Pawn Shop What-Is-It?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on February 19th, 2007

Please click on this image for a larger view of this thing.

What is this? What could this be?

This is a body of what Dave’s Pawn Shop claims to be a Chupacabras in a display case at the downtown El Paso, Texas shop.

What do you think it might be?

It does sound as if the shop has a number of gaffs, including mummified FeeJee mermaids, a supposedly shrunken head, and Pancho Villa’s alleged trigger finger.

Is this one different? Is it a Chupacabras, as indicated in an article from the El Paso Times?

Could this mummified body be something other than the dried carcass of a dog? What do you make of those “paws”? And those teeth? What do you think it is?


Please refer to “Update: What-Is-It Solved,” posted on February 21, 2007.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

39 Responses to “Pawn Shop What-Is-It?”

  1. Raptorial responds:

    It looks somewhat like a mummified baboon.

  2. Shihan responds:

    If its just a gaff it looks pretty good!

  3. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Dog of some kind.

    Cunningly posed so you can’t see its face.

    The paws may be slightly modified, but just as likely the appearance of the long toes is just the result of the total removal of hair and the severe dessication of the body leading the skin to retract to the bone.

    Why would anyone buy this?

  4. fredfacker responds:

    The paws kind of remind me of a raccoon, but the head shape reminds me more of a bulldog.

    I’ll have to shoot a note to my parents in El Paso to see if they’d be willing to go take a couple more photos.

  5. shumway10973 responds:

    definitely hard to say at all. If a gaff, someone is really good. I did notice that the front paws were different sizes, maybe natural reasons for this if authentic, but I see sizeable difference. The jaw has a canine feel to it, yet a bit wide for the average canine. Looks mean enough to do what chups are suppose to do.

  6. Sordes responds:

    The mandible seems somewhat strange, much too narrow for the rest of the head. Better photos of the head would make an identification much more easier.

  7. blkstangfl responds:

    Why is it at a pawn shop?

  8. BadState responds:

    Whatever it is, it’s obviously highly cultured. Observe the opera glasses!

  9. captiannemo responds:

    He is also selling FeeGee mermaids?
    Gaff Gaff Gaff one more time Gaff.
    There I got it out of my system.

  10. iftheshoefits responds:

    How much is that doggie in the window?

  11. TheHunter responds:

    It does not look canine to me, more felid. Perhaps a pet Liger that was mummified. I say this due to the back curved incisors. I’m not sure what it is, just a guess.

  12. kittenz responds:


    That is a great idea. This photo is shot from an odd angle that causes some foreshortening and somewhat distorts the appearance of the carcass. I’d especially like to see the head and face photographed from different angles, so that they would not be in shadow.

    I don’t believe it is any kind of cat. The head does not look right for a cat’s head. The head doesn’t look right for anything else either, come to that, but it looks more canine than anything else. The claws look a lot like the claws of a smallish dog that have been allowed to grow too long. If that head actually belongs to that body, maybe it’s some kind of brachycephalic dog like a young pitbull or similar breed; that would go a ways toward explaining the odd set ot the teeth. Many brachycephalic dogs have wide mouths with large teeth and their canines are not perpendicular to the upper jaw but rather point slightly outward. The mandible here seems to be disarticulated from the skull, and possibly either deformed or broken within the skin, which would explain its apparently too-narrow appearance.

    I first thought “Baboon?”, but baboons have nails instead of claws. Then I thought, “Maybe a young, skinned bear?”, but, going by the opera glasses next to it, it looks too small to have been a bear. Unless… maybe a sun bear! A young one, skinned and dried. That would explain its heavy teeth and its apparently massive jaw muscles. Sun bears are the smallest of bears; adults are not about the size of a medium-to-large sized dog; in fact one common name for them in their native Indonesia is dog bear. They used to be quite popular as pets – at least while they were cubs. The adults tend to become dangerous as they mature.

    Here is a link with information and a photo of an adult sun bear .

    Here’s another.

    If the mummified animal here is a sun bear, it must be a cub, but somewhat older than the very young infant in this photo (note the shape of the claws).

    Texas has more exotic wildlife pets than any other state except possibly Florida. If this is an “entire” mummified carcass of an animal, and not a sewn-together mismash of different species, maybe it’s a sun bear cub, or a young bracycephalic dog.

