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The Legend of the Chupacabra: Is it Real or Fake?

Sucheta Pradhan
The Chupacabra is a legendary creature that has been haunting livestock owners all across North and South America, and beyond, for over 50 years. Mystery attempts to figure out if the Chupacabra is real or fake.

Quick Fact

The term Chupacabra has been coined by the Puerto Rican entrepreneur and comedian Silverio Pérez after the first few incidents associated with the creature were reported.
Legends about fictional monsters―gruesome and ugly―are abound in almost all the cultures that exist throughout the world. No matter how scary they look and/or behave, such creatures and their tales always tend to enchant and intrigue our senses.
It is quite often that people make claims about encountering some of these mythical creatures, sometimes at places as close as their homes' backyards. What follows next in response to such claims are hoards of researches, media publicity, and an elevated interest of cryptozoologists aiming to prove the probable existence of the weird and unidentified beasts.
Several theories are put forth, many of which are often dismissed at the end―they tend to be false leads rather than helpful alarms―nevertheless, by this time, the beast gains enough popularity (or notoriety) and so, the cycle continues.
Terrifying, blood-sucking creatures have always been part of the world's legends, and the tales that revolve around such beasts tend to be interesting and nerve-racking at the same time.
And what if people start claiming that they have indeed encountered an unknown, blood-sucking creature and/or have witnessed the terrible consequences that seem to prove its presence at a particular place?
One of the most interesting creatures that has become notoriously infamous in North and South America in past 50 years is the Chupacabra, a Spanish word that literally means "goat sucker". This Mysticurious article, will discuss the legend of the so-called El Chupacabra, and try to see if there is any element of truth to it.

Probable Origin of the Legend

The creature has been a subject of constant discussion within the cryptozoologist community even much before the instance mentioned above. In the year 1975, farm animals were discovered dead in large numbers in the Puerto Rican town of Moca.
All these dead animals reportedly had circular puncture wounds on their bodies, from where all their blood had been sucked out. Does that remind you of the vampire story, draining the victim's body of all its blood? At that time, several theories were put forth about the mysterious slayer of livestock.
Finally, considering the puncture wounds and bloodless corpses, the killings were finally attributed to El Vampiro de Moca, the Vampire of Moca; however, it was initially held that there was some sort of satanic cult that was executing the killings of farm animals as part of some occult ritual.
Several similar incidents were also reported from other places including Maine, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, and even the Philippines, and Russia. While claims of similar livestock, especially goat, killings came from several different countries; however, the goat sucker, the Chupacabra seems to have reached the height of notoriety only since the 1990s.
More recently, an official report about the possible existence of the Chupacabra came from Puerto Rico when, in the March of 1995, eight sheep were found dead, with their bodies devoid of any trace of blood. Moreover, the corpses had similar puncture wounds, three in number, near their chests, through which all their blood seemed to have been drained off.
In August of the same year, in the town of Canóvanas in Puerto Rico, a lady named Madelyne Tolentino claimed to have actually seen a ferocious and bizarre creature that had reportedly killed as many as 150 animals, including livestock and pets.
She was arguably the first ever eyewitness to have actually seen the creature (several others have also made similar claims), following which, the legend seems to have gained ground, especially in the Americas.

The Sightings

The Chupacabra has been reportedly sighted several times and by several people, as mentioned before. Here's a short glimpse into some of the most recent reported sightings of the creature.

Year 2004

✦ In the July of that year, a Texan rancher saw his cattle being attacked by a creature that looked like a hairless canine. Because this incident happened in the city of Elmendorf, Texas, the creature was initially called the Elmendorf Beast.
However, considering the manner in which the cattle was killed, the creature was later associated with the legendary Chupacabra. However, DNA tests that were later on conducted on the cattle at the University of California, indicated that it was, in fact, a coyote or American jackal that was suffering from sarcoptic mange.
✦ Another incident that occurred in the Texan city of Coleman involved, as described by a local farmer, a strange beast that appeared to be a composition of a hairless dog, a kangaroo, and a rat. It reportedly killed several of the farmer's turkey's and chickens in a similar fashion as that of the Chupacabra.
However again, when the farmer trapped the animal and handed it over to the Texas Parks and Wildlife officials, all its probable associations with the legendary Chupacabra were completely dismissed.

