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The Bloodsucking Predator of the Americas
Only one creature is known to put fear in every farmer around the Americas, and possibly worldwide. That creature is none other than the legendary Chupacabra.
Known for its vampirism, the chupacabra gets its name from the Spanish words chupar, to suck, and cabra, goat.
But is this just another fear-driven misconception or is the chupacabra real?
The investigations on the reported chupacabra attacks all lean in favor of this being just another cryptid, although, with new reports coming from India and Russia, we might be on the fence here.
Sightings of the Chupacabra in Puerto Rico
The sightings of this mysterious beast started in March 1995 in Puerto Rico, when a farmer discovered eight sheep which were drained of their blood. All of the animals had three puncture wounds on their chest.
A few months later, in August, around 150 farm animals were reportedly killed in the town of Canóvanas, Puerto Rico.
After these reports caught the attention of the public eye, a case from 1975 in the small town of Moca was revisited. What was intriguing was that the killings which took place in 1975 have been attributed to the vampire of Moca, a killer who bled dry the animals through three small incisions.
Soon after, there were reported attacks on animals from all around the world including Mexico, Chile, Nicaragua, Argentina, and Florida, generally Spanish-speaking countries.
Together with the reports of the attacks followed descriptions of the perpetrator, mostly falling into two categories, a reptile-like creature with a scaly gray skin and quills running down its back, reaching up to 4 feet. The other is a dog-like creature, which is hairless and has a noticeable spine ridge with big fangs and claws.
However, there have been a fair amount of reports where stray dogs and coyotes, that were infected with the parasite Sarcoptes scabies, essentially mange, have been mistaken as the chupacabra.
The physical resemblance between the animals and the physical appearance of the chupacabra could be attributed to the symptoms of the parasite, while the attacks could be the result of the animals being greatly weakened, making it difficult to hunt, therefore being forced into attacking livestock.
Related Creatures and Legends
As with any creature that is shrouded in mystery, the chupacabra has often been compared to other creatures from folklore.
One such creature is the Ozark Howler, a large bear-like creature that is said to live in the Ozarks.
Another creature that is considered to be an Asian counterpart to the chupacabra is the Sigbin.
The Filipino Sigbin is said to come out at night to drink the blood of its victims and usually serve as the pets of the Aswang, various evil shape-shifting creatures in Filipino folklore.
What is most intriguing is that this monster is most commonly related to aliens and UFO sightings, therefore often being considered the pet of an alien race.
However, the Nightjar, also known as the goatsucker bird, are the one species that often get confused with the chupacabra. Nightjar is a mid-sized nocturnal bird that can be found in a variety of habitats, most commonly in the open country.
Sharing the same nickname regularly results in confusion when talking about these two creatures.
Hoax or Proven Science?
A long investigation concluded that the description from the report made in 1995 was based on the creature Sil from the horror film Species. In addition, the reports of blood-sucking by the chupacabra were never confirmed by necropsy.
In 2010, it was concluded that almost all the sightings of chupacabra were stray dogs, infected coyotes, or Mexican hairless dogs.
With the results of the investigations, the mystery behind the chupacabra unraveled, giving reason to believe that the existence of the chupacabra is nothing more than just another hoax that spiraled out of control.
Even though the evidence for its existence is little to none, and the little that exists keeps being refuted, this hasn’t stopped people from believing that they’ve encountered this horrific cryptid.
Chupacabras in Popular Culture
Chupacabras have been on the rise when it comes to their inclusion in pop culture.
The most famous inclusion of the chupacabra can be found in the video game ARK: Survival Evolved, where both iterations can be found.
The Nameless resembles the reptilian chupacabra, while the Ravager resembles a bald coyote with big fangs that cause bleeding damage.
Another appearance the chupacabra makes is in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Here they are portrayed in a manner consistent with the original Mexican version, being lizard-like creatures with spiky backs and blood-sucking fangs.
The trading card game Magic: The Gathering introduced two cards called Lurking Chupacabra and Ravenous Chupacabra.
Make no mistake, the harrowing story of the chupacabra reached the sport-entertainment world as well, where luchadors and wrestlers are often inspired by this terrifying beast, which is represented in their elaborate costumes.
Misconceptions, Fun Facts, and FAQs
A common misconception is that the chupacabra originated in the mid-90s, however, the concept of a chupacabra is much older, which can often be found throughout Latin American folklore, falling under the trope commonly known as Older Than They Think.
The popularity of the chupacabra is mostly credited to low-budget motion pictures where they are portrayed as monsters.
Early reports describe a creature that was capable of standing upright and resembled a reptilian-like kangaroo with big red eyes. No real specimens were found, and it was believed that the hoaxes started right after the previously mentioned movie Species was released.
Unlike most monsters, the chupacabra is not based exclusively on sightings, bodies have reportedly been found in Texas.
However, after taking DNA samples, it was proven that all of the bodies were that of coyotes, dogs, and even raccoons.
The reason why the animals that were attacked in the reports seem to be drained of their life force is because of a process called lividity where when the animal dies the heart and blood pressure stop, making the blood seep to the lower end of the body where it thickens, resulting in an illusion where the body seems to be drained of its blood.
The chupacabra has haunted the American west and its fame has bred new sightings the world over. The real question is whether you have something to fear or if livestock and wildlife are their only prey.
Rigor Mortis and Lividity, https://www.exploreforensics.co.uk/rigor-mortis-and-lividity.html, Accessed, 30 July 2021. On the Trail of the Chupacabra, https://web.archive.org/web/20050919215215/http://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa051898.htm , Accessed, 31 July 2021 Encounters with Chupacabras, https://web.archive.org/web/20071017163054/http://paranormal.about.com/cs/chupacabra/a/aa071403.htm , Accessed, 31 July 2021 Magic: The Gathering, https://archive.is/dBrzL , Accessed 31 July 2021 Older Than They Think, https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OlderThanTheyThink , Accessed 30 July 2021