  13. kittenz responds:

    I just noticed that the mummy appears to have a yellowish patch on its chest. Sun bears also have yellow chest patches.

  14. dws responds:

    It’s my dog FIDO! So that’s where he’s been all this time!

  15. Mnynames responds:

    Looks pretty clearly to be a dessicated bulldog to me.

  16. joppa responds:

    I’m thinking a mishmash of different critters a la jack-a-lope. Gaffalope.

  17. Rillo777 responds:

    I vote with Mnynames – it looks like a dessicated dog.

    Notice the back legs. Definitely a creature that walked on four legs. I think most, if not all, the literature on the Chupes describe a two-legged creature sometimes with wings.

    A carcass of even an everyday animal can look freakish when its mummified. No doubt this poor puppy was laying out in the desert a little too long.

  18. EdwardHowland responds:

    First lets take it out and make sure it’s not paper mache.

  19. pitch black moon responds:

    Going out on a limb here, but this looks like an authentic cryptid corpse to me. Or not? First, let’s just take this at face value and assume that since we can’t scrutinize it closely that it is not a cobbed together corpse. It doesn’t appear to be…or does it? Well, the skin tones match and there are no visible incision lines. Could it be a bull dog? Not with a nose like that. Plus, the eyes are huge and black. But wait a second…eyes are soft tissue and would not be there at all. So this corpse has definitely had some kind of work done. The eye size can be attributed to the skin drying and pulling back, making the eyes appear huge. Then look at the paws. Those aren’t bear or dog paws. To repeat a poster above me, those look to be ‘coon paws. And why do the paws have a lighter sheen to them? Glue or some type of covering paste might do that. The teeth are more feline than canine. So here’s my real best guess: some type of canine corpse with black glass eyes placed in, feline (medium cat, not a house cat…lynx maybe) mandible and teeth glued into place, paws removed and replaced with raccoon paws. Whoever did it took a lot of care and time, and was very skilled. But as we’ve seen before, there are people out there willing to put in huge ammounts of time and effort to fool some people and/or make a buck. And why not take this to a science lab?

    Final verdict?


    But I’d like to be wrong.

  20. Leto responds:

    Those teeth are from an african lion. Compare the teeth to African lion skulls.

    The body looks like a dog’s body. And is it my eyes or does it appear as if there’s a baby near the creature’s belly?

  21. quasi-modo responds:

    That’s one ugly thing

  22. kittenz responds:

    pitch black moon,

    What are you seeing there that you are calling “huge, black eyes”? From what I can see, the animal, if indeed it is a real animal, is positioned in such a way that the eyes are not visible. Unless you are possibly referring to the large mass at the rear part of the upper jaw? I don’t see that as a huge eye; what I see is huge masseter musclature.

  23. MBFH responds:

    Kittenz – if you cut and paste the picture and enlarge it you can see what looks like, to me (no expert), an eye socket just above and to the left of the canine tooth in the upper jaw. To the immediate left of the upper jaw incisors looks like a pair of nostrils. If this is right it looks like it has a very short snout. No idea what it may be though apart from some dog that was perhaps deformed in life?

  24. lastensugle responds:

    Seems not that long, since the last time I said “it’s just a dog!”. There`s something odd about the teeth and claws though, but then again, of course there is, when you manipulate a dog carcass into looking like a Chupacabra.

  25. kittenz responds:

    I see what you mean, MBFH.

    If that is an eye socket, and not a distorted nostril as I thought when I first saw it, then this could not be the carcass of a sun bear. It couldn’t be a lion either; the canine teeth are too small and narrow. Maybe a smaller cat such as a bobcat, but the incisor teeth look much more like a dog’s incisor teeth. The claws look like dog claws too.

  26. kittenz responds:

    lol I was thinking the same thing, lastensugle!

  27. Leto responds:

    English Bulldog skull.

    Eurasian Lynx skull.

    African Lion skull.

  28. mystery_man responds:

    Looks like someone did a bit of creative taxidermy to me.

  29. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    I think that “yellowish patch” on the chest is glare from the glass case. This photo just isn’t good enough to make a clear identification, but with the skull there, someone with a specialty in canines could tell from an x-ray whether it is a mummified variety of a known breed of dog.

  30. Doug Higley responds:

    It’s either really real or really fake but it IS really cool!

    But then how can you have a ‘fake’ of something that doesn’t exist in the first place? A fake legend? A fake myth?

