Chupacabra: A Mysterious Beast, Vampire or Just an Urban Legend?

Legends of blood-sucking monsters are a mandatory part of almost every culture. In a similar manner, American folklore is incomplete without the mentioning of Chupacabra, the mystery beast. Chupacabra has remained an object of constant research over the years. It regularly appears on documentaries and is a favorite subject explored by the Animal Planet. So what’s all this hullaballoo about? Why is Chupacabra any different than other animals featured in documentaries?

Chupacabra is different and to a great extent frightening because it is a blood-sucking monster with a penchant for domestic animals and livestock.  Nobody actually knows what it really is but people who have seen this creature assume it to be a vampire. Why? Because, it comes, attacks livestock and vanishes into thin air by draining blood out of the animals’ bodies. What it leaves behind isn’t traces of its whereabouts but only carcasses. Even researchers are finding it difficult to identify the reality of Chupacabra. Whether it is just a blood-sucking animal, a vampire or a product of folktales they are unable to decide…as yet. So, let’s find out more about this mysterious beast that has made central and southern America as well as other parts of the world an unsafe place for livestock.

Chupacabra featured
Author: Alvin Padayachee/Wikimedia

Chupacabra Meaning:

The creature responsible for sucking the life out of livestock has been named Chupacabra (plural= Chupacabras) because the meaning perfectly suits its characteristics. Chupacabra is a Spanish language word that means goat-sucker (chupar = to suck & cabra = goat). It is a mythical creature and more of an urban legend that is common in various parts of the Americas. Initially, the beast was sighted in Puerto Rico but has been attacking wildlife in different parts of Texas more frequently now. The animal prefers goat blood more than any other animal’s, which is why it has been named Chupacabra.

Chupacabra Urban Legend:

Chupacabra gradually gained the label of being a mystical and evil creature since 1995 when news of blood-drained animals surfaced for the first time. Between March and August 1995, Chupacabra managed to attack over 150 animals, which were securely kept in different farms. Officials were naturally dumbfounded. Attacking animals out in the wild is one thing and managing to kill farm animals is totally different as they are constantly monitored. Those who saw this creature explained that it had an oval head, reptile-like body, leathery greenish-gray skin, very big, almost bulging blood red eyes, spikes at the back, long and darting tongue, and fanged teeth. The monster was said to be about 4-5 feet tall and was bipedal, that is, it was hopping and standing on hinds like a kangaroo.

This description was enough to freak anyone out. This couldn’t be a normal animal attacking livestock it was something unusual and very evil. And, every single animal was attacked in a similar way. Their bodies had puncture wounds in the neck while all had blood drained out of their bodies. The bodies were fully intact and not even a pound of meat was taken. This is why the creature is believed to be a vampire.

As is the norm, law enforcement authorities came into action and an aggressive search operation was started at the call of Mayor Jose Soto. Volunteers were also recruited for hunting this creature. But, even after one year, they couldn’t find something with similar features. Meanwhile, there were more reports of attacks on goats and other livestock within and across Texas. This time around, the description varied a little bit; people reported that the creature resembled a coyote or a wild dog and not a reptile. This beast also had spikes all over its spine, like the earlier version, but unlike dogs, its body didn’t have any hair. It was four-legged, had fearsome claws and fanged teeth. Victims had three holes on their neck in a triangular, upside-down shape, which became the trademark of Chupacabra attacks. In some animals, there was just one hole at the neck, which was inconsistent with the creature’s teeth marks. However, the victims were nonetheless associated with it.

Researchers were going mad because they simply couldn’t trace the creature. Then, they found out that the pre-Colombian civilizations like the Mayans and Aztecs also encountered a goat-sucking-demon many, many years ago. The 1400 BC Mayan literature and many mythological stories of that era often mention a vampire bat. Also called death bat, the creature was named Camaztoz. It had the face of a lizard or bat, two arms and had the ability to transform itself into a statue during the daytime. Camaztoz was also a blood-sucking monster that not only used its teeth to drain blood but also his sharp nose. In fact, it used its nose as a device to drink blood. But, let’s not forget that the Maya itself is a mysterious civilization. Archeologists are still trying to unearth the secret Mayan civilization so, with that Camaztoz also remains an unsolved mystery till date.

