(Spanish pronunciation: [tʃupaˈkaβɾas], from
chupar "to suck" and cabra "goat", literally "goat sucker"), is a
legendary cryptid (a creature whose existence has been suggested
but is regarded as highly unlikely) 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
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 1990 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
The first reported attacks occurred in March 1995 in Puerto Rico.
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.
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.
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
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
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, Sherrif 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.
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.
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