Description: Chupacabra comes from the Spanish “tʃupaˈkaβɾa” from “chupar” meaning “to suck” and “cabra” as “goat”, translating to “goat sucker”. This crypt-id belongs primarily to modern Latin American folklore, even though there have been reports in China, Russia, and other parts of the world. It is found primarily in Latin American or Spanish communities and their associated folklore. It is rumored to attack its victims and drinkings its blood, especially goats, sheep, chickens, or other livestock. Often described to be a bi-pedal creature standing at three feet to a meter tall and covered with short gray hair spiking out of its back. (1995 Puerto Rico report) Descriptions changed by the late 1990′s to a Chupacabra being a four footed creature representing a dog or coyote with mange stalking livestock in rural communities. A modern day rancher’s boogeyman. It has also been described as a very heavy creatures sometimes upwards in size of that of a small bear with a row of spines reaching from the back of the neck to the base of its tail. The reports in Puerto Rico and Mexico show where goats or sheep were found with puncture wounds completely drained of blood. These Chupacabra were described as being bear-like, dog-like, rodent-like, or reptile-like with long snouts, large fangs, leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and consumed with a nasty odor. Another depiction that is common is description as a reptile-like creature with leathery or scaly greenish gray skin, sharp spines, or quills running down its back, standing from 3-4 feet high, standing or hopping in like fashion of a kangaroo. Reports of it being able to hop upwards of 20 feet have been noted. Many of these characteristics seem to have dog, rat, or panther-like noses and faces, often with a forked tongue and large fangs. They apparently screech and hiss when scared and can be noted to have a sulfuric decaying flesh stench to them. When they screech, it has been reported that their eyes glow an unusual red that causes nausea to the onlooker. Other depictions are that of a manged coyote or strange breed of dog, hairless with a pronounced spinal ridge, eye sockets, fangs, and claws. When Chupacabras bite their prey, they apparently leave three holes in the shape of upside down triangles or through one to two holes, draining their victims of all their blood, not unlike that of the attacked prey of a vampire.
History: In 1975 there were animal attacks found with puncture wounds in the town of Moca, Puerto Rico and was originally blamed on the El vampiro de Moca (The Vampire of Moca). Experts originally believed these horrid deaths were done by a local Satanic cult. However, after the 1995 reports of chupacabra, these incidents were backdated as potential Chupacabra attacks. The first documented report in Puerto Rico was in March 1995 stating eight sheep were found dead each with three puncture wounds in the chest area and completely drained of blood. A few months later, the eyewitness Madelyn Tolentino reported seeing the creatures in Canóvanas, Puerto Rico. It was in this area that over 150 farm and domesticated animals were reportedly killed in the same manner. Reports of the beast originate to approximately being reported since the mid 1990′s and were first reported in Puerto Rico. To date (2012), there have been over 200 original chupacabra reports filed in Puerto Rico alone. Early 2004 and 2005 there were numerous reports of Chupacabra from South America, as well as Puerto Rico, and most recently in Mexico. August of 2006, in Turner, Maine came up with a roadkill carcass that looked like an evil-looking rodent-like animal with fangs. This was photographed and witness reports documented. However, reporters claimed that the carcass was picked clean by vultures before experts could examine it. The 2006 report in Russia spoke of a beast that killed animals and sucked their blood. This was the case with 32 turkeys in a Russian village. Nearby in another village reported 30 sheep killed in the same manner. In Cuero, Texas on July 14, 2007 – a odd looking coyote corpse was found, and identified as a mangy coyote, though most of the people dealing with the corpse were convinced it was that of a chupacabra.
Habitat: Reports of the mythical beast abound especially in Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Southwestern region of the United States as well as China, Russia, and the Philippines since the early 1990′s. They have also been reported in Dominican Republic, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Brazil.