Out of the other demonic creatures from the folklore such as the Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabra is unique because it attacks in broad daylight as well as at nighttime. The other monsters are only sighted for merely seconds and then disappear. Chupacabra has, on the other hand, managed to attack hundreds of animals since 1995 and we don’t know how many before that.  The sightings of Chupacabra aren’t limited to the Puerto Rico, Florida or Texas regions but the creature has gone global. It has attacked animals in Russia, China, the Philippines, and Thailand etc. This is why Chupacabra legend has spread across continents and the creature has become part of folklore from diverse cultures.

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History of Chupacabras:

The earliest known sightings of the monstrous creature were noted in Ancient Mayan literature thousands of years ago in 1400 BCE. About two centuries ago, one such creature was sighted in Indonesia and the Philippines. In recent times the creature appeared for the first time in 1995, in rural areas of Puerto Rico, mainly around Canóvanas. Ever since then, the sightings have become more common, frequent and extended to different locations, specifically in different parts of the Americas. People all over the world are frightened by the sightings of a goat-sucking monster. It is worth noting that the Mayan literature referred to the vampire bat as a goat sucker Camaztoz back then.

When the Chupacabra attacked in 1995 and drained blood out of 8 sheep, the law enforcement regarded it as the attack of a fox or any other known predator. But then the cattle mutilation became more regular around the south-west region of America. By the end of 1995, over one thousand animals became the victims of Chupacabra, all died due to blood loss. With every animal found dead, investigators observed a strong, foul odor that was more like the sulfur stench. Sometimes there were tracks left by a three-toed animal but the descriptions of eyewitnesses made everyone go bewilder. Some claimed it to be like a monkey while some said it was like a kangaroo and some stated that the creature was like a wild dog. Perhaps, due to so many diverse specifications of the way Chupacabra looks, investigators couldn’t find a single animal to fit the description.

Chupacabra Appearance and Characteristics:

As mentioned above, the physical descriptions of the goat-sucker vary greatly. But, some characteristics have remained consistent with all the eyewitnesses who came forward to share details about the creature. Such as, almost all described that the creature had a heavy posture, somewhat like a small bear. It also had a row of spikes at the back and the monster was about 4 to 5.5 feet tall. The alien-like red bulging eyes are also observed by many while the oval shape of the head is also a well-documented feature. A majority of eyewitnesses claimed to have felt a very unpleasant odor, much like sulfur but some say the creature has no smell. Another common factor is that the creature has green and gray colored skin that resembles a lizard’s skin texture. In some eyewitness accounts, the creature was said to have four legs but in some, it had two. Kangaroo-like qualities are also consistent in many descriptions but some have pointed out ape-like qualities too. Another important trait is that the creature prefers livestock including goats, cows, chicken, and duck but may also attack other farm animals like horses, cats, and dogs. What it doesn’t like is daytime and bright lights.

Theory of Origins of Chupacabra:

Until today, theorists are debating upon the origins of Chupacabra. Some believe that this is an out worldly creature that used to be a pet for aliens and is left behind mistakenly on one of their visits to earth. Perhaps, this is why the creature shares an uncanny resemblance to Grays, the space aliens. Both Chupacabra and Grays have huge eyes and large, oval heads.

Another theory is that the creature is a crossbreed creation of scientists at NASA that escaped from the laboratory. According to a South American veterinarian, it is a genetically modified vampire bat but some give a simplistic explanation that the attacks are caused by wild dogs.

The most recent sightings of Chupacabras have been in June and sometimes investigators are able to find the creature. But most of the times, the creatures have turned out to be coyotes suffering from severe mange. Mange is a very painful and potentially fatal skin condition caused by a parasite Sarcoptes scabiei. Mange causes an animal’s skin to shed all the hair and get shriveled. Scientists like Barry OConnor, an entomologist at the University of Michigan, claim that Chupacabras are, therefore, coyotes with mange.

Frightening Real-Life Stories of Chupacabra’s Blood-Sucking Ventures:

Chupacabra is much more than a popular Latin American legend. It has been attacking animals and drinking their blood for decades. It is definitely a fearsome creature, which even surpasses the Sasquatch in notoriety. Is it a vampire or a beast, no one can surely decide but one thing is sure that animals are in danger and possibly humans too.

