First Reported: 1995
Location: Mexico, Southwest United States, Puerto Rico
In Mach 1995, the Chupacabra began its vicious attack in Puerto Rico, killing and draining the blood of eight sheep. Every sheep suffered from three puncture wounds in its chest area. The attacks continued with increasing severity. In August, over 100 people reported dead pets and livestock in Canovanas, Puerto Rico. Madelyne Tolentino reportedly saw the creature responsible for these attacks and described it as a two-legged, reptile-like monster with red eyes, scales, and sharp spikes poking out from its spine – the Puerto Rican Chupacabra.
The official report in 1995 might not be the first time the Chupacabra terrorized the island of Puerto Rico. Twenty years prior, in 1975, multiple reported killings occurred in Moca, Puerto Rico, with similar characteristics to the ‘original’ Chupacabra attacks. Unable to explain the bloodless victims the monster left in its wake, many believed a Satanic cult was responsible for the devastation. The legend of the El Vampiro de Moca, or the Vampire of Moca, was born. It’s possible the Vampire of Moca is the same creature as the Chupacabra, the latter of which is a name given to the cryptid by Silverio Perez after the attacks in 1995, which literally translates to goat-sucker.
Based on the location of the reported sighting, witnesses describe the Chupacabra’s appearance in two distinct ways:
In Puerto Rico, the Chupacabra is described as a bipedal reptilian creature with bright red eyes, green or grey scales, and sharp spines protruding down its back. Standing roughly three to four feet tall, the cryptid hops similar to a kangaroo. The Puerto Rican version illustrates a sci-fi or alien-like creature.
In Texas, the dog-like Chupacabra runs on all four legs. Featuring a visible spine and no spikes, it is said to look more like a hairless canine or creepy wild dog.
The two versions do have some similarities. Both creatures boast pronounced fangs and claws, allowing them to easily attack livestock and drain the blood out of their prey without eating the carcass.
The first eyewitness, Madelyne Tolentino, reported a Chupacabra sighting in Puerto Rico in 1995, sparking several similar sightings throughout the island. Additionally, recent sightings stretch from northern Mexico to the southern United States, specifically the Texas area. A typical Chupacabra sighting depends more on activity than appearance. While Texas and Puerto Rican versions of the cryptid are different in their physical descriptions, both accounts are adamant about the beast’s willingness to drain its prey’s blood without consuming the remains.
Chupacabras aren’t, however, specific to one location. There have been reports of this creature as far north as Maine, as far east as the Carolinas, and as far west as California. Chupacabra sightings extend beyond the United States as well. Reports have popped up in Russia, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, and a plethora of other countries in Central and South America.
This is a difficult creature to track, as many of these reports aren’t eyewitness accounts and come simply from odd, blood-draining attacks on livestock. Based on the information provided throughout the years, it is most likely that the Chupacabra lives throughout much of the world but is the most densely populated in Puerto Rico, the southern United States, and Mexico.
It’s possible that the Chupacabra is a new, unidentified animal species. New animals are being discovered on a yearly basis. In fact, over 18,000 new plant and animal species were identified in 2016. Currently, animals found and labeled as Chupacabras show DNA from coyotes and wolves, but none of them have been formally identified. The cryptid could be related to other canines, but as a new species with slightly different characteristics.
Mexican Hairless Dog
Some experts believe the Chupacabra is a Mexican hairless dog, or Xoloitzcuintle (Xolo). This theory is based on the sightings in Texas, as the Xolo is known for its hairless, wrinkled skin and dental abnormalities, making its appearance similar to that of the Chupacabra reports in the longhorn state.
The major flaw in this theory is the temperament of the breed. The Mexican hairless dog is typically cheerful and calm. While it can be protective at times, brutally massacring livestock would be a great abnormality. Even if aggressive, there is no explanation regarding the bloodless victims. One of the most frequent characteristics of Chupacabra attacks is that the blood is sucked out its quarry.
One of the most popular theories suggests the Chupacabra is a diseased canid, or member of the dog family, including domesticated dogs, coyotes, and wolves. These animals are often infected with mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites that burrow into the animal’s skin or settle in their hair follicles, which commonly results in excessive hair loss.
Mites also weaken animals, making it difficult for canids in the wild to hunt for food. If starved, a diseased canid might attack caged livestock rather than chasing more difficult prey through the forest or desert. If in a weakened state, animals with mange could struggle to quickly kill their prey, which explains why the Chupacabra leaves the bodies of its prey bloodless with only teeth marks. Diseased canids struggling to secure a kill might leave their victims to bleed out and die from blood loss.
There are still questions to be answered, though. Why would a canid with mange attack multiple animals in the same vicinity if it is unable to finish the kill? How would it attack so many animals without its original victim dying, and the attacker feeding on the carcass? The Chupacabra seems to be too aggressive and precise to be diseased and starving.
Madelyne Tolentino first reported seeing the Chupacabra in August 1995, only one month after the sci-fi film Species was released. In 2011, Benjamin Radford suggested that Tolentino, influenced by the movie, created a real creature based on Sil, a character with Chupacabra-like characteristics.