Year 2006

✦ 2006 was perhaps the year when Chupacabra enthusiasts struck a major breakthrough. In the month of April, Moscow News reported a Chupacabra sighting in Russia. This was for the first time ever that the creature was spotted outside the Americas.
The Moscow News article spoke of an unusual animal attacking livestock and sucking their blood out. While more sightings came from Central Russia than the rest of the country, those claiming to be eyewitnesses also came up with vivid descriptions of the creature.
✦ In the month of May, it was decided that if at all there was a Chupacabra in Russia, it had to be tracked down. The Russian paranormal researcher, Vadim Chernobrov, reported that the creature's strongholds seemed to be Ukraine's Kharkov region and its surroundings, but he also mentioned that it may be frequenting certain pockets of Poland and Belarus.
Chernobrov's research and the descriptions given by eyewitnesses give out an altogether different picture of the "Russian" Chupacabra. According to them, the creature resembled a kangaroo, but had the head of a crocodile. From its suddenly vanishing footprints, it was also concluded that the creature could fly in all probabilities.
✦ In August of the same year, a man from Maine reported of having sighted a carcass of an "evil looking" animal, lying on the side of the road. The report said that it was probably fatally hit by a car; however, the creature was very weird and was never seen in the area before.
While some opined that the creature was probably a mixed-breed canine, the carcass could not be examined as it was almost eaten up completely before the experts could arrive on the site.

Year 2007

✦ In the month of May, a shocking report emerged from Colombia, wherein over 300 sheep were found dead in the country's Boyacá Department. The report also said that the slayer of the sheep was captured by the locals and was handed over to the experts at the National University of Colombia for detailed examination.
✦ In August, a Texan lady residing in the city of Cuero, reported of three carcasses of an unidentified animal lying just outside her property. She also reported of the mysterious death of around 30 chickens from her farm which, according to her, had occurred due to extensive blood loss.
However, when the carcasses were closely examined by one of the State Mammalogists, it was made clear that they did not belong to any legendary beast, but were of gray foxes, suffering from mange. Nevertheless, the carcasses had large fangs, which are pretty unusual in gray foxes.

Year 2008

✦ On January 11, a sighting report came from the Philippines. Some residents of the villages in the country's Capiz Province were taken aback when they discovered their chicken, about eight in number, lying dead without a drop of blood in their bodies.
One of the villagers also saw an animal resembling a dog attacking the chickens; however, they knew that it could not be any normal dog, as dogs don't suck blood.
✦ A second report from Cuero came on August 8, when a deputy from DeWitt County filmed a strange animal near the city's back roads. The creature was hairless and had a long snout. Moreover, its hind limbs were taller than its forelimbs. However again, nothing interesting came out from the DNA analysis.

Year 2009

✦ In September, an interesting report of an unidentifiable dead animal was aired by CNN. The report a carcass received by a Texan taxidermist from his ex-student. The taxidermist held a view that the creature was a mutated coyote; however, some locals did speculate it to be the Chupacabra.
The taxidermist then sold the probable Chupacabra to the Lost World Museum, where it was later put on display.
In the years 2010, 2011, and 2013, some other sightings, believed to be those of the Chupacabra were made in the United States, in Texas, Kentucky, and Missouri, respectively. However, in-depth research and detailed analysis concluded that they were, in fact, either mixed breed coyotes or coyotes with mange.

Appearance of the Creature

Till today, there have been numerous reports of Chupacabra sightings from several regions of North and South America. While there are variations in the descriptions narrated by individual eyewitnesses, there are certain features that tend to repeat themselves in each and every one of them.
Here's how the creature most probably looks like.