Science: Some scientists claim what many believe are chupacabra are simply coyotes with severe mange. The majority of samples turned in for scientific study turned out to be coyotes suffering from very severe cases of mange. Mange is a severely painful potentially fatal skin disease that causes the victim’s hair to fall out and the skin to shrivel. This is believed to be caused by the the parasite known as Sarcoptes scabiei. This is the same cause of scabies in humans (an itchy rash). This mite burrows under the skin and secretes eggs and waste creating the inflammatory response from the host’s immune system. Further, scientists claim that the accusation of the chupacabra attacking livestock is understandable because animals with mange are often quite debilitated and if they have a hard time catching normal prey, they may go for something a bit easier like livestock. Others believe that this legend came out of horror movies or alien-horror tales that in 1995 premiered in Puerto Rico. Movies such as “Species” which opening dates corresponded to the date of the first sightings of these creatures. The spikes reportedly coming out of the back are quite similar to that depicted with the aliens in “Species”.
Evidence: July 2004, a rancher in San Antonio, Texas killed a hairless dog-like creature that attacked his livestock. He called it the “Elmendorf Beast” and after analyzed by the University of California at Davis was believed to be a coyote with sarcoptic mange. Two more carcasses found in the same area that October were defined as the same. Another creature caught in a trap in Coleman, Texas was analyzed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife to be another coyote with mange even though it looked like a cross between a hairless dog, rat, and kangaroo. According to the episode: Lost Tapes: Chupacabra was a tale of the Ramirez family in Sonora Mexico in July 2006 when they got two gifts from family in the States … a video camera from their daughter and a Coyote deal for their family to be smuggled across the border. They were driven down to the border by the Coyote, let out to hike across the desert (husband, wife, and young daughter) for a dangerous 4-day foot journey. In Nogales, Arizona, on 7/7/2006 at 8:29 pm, drone thermals from the US Border security reported 4 illegal immigrants crossing believed to be the Ramirez family, and one with an appearance of a dog chasing and attacking them as the fourth thermal surveillance cam figure. It disappears. Videotape files recorded the attack. Agents Tim Valentine and Martin Santino received the report and responded. 8:33 pm, Nogales – Arizona: Found the dead bodies of the husband and wife, both with 3 puncture marks/wounds and no blood. As they checked the wash, heard growling in the bushes, believed to be the Chupacabra. They found Ava, the young daughter, unhurt and terrified hiding in the brush. When they brought her to safety, she just kept saying “its out there”. The agents heard noises and found lots of dead animals in the ditch, all drained of blood, and smelling horrendously. The agents pursued the growling and noises, not able to find the culprit. The official cause of death for the Ramirez family was unknown. There are many unexplained death along the border. In 2007 there were reports of 300 sheep dead and drained of blood in Boyaca. Purportedly there was a specimen captured and analyzed by the National University of Columbia. That same year, three animals found dead in Cuero, Texas that resemble the fabled Chupacabra. Phyllis Canion of Cuero, Texas kept one of these corpses heads as evidence of the “chupacabra”. Experts originally cited it as a head of a gray fox with mange. It was run through DNA analysis in November of 2007 and deduced to be that of a mange infested coyote. She reported that nearly 30 chickens on her farm had been taken by these monsters over the years, and this is what made her connect the dots to the carcasses she found as being Chupacabra. The purported “coyote with mange” however had grayish-blue mostly hairless skin with large fanged teeth. In Capiz, Philippines, on January 11, 2008 residents reported eight chickens killed and spotted a chupacabra looking animal attacking the chickens. Back in Cuero, Texas on August 8, 2008 a Dewitt County Deputy by the name of Brandon Riedel took video footage of a Chupacabra-like animal running around the back roads with his dashboard camera, it was the size of a coyote, hairless, long snout, short front legs, long back legs. His supervisor claimed it to be a coyote species that was not unlike the