Tolentino confirmed that she saw the movie prior to seeing the Chupacabra in real life, but insists that the creature she saw in Species was not the same as the one she saw in Puerto Rico.
Furthering the possibility of a hoax, none of the early attacks were confirmed by necropsy or a post-mortem examination. This would be the only way to definitively determine if the victims were completely drained of their blood.
Failed Government Experiment
The idea of “super soldiers,” or Captain America-like creatures, has been considered for quite some time. It’s possible these soldiers could come in the form of a non-human animal.
Chupacabras are often thought of as failed government experiments that escaped U.S. military facilities in Puerto Rico. These genetically-modified war machines would be stealthy and able to kill quickly without a struggle or mess.
For example, consider the coyote. Through genetics, it could’ve been given scales and spikes down its back for protection in battle and larger fangs for increased killability. Or, consider the vampire bat. It could’ve been enlarged, given scales, and provided better motor functions. If the Chupacabra could fly, it would explain why it is so difficult to capture, and the vampire bat feasts exclusively on blood. A more likely scenario, the cryptid could be a genetically-modified hybrid of the coyote and vampire bat.
Throughout history, plenty of mysterious UFO sightings have been reported in Puerto Rico. Some eyewitnesses claim that UFOs crashed in Puerto Rico and the U.S. government hid them in secret underground locations. The aliens in these crashes might’ve been Chupacabras. It’s unknown if they were able to escape the crash at the scene or after being put into military custody. Regardless, as highly intelligent beings, they could’ve caused a tremendous amount of damage to livestock throughout the world.
A second other-worldly theory is that Chupacabras are the test subjects of aliens known as Greys. They could’ve been sent to explore the universe for the Greys, which is an idea not so far-fetched. Humans have sent animals into space before. Or, Greys could’ve brought the Chupacabras here as a war tactic. They might have left them to ravage the earth, killing livestock, other animals, and potentially humans.
The first Chupacabra sighting came in August 1995, reported by Madelyn Tolentino and outlined in the “Chupacabra’s Origin” section of this index. Unfortunately, sightings are difficult to pin down because the cryptid is typically never physically seen. Rather, reports of dead, bloodless livestock are credited as Chupacabra attacks.
In 2007, Phylis Canion found 28 lifeless chickens on her ranch in Cuero, Texas, drained of their blood. She later found a mysterious creature on the side of the road, which is now typically referred to as a “blue-skinned dog.” Some believe this animal is a Chupacabra. Canion had the creature’s DNA tested before stuffing it for preservation purposes. The DNA test results were inconclusive, but coyote DNA appeared on the maternal side and Mexican wolf DNA on the paternal side. Since this incident, these “blue dogs” have been reported in the Texas and Oklahoma areas, but none have been captured.
In 2014, an eyewitness reported an unknown creature with similar features to the Chupacabra sighted near Houston, Texas. Despite being captured on film, experts could not identify it and concluded that it was a type of canine but did not go into more detail.
In 2017, A man captured a photo of the Chupacabra in Santee, S.C., while playing a round of golf. The creature in the photo has not been properly identified, and there are currently plenty of theories surrounding its specification.
Sightings and reports occur all over the world, but capturing photographic or video proof of the creature has been relatively rare. The sightings above include physical evidence of some Chupacabra-like creatures, but none have been officially confirmed.
Pop Culture References
In Search of Monsters featured the Chupacabra in the sixth episode of its first season in 2019.
Although not depicted as many would expect, in Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, Jamie Camil voiced Mr. Chupacabra.
In 2003, Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico features a creature that the locals call “El Chupacabra.”
Monsters and Mysteries in America featured the Chupacabra in the first episode of its second season.
During the 11th episode of The X-Files’s fourth season, “El Mundo Gira,” Mulder and Scully spend their time searching for the Chupacabra.
South Park created a parody episode involving the Chupacabra, “Jewpacabra.” In the 2012 episode, Eric Cartman claims that a Jewish Chupacabra kills children on Easter.
Grimm’s eighth episode of its fourth season, “Chupacabra,” features a hunt to find a blood-sucking monster in Portland, Ore. This episode was the show’s midseason finale in 2014.
The Chupacabra spawns in Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare after the player reaches Rank 5 in the “Undead Hunter” challenges. It is found in the fields northwest of Torquemada.
The Chupacabra, or Chupacabratch, is found hiding near a monastery in Borderland 3.
The Chupacabra saw global fame when Phylis Canion, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, claimed to have captured the cryptid.
Magic: The Gathering released an expansion in 2018 that features the Rivals of Ixalan. In this expansion, one card is labeled “Ravenous Chupacabra.”
The Chupacabra was one of many cryptids featured in Cryptozoic Entertainment’s Cryptkins blind box toy line in 2018.
“2 Gringos Chupacabra Rub” is a blend of spices, including chili peppers, garlic, and brown sugar.