Chupacabra

Chupacabra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chupacabra
 
Artist’s depiction of a chupacabra
Creature
 
Name: Chupacabra
Classification  
Grouping: Cryptid
Extraterrestrial
Data
First reported: Early 1990s
Last sighted: Present Day
Country: Puerto Rico,
Mexico,
United States
Region: Central and North America
Status: Unconfirmed

Chupacabra (also chupacabras /tʃupa’kabɾas/, from Spanish chupar: to suck, cabra: goat; goat sucker) is a 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.[1] 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 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. Most biologists and wildlife management officials view the chupacabra as an urban legend.[2]

Contents

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History

The first purported attacks occurred in March of 1995 in Puerto Rico.[3] In this attack eight sheep were discovered dead, each with three puncture wounds in the chest area and were completely drained of blood.[3] In 1975, similar killings in the small town of Moca, were attributed to El Vampiro de Moca (The Vampire of Moca).[4] Initially it was suspected that the killings were done by members of 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.[5] Shortly after the deaths 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, the United States and Mexico.[3]

Reported sightings

In July 2004, a rancher near San Antonio killed a hairless dog-like creature, which was attacking his livestock.[6] This animal, initially given the name the Elmendorf Beast, was later determined by DNA assay conducted at UC 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.[7] 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.”[8]

In April 2006, MosNews reported that the chupacabra 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 chupacabra. In May of 2006, experts were determined to track the animal down.[9]

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.[10]

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 analysed by zoologists at Universidad Nacional of Colombia.[11]

In August 2007, Phylis Canion found three animals in Cuero, Texas. She and her neighbors purported 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.[12] 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 chupacabra legend. State Mammologist John Young estimated that the animal in Canion’s pictures was a grey 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 merely a coyote.[13]

In January 11 2008, a new sighting appeared at the province of Philippines: Capiz. Some of the resident from the barangay believed that it was the chupacabra that killed eight chickens. The owner of the chickens saw a dog like animal attacking his chickens.[14]

Appearance

The most common description of Chupacabra is a reptile-like being, appearing to have leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back.[15] 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.[16] In at least one sighting, the creature hopped 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 a sulfuric stench behind.[16] When it screeches, some reports note that the chupacabra’s eyes glow an unusual red, that gives the witnesses nausea. Some witnesses have reported seeing bat-like wings.[17]

Another description of Chupacabra, although not as common, is described as a strange breed of wild dog.[16] This form is mostly hairless, 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. The corpse of an animal found in León, Nicaragua, and forensically analyzed at UNAN-Leon is claimed as a specimen of this genus. Pathologists at the University found that it was an unusual looking dog-like creature of an unknown species.[18] Unlike conventional predators, the chupacabra is said to drain all of the animal’s blood (and sometimes organs) through a single hole or two holes.[19]

In popular culture

The popularity of the chupacabras has resulted in it being featured in several types of merchandise. Some mystery novels that use aspects of the myth as the centerpoint of the plot have been published.[20] Other kinds of book include those that provide a scientific explanation for the phenomena and fairy tales.[21][22] The Chupacabras has also been featured in films such as Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico and in independent productions including “El Chupacabras” and” Vuelve el Chupacabras”. The Chupacabras has been featured in television programs including The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, The X-Files and The Venture Bros; it was also mentioned in Will and Grace. The Fantastic Four one-shot comic “Isla de La Muerte” has the four heroes encounter several Chupacabras while they were vacationing in Puerto Rico; in this story, the creatures are a subterranean race that has fallen under the control of the heroes’ old enemy, The Mole Man.

Ed Lavandera reporter of CNN, has described the Chupacabras as the “Bigfoot of Latino Culture” and has stated that “El Chupacabras also symbolizes the fear of something that doesn’t exist”.[1] Following the incident in Cuero, Texas the popularity of the Chupacabras myth was receiving global attention.[23] Phylis Clayton, who was responsible for capturing the alleged specimen, claimed that t-shirts highlighting the event were shipped to countries such as Italy, Guam and Iraq . The publicity that Cuero received following this event has led to some suggesting changing the town’s mascot.[23]

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