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What is a Chupacabra?

G. Melanson
G. Melanson

The Chupacabra is a creature rumored to exist across North and South America, with reported sightings spanning from Chile all the way up to Maine. Its name, Chupacabra, comes from a combination of the Spanish word chupar, which means to suck, and cabra, which means goat. The creature earned this fierce title from reports that claim it sucks the blood from livestock such as goats and leaves small puncture wounds on its victims.

The Chupacabra first made headlines in 1995 when reports surfaced that an unknown creature had attacked eight sheep on a farm in Puerto Rico and drained their blood. Soon after, reports of similar attacks on livestock began popping up in the United States, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Panama, Brazil, Peru, and other countries.

An unknown creature attacked eight sheep on a farm in Puerto Rico.
An unknown creature attacked eight sheep on a farm in Puerto Rico.

Unlike other popular cryptids such as the Mothman and Bigfoot, the Chupacabra seems to have the most varied physical description. The vampires of Cryptozoology, Chupacabras are described as reptilian creatures that stand roughly three to four feet (.9 to 1.2 m) tall and have quills emerging from their spine all the way down to their tails. The Chupacabra has also been reported to hiss, hop great lengths and have large, glowing, red eyes. Another common description of the Chupacabra portrays it as more of a hairless canine than reptile. In 2004, DNA results from a purported Chupacabra carcass in Texas backed up this theory, as results revealed it to be a coyote with mange.

DNA from a purported chupacabra revealed it to be a coyote with mange.
DNA from a purported chupacabra revealed it to be a coyote with mange.

2006 was a busy year for the Chupacabra: with eyewitness reports claiming it had put in appearances for the first time in Maine and even in Central Russia. After a rash of dog maulings were reported in Turner, Maine, a roadside carcass resembling a canine creature was discovered and thought to be the culprit. However, the carcass was picked clean by scavengers before it could be analyzed. In Central Russia that same year, a rash of livestock attacks occurred on 32 turkeys and 30 sheep, all of which were found with their blood drained.

Chupacabras are said to attack cattle.
Chupacabras are said to attack cattle.

Theories of the Chupacabra’s genetic makeup and origin vary. Some speculate that it is an undiscovered animal species possibly related to canines, felines, reptiles, or a combination thereof. Others theorize that it is a dinosaur which has somehow survived the prehistoric period. Perhaps the most eccentric theory is that it is some sort of alien pet that survived a UFO crash near Puerto Rico and has since multiplied.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Chupacabra?

The Chupacabra, which translates to 'goat-sucker' in Spanish, is a legendary creature rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It's said to attack and drink the blood of livestock, particularly goats. Despite numerous sightings, there's no scientific evidence to confirm its existence, and it's widely considered a myth or a result of misidentified wild animals.

When was the Chupacabra first reported?

The first reported sightings of the Chupacabra occurred in Puerto Rico in the mid-1990s. The creature gained notoriety after a series of unexplained livestock deaths, where animals were found with puncture wounds and reportedly drained of blood. These reports quickly spread, contributing to the legend's growth across the Americas.

What are the common descriptions of a Chupacabra?

Descriptions of the Chupacabra vary, but it's often depicted as a reptile-like creature with leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back. It is said to be approximately 3 to 4 feet tall and stands on hind legs, with some reports describing it as having large, glowing red eyes.

Are there any scientific explanations for Chupacabra sightings?

Scientists and wildlife experts suggest that Chupacabra sightings are likely misidentifications of sick or mangy canids, such as coyotes, dogs, or foxes, afflicted with mange. Mange is a skin disease caused by mites, which can lead to hair loss and the thickening of the skin, giving animals a strange, unrecognizable appearance.

Has the Chupacabra been linked to any real animal species?

While the Chupacabra itself has not been linked to any known animal species, DNA tests from alleged Chupacabra carcasses have often identified the remains as those of wild dogs, coyotes, raccoons, and other common mammals, typically suffering from disease or congenital abnormalities, according to wildlife biologists.

Why does the legend of the Chupacabra persist?

The legend of the Chupacabra persists due to a combination of factors, including cultural folklore, sensational media coverage, and the human tendency to seek explanations for the unexplained. Mysterious animal deaths and the power of storytelling continue to fuel the myth, keeping the Chupacabra alive in the public imagination despite the lack of concrete evidence.

Discussion Comments


I think the chupacabra is real.


@stormyknight: That is interesting. I didn't know that about the 1970's.

Is the Chupacabra a myth or legend? That is a question that we may never know. There are many websites with chupacabra info and, of course, people have varied opinions.

Some have referred to the Chupacabra as a “living gargoyle”. In cryptozoology, Chupacabra are unknown creatures. There are some that hold to the cattle mutilation by UFO’s idea. Others think that that the chupacabra must be an alien creature released by a UFO.

We may never know.


There is folklore for the Chupacabra that goes back many years. The modern chupacabra talk started about 1975 in Puerto Rico with the “Moca Vampire”.

In 1975, we saw an era of the UFO sightings. These occurred around Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. Coincidentally, a large number of Puerto Rican farmers had unexplained animal killings. They ranged from ducks to cows, and even goats. Reportedly, the animals had been cut open and their blood removed. The initial reports of this strange happening came from the town of Moca which led to the name Moca Vampire.

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    • An unknown creature attacked eight sheep on a farm in Puerto Rico.
      By: Alexey Stiop
      An unknown creature attacked eight sheep on a farm in Puerto Rico.
    • DNA from a purported chupacabra revealed it to be a coyote with mange.
      By: gabe9000c
      DNA from a purported chupacabra revealed it to be a coyote with mange.
    • Chupacabras are said to attack cattle.
      By: branex
      Chupacabras are said to attack cattle.