Named for its seeming penchant for attacking goats and sucking their blood, the Chupacabra ("goat sucker") both terrified and fascinated the public at large when it first burst upon the scene in Puerto Rico in the summer of 1995. From August of 1995 to the present, the monster has been credited with the vampirelike deaths of thousands of animals, ranging from goats, rabbits, and birds to horses, cattle, and deer. While some argue that the creature is a new monster, others point out that such entities have always existed and been reported by farmers and villagers in Puerto Rico and Central and South America.
The beast has been observed by numerous eyewitnesses as it attacked their livestock, and they have described it as nightmarish in appearance. Standing erect on powerful goatlike legs with three-clawed feet, the monster is generally described as slightly over five feet in height, though some reports list it as over six and a half feet. Its head is oval in shape and it has an elongated jaw with a small, slit mouth and fangs that protrude both upward and downward. A few witnesses have claimed to have seen small, pointed ears on its reptilianlike head, but all who have seen the Chupacabra after dark state that they will never forget its red eyes that glow menacingly in the shadows. Although its arms are thin, they are extremely powerful, ending in three-clawed paws.
A most unusual attribute of the Chupacabra is its chameleonlike ability to change colors even though it appears to have a strong, coarse black hair that covers its torso. Somehow, the creature is able to alter its coloration from green to grayish and from light brown to black, depending upon the vegetation that surrounds it. Another peculiarity of the beast is the row of quill-like appendages that runs down its spine and the fleshly membrane that extends between these projections, which can flare or contract and also change color from blue to green or from red to purple.
Some witnesses have claimed that the Chupacabra can fly, but others state that it is the beast's powerful hindlegs that merely catapult it over walls, small trees, and one-story barns or outbuildings. It is those same strong legs that enable the creature to run at extremely fast speeds to escape its pursuers.
It wasn't long after the night terrors began in Puerto Rico before reports of Chupacabra began appearing in Florida, Texas, Mexico, and among the ranchers in Brazil's southern states of Sao Paulo and Parana. In Brazil, the ranchers called the monster "O Bicho," the Beast, but there was no mistaking the brutal signature of the Chupacabra on the mutilated corpses of sheep and other livestock. And the description provided by frightened eyewitnesses was also the same—a reptilian creature with thin arms, long claws, powerful hind legs, and dark gray in color.
On May 11, 1997, the newspaper Folha de Londrina in Parana State, Brazil, published the account of a slaughter that had occurred at a ranch near Campina Grande do Sul when in a single corral 12 sheep were found dead and another 11 were horribly mutilated. While some authorities attributed the attacks to wild dogs or cougars, those who had been eyewitnesses to the appearance of the beast argued that the creature that they had seen walking on its hind legs and seizing livestock by the throat had most certainly not been any kind of known canine or cat.
Rumors concerning Chupacabra's origin began to circulate at a furious pace. From April to September 2000, the bloodsucker in Chile slaughtered more than 800 animals, and both the people and the authorities were becoming concerned about what kind of monster was running amuck in their country. Some witnesses to the bloody rampages of the creature described it as a large rodent, others as a mutant kangaroo; still others perceived it as a winged, apelike vampire. A number of authorities began to speculate that the Chupacabra-type creatures had been manufactured by some secret government agency, a bizarre hybrid of various animals, created for whom knew what purpose. A number of clergymen issued pronouncements stating that the creatures were heralding the end of the world. UFO enthusiasts theorized that aliens brought the monsters to test the planet's atmosphere, in order to prepare a mass invasion of Earth. Anthropologists reminded people that tales of such mysterious, vampirelike monsters that sucked the blood out of livestock had been common in Central America for centuries.
A widely popular story spread throughout Chile that Chilean soldiers had captured a Chupacabra male, female, and cub that had been living in a mine north of Calama. Then, according to the account, a team of NASA scientists arrived in a black helicopter and reclaimed the Chupacabra family. The creatures, so the story claimed, had escaped from a secret NASA facility in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile where the U.S. space agency was attempting to create some kind of hybrid beings that could survive on Mars.
On August 30, 2000, Jorge Luis Talavera, a farmer in the jurisdiction of Malpaisillo, Nicaragua, had enough of the nocturnal depredations of Chupacabra. The beast had sucked the life from 25 of his sheep and 35 of his neighbor's flock, and he lay in wait with rifle in hand for its return. That night it seemed that Talavera accomplished what no other irate farmer or rancher had been able to do. He shot and killed a Chupacabra.
Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology, reported that a specialist of veterinary medicine examined the carcass and acknowledged that it was an uncommon creature with great eye cavities, smooth batlike skin, big claws, large teeth, and a crest sticking out from the main vertebra. The specialist said that the specimen could have been a hybrid animal made up of several species, created through genetic engineering.
However, on September 5, 2000, the official analysis of the corpse by the university medical college was that Talavera had shot a dog. A furious Luis Talavera declared that the officials had switched carcasses. "This isn't my goatsucker," he groused as the college returned the skeleton of a dog for his disposal.
Today, Chupacabra reports continued unabated from nearly all the South American countries. While the creature remains controversial and arguments ensue whether it is some kind of vampire, extraterrestrial alien, or a creation of some secret branch of the U.S. government, frightened and angry people complain that whatever Chupacabra is, it continues to suck the blood from their livestock.