C Is For Chupacabra

Toy Vault Chupacabra Plush Toy
Plush, cuddly Chupacabra
Tales of predators who roam the night drinking the blood of their hapless prey might be as old as storytelling itself. There's something deliciously macabre about a creature that kills so neatly, leaving behind not torn flesh and gnawed bones but a pristine, bloodless corpse, marked only by small puncture wounds over a major artery. It strikes our imaginations as more elegant, less brutal, and yet somehow more mysterious and frightening than the familiar dangers in our everyday lives.

In March of 1995, such a predator made its presence known on the small island of Puerto Rico. Eight sheep were found dead, completely drained of blood, each with three small round holes in their chests. People murmured that "El Vampiro de Moca" had returned, referring to a mysterious creature that had caused hundreds of similar livestock deaths across Puerto Rico in 1975. The murmurs turned to alarm when those eight sheep proved to be only the beginning of a year-long killing spree that would leave hundreds of pets and farm animals punctured, exsanguinated and lifeless.

In August 1995 the first eyewitness report came in, vividly detailing a reptilian creature with smooth greenish-gray skin, three or four feet tall, with large glowing eyes and a row of sharp spines running down its back. 1975's "Vampire of Moca" had been described as a smallish winged creature, part bird and part reptile: this new beast was clearly something different. It was dubbed "El Chupacabra," the goatsucker, and the livestock death toll rose into the hundreds in Puerto Rico that year. The culprit was spotted from time to time, but now witnesses were insisting they'd seen a creature something like a cross between a dog and a kangaroo, with large fangs and claws. One man who needed medical attention for the cuts and scratches on his torso claimed to have been assaulted from behind by a gorilla. (Puerto Rico is notably gorilla-free.) Later that year the beast apparently left Puerto Rico and began wreaking its havoc in the US, Mexico and South America, where some witnesses claimed to see a strange, hairless creature resembling a wild dog.
Tracking the Chupacabra: The Vampire Beast in Fact, Fiction, and Folklore
So why don't the witness accounts agree? Part of the mystery may have been solved when it was revealed that the first eyewitness had basically described the aliens from the movie "Species," which she had watched a few weeks earlier. This undermined the credibility of her account, and made her version of the creature seem less likely to be accurate. As for the hairless wild dogs, there has been a documented rise in cases of mange in recent years, possibly due to global warming. That leaves the fanged bipedal kangaroo-dog, and theories on its origin span the spectrum from alien visitation to government experimentation.

T-shirt Orange " Do not feet the CHUPACABRAS " - Urban Culture Monster . 16 Colors . Large
Do Not Feed the Chupacabras
The fact remains that something is out there claiming animal lives, though the death rate has dropped significantly from its 1995 peak. The modus operandi is always the same: pets or livestock found dead, drained of all blood, with one to three small round holes in the neck or chest. What is El Chupacabra, and where did it -- or they -- come from? Have we witnessed the birth of a new life form, or has the destruction of rainforest habitat forced an ancient species to migrate to fresh hunting grounds? The puzzle of El Chupacabra continues to baffle famers and scientists alike, while capturing the imaginations of people everywhere. Exsanguinated livestock aside, it's nice to be reminded now and then that there are still a few unexplained mysteries in the world.

Debora Silkotch has a personal blog,"I'm Probably Overthinking This," and a mild Twitter addiction (@Dsilkotch). In her spare time she continues to make preparations for the Zombie Apocalypse.


  1. Interesting...and there have ben several new species discovered in the last 10 years! (Found you via Twitter AtoZ thread, BTW). Cool post.

  2. This was really interesting, I enjoyed reading. It's neat how things can be picked up by other cultures. An anime I was watching awhile back (Negima) had a character that was obsessed with chupacabra.

  3. it's nice to be reminded now and then that there are still a few unexplained mysteries in the world.

    I agree. Nice to meet you via A-Z!

  4. Awesome. It's been a long time since I've thought about the Chupacabra. Thanks for the well written reflection.

    Found on on Twitter with the #atozchallenge tag.

    East for Green Eyes


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