The stories and sightings of the legendary cryptid known as the chupacabra have been reported from all around the world over the last few years.
The first ever documented reports of the creature came from Puerto Rico in the 1990s where it was described as being a 4-5 foot tall bipedal monster with spikes down its back, long claws, and large eyes. Local reports claimed it was draining the blood from livestock which earned the creature its name chupacabra which is Spanish for goat sucker. The legend of the chupacabra would quickly spread and become the basis of countless theories as to whether or not this was some unknown creature, an alien being, or nothing more than an urban myth. Researcher Benjamin Radford went on a five-year investigation looking for the truth about this blood sucking monster as detailed in a great BBC article.
Mr. Radford got wind of the stories and reports of the creature and said he recognized a unique opportunity. He decided there were the makings of an unprecedented scientific investigation into this mysterious creature. Radford said:
“I was of course initially skeptical of the creature’s existence, At the same time, I was mindful that new animals have yet to be discovered. I didn’t want to just debunk or dismiss it. If the chupacabra is real, I wanted to find it.”
So Radford set out in search of the chupacabra and he started by finding the first person to ever report a sighting of the beast. A resident of a small town in east Puerto Rico named Madelyne Tolentino said she spotted the creature out of her window in 1995. After her chupacabra sighting was made public stories and more reported sightings began to pop up first around the island and then the rest of Latin America according to Radford. The creature was linked in the media to reports of livestock found drained of blood everywhere including some southern US states. It quickly went viral and the stories began to flourish online attracting conspiracy theorists, UFO enthusiasts, and the Cryptozoology community.
Unlike many other mysterious creatures like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster the chupacabra isn’t entirely based on random sightings and grainy footage said, Radford. There are both bodies of dead livestock that the creature reportedly attacked and even actual specimens believed to be the creature itself. “When you have a body, everything changes,” he explains. “You have DNA samples, you have bone samples, you have morphology.” So he incorporated what he called “investigative skepticism”, collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses approaching this all with an open mind.
In the early 2000s, chupacabra reports especially in the US and some other countries started to change Radford says and a new chupacabra arrived on the scene. It shared some of the traits of the original creature and earlier sightings but became much less alien like often being described as a dog like animal often hairless. This is when bodies believed to the creature started to pop up. So he began to take a look at the alleged chupacabra bodies which turned up mostly in the south-western US states like Texas. But he found that DNA test of many of these bodies turned out to prove that they were nothing more than dogs, raccoons, and coyotes. Radford explained, “The reason these animals get identified as chupacabras is because they’ve lost their hair owing to sarcoptic mange.”
But that didn’t explain the reports of dead livestock that were drained of blood and often said to have had puncture marks on their necks. But these attacks can often be attributed to ordinary predators such as canids Radford claims. These attacks are often misidentified because of a lack of knowledge of how real blood-feeding animals behave. According to Bill Schutt of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, US, a creature the size of a dog would starve to death quickly on a blood meal because it lacks essential components such as fat. He also noted “When an animal dies, the heart and blood pressure stop, The blood seeps to the lowest part of the body, and it coagulates and thickens. It’s called lividity, and it gives the illusion that they’ve been drained of blood.”
But many believers find plenty to be skeptical of in these reports and point to various aspects of the chupacabra which don’t exactly conform to these natural phenomena. Many of the recent chupacabra sightings from places like the US, Russia, and New Mexico among others offer plenty for skeptics to grasp on to and are often explained away as simple misidentifications. The lack of any real concrete chupacabra evidence proving the creatures existence hasn’t and likely won’t stop the legend from growing and believers from searching. Perhaps those like Mr. Radford are right and this creature is nothing more than a legend but the fact is the world can be a very mysterious place with new twist and turns around every corner. The story in its entirety from BBC located here.