    “That’s not a real Feegee Mermaid! It’s a fake!” or extended…”That’s not a real Giant Eyeball from Mars with Teeth! It’s a fake Giant Eye Ball from Mars with Teeth!” extended further with a slight curve…”That’s not a real Giant Man! It’s a big fake selling tires!” and further…”That’s not real art! It’s fake!”

    Of course you CAN have a fake Mummy…BUT since the actual Mummy of an Egyptian King is also a GAFFED up carcas, a representtation of the formerly living King made by the hand of man, is that not also a fake from the get go as opposed to a Mummy from Peru which is naturally mummified? Hmmm. (excuse me while I enjoy this conversation with myself…)

    The mummy of a ‘Chupacabra’ adds that other element to the scene by twisting the reality of a natural mummy of a dog into an imaginary creature that really can’t be faked because it never was in the first place. A rubber Godzilla suit IS the REAL Godzilla, technically. An animation cel of Fredf Flintstone IS the REAL Fred Flinstone.

    Once a CLAIM is made as to exactly what it is supposed to be…the results are all depending on the disappointment factor in the viewers expectations and the level of urge for raising their hand in the back of the class for a gold star…”That space ship from Jupiter was fake, I could see the wires!”

    A simple sign of ‘What Is It?’ will have far more interesting results than a Claim that it is something it’s not…which causes some to prove you wrong rather than to consider the possibilities.

    I think it’s great piece whatever it is or it’s origin, nature or hand of man or both.

    Thanks for allowing me to speak with myself on this issue. 🙂

  31. kittenz responds:

    whew, that … site must have upset me more than I realized. Sorry for all the typos.

  32. Doug Higley responds:

    Yes they are donated. She is very good.

    I use no animal remains whatsoever when I make my stuff, which is a personal thing…I even make teeth and nails.

    But when an animal is already dead the shame is ‘wasting’ any parts of it if it can be used for creative and or educational purposes. I used to do painting on rabbit skins. The rabbits were food stock out of Spain, they were not killed for their skins. An old Indian thing ya know to use it all and honor the death.
    So be it. Hook a hey.

    I once had a woman at a Flea Market make a big scene for my using the Rabbit Skins to paint my artwork on…she was loud and trying to embarrass me. I asked her if the Oysters had volunteered their Pearls for her necklace. She shut up.

  33. kittenz responds:

    Doug Higley and Mesonoxian,

    Thank you for your comments. I appreciate that animals are not deliberately killed to create these objects.

    I don’t have an issue with people using animal skins, bones, etc. for other purposes. I wear leather. I have skulls and skull replicas as well as fossils of many kinds on my shelves. I’ve used found skulls and bones to create artwork.

    I don’t have a problem with taxidermy either, per se. It’s not my cup of tea, but if people want to preserve animals as mounted specimens, well, that’s up to them. If it were not for mounted museum specimens we would not know what some animals and birds, now extinct, looked like. Even displaying flayed carcasses could be considered educational, although it certainly takes some getting used to.

    The thing is, I’ve spent my whole life caring for, treating, and studying animals. I believe that animals’ remains should be treated with respect. Even if they are roadkill. Displaying preserved animals in naturalistic poses is one thing. I would not want a mounted deer’s head, etc., but I don’t condemn those who do. Maybe it’s just my nature-worshipper hippie philosophy, but creating jackalopes and chupacaras and such seems to me disrespectful and obscene.

    That’s my purely personal opinion.

  34. the waynester responds:

    I’m a newbie. It kinda looks like a sloth to me.

  35. slayerx responds:

    raccoon from hades?

  36. Todd39 responds:

    I can’t say what it is but if it’s real I don’t think it could survive with the angle of it’s K9 teeth. Imagine what this thing would have to bite like. It would have to put it’s mouth around something and essentially move it’s head clockwise in order to sink all of it’s teeth. I just cannot see a creature with teeth like that surviving in the wild.

  37. Loren Coleman responds:

    Please see “Update: What-Is-It Solved”.

  38. free music responds:

    Looks like a couple animals combined. Whatever it is, they did a great job piecing it together and making it look authentic.

  39. Free Music Downloads responds:

    I dont know what it is but it’s very very scary and i think if i would face it in real life i would try to run for my life:))..or i would pet it:))))

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