one documented in 2007 by University researchers. This footage appeared on the SyFy channel’s 2011 episode of Fact or Faked: Paranormal files. They cross-checked the video to see if it was faked, and it was not. September 2009, CNN aired a report of video footage of another unidentified dead animal provided by a local taxidermist suggesting it was a Chupacabra or a genetically mutated coyote. This carcass was sold to the Lost World Museum placed on display and being researched by a unknown university. July 2010 had a report of animal control officers in Hood County, Texas killing chupacabras and spotting in several locations. Again, researchers found the coyote-dog hybrid to be a victim of mange and parasites. That same year in December, Nelson County Kentucky produced another corpse of a so-called Chupacabra, killed by Mark Cothren, well photographed and documented by local news. This creature was depicted as having a long tail, large ears, whiskers, and body mass of like that of a house cat. The body was handed over to Department of Fish and Wildlife. July 4, 2011 in Lake Jackson, Texas had another report of a chupacabra in a back yard by Jeff Crabtree. Once news media covered the story and ridiculed him for his claim, he backed down and stated it was a coyote with mange. It was filmed at a later date and experts deduced it was definitely a coyote with mange. Sightings: http://www.technogypsie.com/faerie/?p=22
Folklore Local legends tie the chupacabra in with gargoyles from medieval Europe brought to South America on Spanish Galleons. Others says it is a product of secret government genetic experiments in the Lauga mountains in Puerto Rico on a US army base in 1997 that escaped during an electrical storm. Others claim them to be aliens related to UFO sightings in the same area. Some believe that the Chupacabra was genetically created by mad scientists who turned coyotes into “goat suckers” by means of genetically altered parasites. Another theory is that an escaped troop of rhesus monkeys took over Puerto Rico, some standing up on their hind legs, and that those were the purported Chupacabras. Scientists do back up that there was a group of rhesus monkeys used in blood experiments in Puerto Rico during that time and they could have gotten loose. In New Orleans there is a so-called lover’s lane called “Grunch Road” that is well noted for sightings of “grunches” that seem to share description with chupacabras. In Chile they are called the “Peuchen” and have chupacabra-like characteristics, except also being described as winged snakes. Modern Urban Lore and popularity: Not to only focus on documentaries and news reports, Chupacabra sightings have unleashed numerous films and horror movies of the subject. The X-files episode “El Mundo Gira”; a Bones episode; an episode of Dexter (season 2: “Got your Goat”); Generator Rex episode “Outpost”; the Lost files; an episode of “The Walking Dead” as episode “Chupacabra”; TV series “Ugly Americans” depicting them living in New York; CNN Ed Lavandera “Bigfoot of Latino Culture”; Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico, Chupacabra: Dark Seas; Guns of El Chupacabra; El Chupacabras; Vuelve el Chupacabra; as well as being in mystery novels and scientific books; songs; video games such as “Red Dead Redemption” or “Undead Nightmare”; anime; comic “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Twilight Sparkle and Flutter shy” get pursued by a chupacabra and fights with its arch enemies vampiric jackalopes; and other media.
- References/recommended reading:
- CNN: May 2, 2006 “Illegal Immigrants frightened by raid rumors, George Bush”; “The Decider”; “Happy Slapping”.
- Discovery News “Chupacabra mystery solved. http://news.discovery.com/animals/pets/chupacabra-mystery-solved.htm. Web site referenced Mary 2013.
- Fox News 2007 “Texas Woman Claims to Have Found Mythical Chupacabra”. Associated Press. November 2, 2007.
- Lost Tapes: “Chupacabra”. Watched March 2013.
- Monster Quest 2008 “Chupacabra”
- National Geographic 2010 “Chupacabra Evolution Halloween Science Monsters” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/10/101028-chupacabra-evolution-halloween-science-monsters-chupacabras-picture/. Web site referenced April 2013.
- Radford, Benjamin 2011 “Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore.” ISBN 978-0-8263-5015-2
- Wagner, Stephen 2007 “On the Trail of the Chupacabras”. “Encounters with Chupacabras”.
- Wikipedia: The Free Encylopedia “Chupacabra”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chupacabra. Web site referenced December 2012.