The chupacabras (Spanish chupar "to suck" and cabra "goat", literally "goat sucker") is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico (where these sightings were first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter's Latin American communities. The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.
Physical descriptions of the creature vary. Eyewitness sightings have been claimed as early as 1995 in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile. It is supposedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail.
Biologists and wildlife management officials view the chupacabras as a contemporary legend.
In July 2010, an animal was killed and reported to be a chupacabra, but found to be a coyote with a severe parasite infection. In October of that year, University of Michigan scientists theorized that parasite-riddled coyotoes (specifically the parasites responsible for scabies and mange) were likely the basis for the chupacabra legend.
Based on reliefs found in Europe and Mesoamerica, some researchers equate the appearance of the chupacabras to that of a gargoyle, leading one to believe the creatures were also part of the history of Medieval Europe and linked to evil spirits.
Today investigators go in search of the chupacabra to capture and study these elusive animals. It is the part of the quest of humanity through the paranormal to explains who we are and why we are here.
The first reported attacks occurred in March 1995 in Puerto Rico. In this attack, eight sheep were discovered dead, each with three puncture wounds in the chest area and completely drained of blood. A few months later, in August, an eyewitness, Madelyne Tolentino, reported seeing the creature in the Puerto Rican town of Canóvanas, when as many as 150 farm animals and pets were reportedly killed.
In 1975, similar killings in the small town of Moca, were attributed to El Vampiro de Moca (The Vampire of Moca). Initially it was suspected that the killings were committed by a Satanic cult; later more killings were reported around the island, and many farms reported loss of animal life. Each of the animals had their bodies bled dry through a series of small circular incisions.
Puerto Rican comedian and entrepreneur Silverio Pérez is credited with coining the term chupacabras soon after the first incidents were reported in the press. Shortly after the first reported incidents in Puerto Rico, other animal deaths were reported in other countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Brazil, United States, and Mexico.
The most common description of chupacabras is a reptile-like being, appearing to have leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back. This form stands approximately 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.2 m) high, and stands and hops in a similar fashion to a kangaroo. In at least one sighting, the creature was reported to hop 20 feet (6 m). This variety is said to have a dog or panther-like nose and face, a forked tongue, and large fangs. It is said to hiss and screech when alarmed, as well as leave behind a sulfuric stench. When it screeches, some reports assert that the chupacabras' eyes glow an unusual red which gives the witnesses nausea.
Another description of chupacabras, although not as common, describes a strange breed of wild dog. This form is mostly hairless and has a pronounced spinal ridge, unusually pronounced eye sockets, fangs, and claws. It is claimed that this breed might be an example of a dog-like reptile. Unlike conventional predators, the chupacabras is said to drain all of the animal's blood (and sometimes organs) usually through three holes in the shape of an upside-down triangle or through one or two holes.
Chupacabras are said to appear in three specific forms:
The second variety bears a resemblance to a wallaby or dog standing on its hind legs. It stands and hops as a kangaroo, and it has coarse fur with gray facial hair. The head is similar to a dog's, and its mouth has large teeth.
The third form is described as a strange breed of wild dog. This form is mostly hairless, has a pronounced spinal ridge, unusually pronounced eye sockets, teeth, and claws. This animal is said to be the result of interbreeding between several populations of wild dogs, though enthusiasts claim that it might be an example of a dog-like reptile. The account during the year 2001 in Nicaragua of a chupacabra's corpse being found supports the conclusion that it is simply a strange breed of wild dog. The alleged corpse of the animal was found in Tolapa, Nicaragua, and forensically analyzed at UNAN-Leon. Pathologists at the University found that it was just an unusual-looking dog. There are very striking morphological differences between different breeds of dog, which can easily account for the strange characteristics.
Some reports claim the chupacabra's red eyes have the ability to hypnotize and paralyze their prey - leaving the prey animal mentally stunned, allowing the chupacabra to suck the animal's blood at its leisure. The effect is similar to the bite of the vampire bat, or of certain snakes or spiders that stun their prey with venom. Unlike conventional predators, the chupacabras sucks all the animal's blood (and sometimes organs) through a single hole or two holes.
