The Legend of the Fearsome Chupacabra in Puerto Rico
The Chupacabra is a legendary cryptid often associated with Mexico, and well-known across Latin America. One of the locations the Chupacabra has made an impact in the past is in Puerto Rico. Reportedly first sighted there during the mid 1990s, the Chupacabra made headlines across the world when livestock started mysteriously dying. Animals were found completely drained of blood through small incisions which, according to experts at the time, were not compatible with the bite of a dog, monkey or any other known carnivore from the region. More than 200 Chupacabra sightings were reported on the island in 1995 alone yet as quickly as the Chupacabra sightings started, they had stopped, leaving behind a trail of questions.
The Origins of the Chupacabra in Puerto Rico
The name "Chupacabra" is of Spanish origin meaning "goat sucker” (from chupar, meaning "to suck", and cabra, meaning “goat”) which is in reference to how the mythical beast allegedly attacks its prey.
The phenomenon of the Chupacabra has been associated with the “Vampiro de Moca" from February 1975 when a Puerto Rican legend tells of fifteen cows, three goats, two geese, and a pig that were found with puncture marks in the Rocha Barrio suburbs of Moca. Later autopsies showed that blood had been drained from their bodies. The incident made headlines and police blamed the animals' deaths on stray dogs. When a cow was found dead with similar marks on its skull, a newspaper called the phenomenon “El Vampiro de Moca.”
The 1995 Chupacabra Attacks Make the Fabled Creature as Famous as Bigfoot
A series of isolated attacks took place on the island from 1992 to 1995. In March of 1995, there was a Chupacabra incident where eight sheep were found dead. Their bodies were completely intact but their blood had been drained leaving behind puncture wounds in the chest. Paranormal researcher Mark Davenport and video producer Joe Palermo, were in Puerto Rico at the time of the attacks filming a documentary. They described the animal deaths as a continuous daily event:
Day and night over the radio, over television, they were constantly talking about this Chupacabra activity going on - this was very serious to them. They’d wake up one morning and find the carcass of their four favorite rabbits sucked dry of blood and just lying there on the ground.
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Eight sheep found dead, believed to have been attacked by the Chupacabra
Five months later, there was another event, this time with more bloodshed. In August of 1995, as many as 150 farm animals and pets were killed by a predator around the Puerto Rican town of Canóvanas. Just like the sheep from the incident in March, the animals were said to have been drained of blood through small holes.
Interestingly, in each of the cases studied, local veterinarians said the cause of death was due to puncture wounds under the right side of the neck. The wounds were about the diameter of a drinking straw and three to four inches (7.62 to 10.16cm) in length. In March 1996, the Spanish talk show Christina, aired the story about the Chupacabra, and immediately following the show there was a tremendous amount of sightings across Latin America and the United States. The Chupacabra had become as famous as Bigfoot.
A coyote often attacks by biting the throat of the prey ( Wikimedia Commons )
Varying Descriptions of the Chupacabra
There are no known photographs of the Chupacabra. Many supposed images have turned out to be nothing more than disease ridden coyotes. Thus, it is unknown what this mythical creature looks like, if it actually exists. There are however, numerous "eyewitness" accounts which vary quite a bit. The Chupacabra of Puerto Rico was described by many eyewitnesses as standing on two legs. In newspaper articles during the series of incidents, it was said to be “ some type of large ape ” and “ a vicious monkey that can run upright on its legs, slaughter goats and suck the blood from its prey .” A sound bite from an Associated Press video at the time said “ There are two big animals, as big as a man. I saw them from afar, they looked like big apes, like a mandril but I couldn't distinguish their features. "