✦ The Chupacabra is about 4.5 to 5.5 ft in height.

✦ Its head is oval-shaped, and it has fiery eyes with a red glow.

✦ From the top of its head, right down to the base of the spine, the creature bears long, sharp-tipped spikes, which give it an even more ruthless look.
✦ It has a green-colored skin with mottled specks, much similar to that of a frog. However, some also claim that the creature appears to be like a huge lizard.
✦ While it can locomote bipedally, it often uses all its four limbs to gain speed. According to some eyewitnesses, the Chupacabra's gait resembles that of the kangaroo, whereas some others have described it as being like that of an ape.
✦ The Chupacabra, according to most eyewitnesses, has prominent fangs. This, in a way, explains the circular incisions on the bodies of the victims.
✦ Another claim about the beast is that it bears a very strong and pungent, sulfur-like odor. However, this claim is one of the most debated ones; there are also people who say that the creature does not bear any odor at all.
Owing to the plethora of descriptions about the possible appearance of the creature, many theories regarding its possible origin (if it exists at all) have been proposed. One of the most common ones relates the Chupacabra to the extraterrestrials.
Some people believe that the creature is one of the pets that the aliens have left behind on our planet. Another theory claims that the creature is, in fact, the result of NASA's animal-alien crossbreeding experiment gone wrong.

Chupacabra-like Creatures in Other Legends

Whenever a creature is created out of human imagination, it often has its roots in some or the other related legends that abound either the same region or elsewhere. The Chupacabra is not an exception to this phenomenon, and there are several related legends to that of the mysterious creature in question. Some of them are as under:
✦ There is a Lovers' Lane in New Orleans, around which a popular legend revolves. Some people say that the lane used to be occupied by the legendary grunches, creatures which are believed to resemble the Chupacabra. Therefore, the lane came to be known as the "Grunch Road".
✦ A creature, similar in mannerisms and habits to the Chupacabra (but not the appearance) also exists in Chilean legends. Known as Peuchen, it is a shape-shifting creature, often described as a winged snake.
✦ There is also a Filipino legend about a creature known as Sigbin, the descriptions of which match with those of the Chupacabra. Sigbin is known in Filipino legends to suck its victims' blood from their shadows.
It is, in fact, not surprising that similar creatures often occur in the myths and legends of geographically distant regions. Many of these tales, more often than not, simply tend to travel across places by word of mouth and get assimilated into the local flavor.
In other words, many of these creatures reach distant regions by means of the tales that they form part of, and then get assimilated into local legends with similar characters and appearances, but with different names.

On the Existence of the Chupacabra ...

Well, after all the discussion with respect to the probable origin of the legend of the Chupacabra and the creature's numerous sightings across a substantially large geographical region, the fundamental question that needs to be answered is whether the creature is real or fake.
While cryptozoologists continue to hold their ground with respect to the actual existence of the creature, and continue to carry out further researches, the supporters of scientific evidence think otherwise.
On a scientific note, the various sightings and incidents that have been so far associated with the legendary creature have failed to find a solid scientific evidence.
While initial eyewitness accounts, describing the creatures as having alien-like features, have been dismissed as mere hoaxes, later accounts of real sightings of dog-like animals have been explained, but having no association, whatsoever, with the legendary Chupacabra.
Considering the above discussion, it would not be right to say that the Chupacabra may indeed exist; however, the claims of hundreds of people about the probable Chupacabra sightings are difficult to dismiss.
It may be, in fact, too early to say whether or not the creature may indeed exist in reality; further researches and sightings may actually make us land on an altogether different conclusion in the future; however, we cannot be completely sure about this.
As of today, the Chupacabra does not exist in reality―that's what the scientific evidence states. Nonetheless, if this supposed hoax turns out to be a reality in the years to come, we would owe the achievement to the numerous exciting legends that were built around the creature for years together.