Many residents of South America have reported sightings of El Chupacabras, and although various, the descriptions share some significant likenesses. In many reports, accounts include the visible inflation of the stomach region, after El Chupacabras has been feeding. The appearance of the animal changes when an internal bladder-like organ fills with the blood of its prey. Furthermore, with almost all the reported sightings witnesses have reported large protruding fangs. These fangs are suspected to be hollow and be the vehicles for the blood on which it feeds.
In July 2004, a rancher near San Antonio, Texas, killed a hairless dog-like creature, which was attacking his livestock. This animal, initially given the name the Elmendorf Beast, was later determined by DNA assay conducted at University of California, Davis to be a coyote with demodectic or sarcoptic mange.
In October 2004, two more carcasses were found in the same area. Biologists in Texas examined samples from the two carcasses and determined they were also coyotes suffering from very severe cases of mange.
In Coleman, Texas, a farmer named Reggie Lagow caught an animal in a trap he set up after the deaths of a number of his chickens and turkeys. The animal was described as resembling a mix of hairless dog, rat, and kangaroo. Lagow provided the animal to Texas Parks and Wildlife officials for identification, but Lagow reported in a September 17, 2006 phone interview with John Adolfi, founder of the Lost World Museum, that the "critter was caught on a Tuesday and thrown out in Thursday's trash."
In April 2006, MosNews reported that the chupacabras was spotted in Russia for the first time. Reports from Central Russia beginning in March 2005 tell of a beast that kills animals and sucks out their blood. Thirty-two turkeys were killed and drained overnight. Reports later came from neighboring villages when 30 sheep were killed and had their blood drained. Finally, eyewitnesses were able to describe the chupacabras.
In May 2006, experts were determined to track the animal down.
In mid-August 2006, Michelle O'Donnell of Turner, Maine, described an "evil looking" rodent-like animal with fangs that had been found dead alongside a road. The animal was apparently struck by a car, and was unidentifiable. Photographs were taken and witness reports seem to be in relative agreement that the creature was canine in appearance, but in widely published photos seemed unlike any dog or wolf in the area. Photos from other angles seem to show a chow- or akita-mixed breed dog. It was reported that "the carcass was picked clean by vultures before experts could examine it". For years, residents of Maine have reported a mysterious creature and a string of dog maulings.
In May 2007, a series of reports on national Colombia news reported more than 300 dead sheep in the region of Boyaca, and the capture of a possible specimen to be analyzed by zoologists at the National University of Colombia.
In August 2007, Phylis Canion found three animals in Cuero, Texas. She and her neighbors reported to have discovered three strange animal carcasses outside Canion's property. She took photographs of the carcasses and preserved the head of one in her freezer before turning it over for DNA analysis. Canion reported that nearly 30 chickens on her farm had been exsanguinated over a period of years, a factor which led her to connect the carcasses with the chupacabras legend. State Mammologist John Young estimated that the animal in Canion's pictures was a Gray Fox suffering from an extreme case of mange. In November 2007, biology researchers at Texas State University–San Marcos determined from DNA samples that the suspicious animal was a coyote. The coyote, however, had grayish-blue, mostly hairless skin and large fanged teeth, which caused it to appear different from a normal coyote. Additional skin samples were taken to attempt to determine the cause of the hair loss.
On January 11, 2008, a sighting was reported at the province of Capiz in the Philippines. Some of the residents from the barangay believed that it was the chupacabras that killed eight chickens. The owner of the chickens saw a dog-like animal attacking his chickens.
On August 8, 2008, a DeWitt County deputy, Brandon Riedel, filmed an unidentifiable animal along back roads near Cuero, Texas on his dashboard camera. The animal was about the size of a coyote but was hairless with a long snout, short front legs and long back legs. However, Reiter's boss, Sheriff Jode Zavesky, believes it may be the same species of coyote identified by Texas State University–San Marcos researchers in November 2007.
In September 2009, CNN aired a report showing closeup video footage of an unidentified dead animal. The same CNN report stated that locals have begun speculating the possibility that this might be a chupacabras. A Blanco, Texas, taxidermist reported that he received the body from a former student whose cousin had discovered the animal in his barn, where it had succumbed to poison left out for rodents. The taxidermist expressed his belief that this is a genetically mutated coyote.