It is difficult to regard Chupacabra as just a myth because of the ever-increasing death toll of livestock. All had telltale bite marks on their necks and some had marks on the chest too. Eyewitnesses believe that Chupacabra is half-human and half-vampire and attacks in such a way that the animals can’t even struggle.

Stories about deaths caused by Chupacabra have made headlines in newspapers since the 1950s though. According to news reports, Chupacabra’s first attack destination was Arizona in North America during 1956. Then incidents became regular in other areas including Oregon, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, Florida, New Mexico and Texas.

More recently, new sightings were reported in 1995 in Puerto Rico and main targets of attacks were domestic animals such as goats and sheep. Even then, investigators couldn’t find actual specimens and disregarded eyewitness claims of seeing a monstrous creature as a product of Hollywood’s influence. After all, it was the same year when the sci-fi horror movie Species was released, so people were believed to be making up stories inspired by that. But what about all those poor animals the uneaten carcasses of which were left behind by the creature?

Then sightings spread across the Northern areas of the United States. In the new set of incidents, the version of creature’s description varied from the first one as this time the creature had four feet and resembled coyotes, canine hybrids, and wild dogs. Investigators claimed that the coyotes were hunting for domestic livestock because due to mange infestation, they couldn’t attack wild prey.

Chupacabra Image
Credit: LeCire Vectorised by Karta24 Source: WikiMedia

Is Chupacabra Really a Vampire? Scientific Explanations:

Scientists are confident that Chupacabra isn’t a vampire or a monster but an animal, coyotes to be precise. They opine that these coyotes are suffering from mange infestation. Because their mangy bodies get extremely weak, so they cannot catch wild prey and that’s why they attack livestock.

About the blood-sucking aspect, scientists claim that it is just exaggeration and pure myth. According to Loren Coleman, director at the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, most of the recent sightings of Chupacabra are of mangy coydogs, coyotes, wild dogs and coyote hybrids.

However, Coleman also states that this is a reasonable enough explanation but “it doesn’t mean it explains the whole legend.” Perhaps, Coleman is doubtful himself because of the many loose-ends that scientific researchers have left in this regard. For example, in the 1990s almost 99% of the eyewitnesses provided similar descriptions of the creature that attacked hundreds of livestock in Puerto Rico. The appearance wasn’t that of a canine but something like a large lizard or reptile. That description suddenly changed to something that moved like a kangaroo and had the size of a small bear.

Sightings after the year 2000 have largely been of something that definitely resembled coyotes. So, even science cannot explain the mystery behind Chupacabras. All that researchers can come up with is that people were imagining things after watching Species movie.

“If you look at the date when the movie Species opened in Puerto Rico, you will see that it overlaps with the first explosion of reports there,” Coleman says.

Another possibility is that the creatures were actually a troop of rhesus monkeys that escaped and landed on the island. The reason given for this explanation is that the monkeys can stand up on their hind legs. At that time, rhesus monkeys were used in blood experiments in Puerto Rico and some might have escaped the labs.

Final Thoughts:

Whatever explanations scientists have provided so far are lackluster. There are many aspects that have been overlooked. Such as there is a big difference between reptile-like creature with spikes and Rhesus monkeys. Moreover, the blood-sucking aspect is largely overlooked and claimed to be the exaggeration of facts and reality. That’s not true because there have been news reports and many documentaries all of which cite that the victims were drained off blood. The indication of a vampire bat in the literature of Mayan civilization is yet another proof that such creatures do exist. Of course, at that time movies like Species were not available to inspire people into imagining such things.

So, at the moment it is very difficult to conclusively state that Chupacabra is a vampire, a mysterious beast or just a wild dog wandering around with mange disease. It can be a hoax or a product of imagination but there have been killings and there is no explanation on that front. If scientists are somehow able to give a reliable and reasonable explanation about the existence of Chupacabras, then the legend will automatically die out. But, if science cannot explain it even after about two decades, then people have every reason to believe in the legend of a mysterious, vampire beast called Chupacabra.

Featured Image: Resetel/Wikimedia

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