of most wild fox populations and is often unpleasant to observe but not something to be otherwise alarmed about or requiring additional human intervention."

The fox was in the woods near Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, according to the Post story. Last Thursday, several hospital workers lured it into a trap using food -- a scene that was shot on video and aired on television (see video below).

The creature, which was named "Prince Chupa" by the workers after the mysterious chupacabra, was later released back into the woods.

Mange is described as a skin disease in mammals caused by the mange mite. Some of the symptoms include hair loss, skin wrinkling and formation of scabs.

DNR's Game Program Manager Peter Jayne added that while humans can get mange from coming in contact with infected animals, such cases are rare.

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