On September 18, 2009, taxidermist Jerry Ayer sold the Blanco Texas Chupacabra to the Lost World Museum. The museum, as reported in the Syracuse Post Standard on 9/26/09, is placing the creature on display as they work with a unnamed university to have the remains tested.
On December 18, 2010, in Nelson County, Kentucky, Mark Cothren shot and killed an animal that he could not recognize and feared. Many pictures of the Chupacabra were taken and the story was well documented by various news organizations. Cothren described the creature as having large ears, whiskers, a long tail, and about the size of a house cat. Cothren says he spoke with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and handed over the preserved animal for further analysis.
In July 2010, there were reports of chupacabras being shot dead by animal control officers in Hood County, Texas. A second creature was also reportedly spotted and killed several miles away.
However, an officer of Hood County animal control said Texas A&M University scientists conducted tests and identified the corpse as a "coyote-dog hybrid" with signs of mange and internal parasites. The second reported chupacabra, shot July 9 about 8 miles south of Cresson, was eaten by vultures before it could be taken for testing.
New information from researcher Benjamin Radford in 2010 revealed that Madelyne Tolentino, the original eyewitness, had described a creature she had recently seen in the science-fiction horror film Species as the chupacabra.
The alien in the film, named Sil, is nearly identical to Tolentino’s chupacabra eyewitness account: It was a creature that looked like the chupacabra, with spines on its back and all….The resemblance to the chupacabra was really impressive, Tolentino reported.
Radford revealed that Tolentino believed that the creatures and events she saw in Species were actually happening in reality in Puerto Rico at the time, and therefore concludes that The popular image of the chupacabra - the one appearing on thousands of books, magazines, and Web sites as a credible eyewitness description - is in fact based on a science fiction film. This, Radford believes, seriously undermines the credibility of the chupacabra as a real animal.
In late October 2010, University of Michigan biologist Barry O'Connor concluded that all of the 'chupacabras' were simply coyotes infected with the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei. The symptoms of which would explain most of the features of the chupacabra's: they'd be left with little fur, thickened skin, and rank odor. O'Connor theorised the attacks on goats were "because these animals are greatly weakened, they're going to have a hard time hunting. So they may be forced into attacking livestock because it's easier than running down a rabbit or a deer."
In the Philippines, another cryptid called the Sigbin shares many of the same descriptions as the Chupacabra. Including comparisons of its appearance to dogs, kangaroos, and goats. They may share the same origins, though the recent discovery of the cat-fox in Southeast Asia suggests that it could also have been simply sightings of this once unknown animal.
The Peuchen of Chile also share similarities in their supposed habits, but instead of being dog-like they are described as winged snakes. Like the possible relationship between the Sigbin lore and cat foxes, the legend may also have originated from the Common Vampire Bat, an animal endemic to the region.
Chupacabra - Wikipedia
Some cryptozoologists speculate that chupacabras are alien creatures. Chupacabras are widely described as otherworldly, and, according to one witness report, NASA may be involved with this particular alien's residency on earth. The witness reported that NASA passed through an area in Latin America, with a trailer that was thought to contain an incarcerated creature. There have also been UFOs seen where chupacabras have been at the same time on occasion. Others speculate that the creature is an escaped pet of alien visitors that wandered off while its master was visiting Earth. The Chupacabra does have a slight resemblance to the Gray aliens, which could mean that they are somehow genetically related.
Some people in the island of Puerto Rico believe that the chupacabras were a genetic bio-experiment from some United States' government agency, which escaped from a secret laboratory in El Yunque, a mountain in the east part of the island when the laboratory was damaged during a severe storm in the early 1990's. The US military have had a large presence across Puerto Rico since the 1930's, with bases on the island used as Research and Development facilities (amongst other things) up to the present day. The lethal agent orange chemicals were tested by the US on the crops of Puerto Rico in widespread crop-spraying operations, all performed without notifying local people or farmers, and the efficacy and safety of contraceptive medicines was also secretly tested on islanders who had no knowledge of their 'guinea pig' status at all. ("UFO's Strangest Mysteries", Discovery Science) This may explain some of this alleged paranoia.
Another possibility would involve giant vampire bats of which a few fossils have been found in South-America.
An alternative explanation is that the creatures are not real at all, and the sightings are either a product of superstition and imagination, or simply other animals that have been wrongly identified.
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