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Spooky Legends Pt. 3: Chupacabra

Warning: Article not recommended for those 11 or under.

Chupacabras - the vampire animal. In Latin American popular legend, the Chupacabra is a monstrous creature that attacks animals and consumes their blood. Their name is taken from the Spanish words 'chupar', which means “to suck”, and 'cabra', which means goat; its literal translation being “goat-sucker”. The tales of this mysterious monster have traveled through Mexico, the U.S., and even China since the mid-1990s when it was first reported in Puerto Rico.

For years, the blood-sucking monster has been a staple for Halloween stories fueled by the alleged carcasses and sightings. These observations offer different versions of the Chupacabra: some say it has gray, scraggly hair and takes after the shape of a kangaroo or a wolf, while others mention that it hops from tree to tree and can even fly. However, the most popular description of the creature is like a dog or coyote and was generally canine and hairless. These mythical animals attack goats, sheep, rabbits, horses, and chickens. These ambushes usually happen at night and leaving the animals deprived of blood and with peculiar vampire-like marks on their necks. In addition, some have also said that chupacabras have attacked humans, tore through screen windows, and pounced on family dogs at picnics.

If these beings are a legend, then why are there so many sightings of them? National Geographic looked into the science of Chupacabras and found a few answers. They found that in most cases these animals have been coyotes that are suffering from an extreme case of mange, an excruciating, and sometimes a fatal skin condition that causes the animals’ hair to fall out and skin to shrivel among other symptoms. Mange can be life-threatening for canines such as coyotes as they have not evolved effective reactions to the infection. Since animals with mange are very weakened, these coyotes could be attacking livestock instead of going after prey as they are the easier option to get food. Loren Coleman, the director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, agreed that many Chupacabra sightings could be appearances of coyotes and dogs.

Chupacabras have gained more recognition through the years and find themselves in various popular culture references. While most of the recent findings of these creatures are usually mistaken for sick coyotes and dogs, you never know if you are going to witness a real Chupacabra, so make sure to be on the lookout for the famous vampire animal.


Lewis, Robert. “Chupacabra.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 15 Nov. 2016,

Luntta, Karl. “Abominable Chupacabra.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Jan. 2006,

Than, Ker. “Chupacabra Science: How Evolution Made a Mythical Monster.” Culture, National Geographic, 30 Oct. 2010,

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