Sep 21, 2010 I Micah Hanks

Chupacabras: A Case of Cryptid Misidentification?

Various locations throughout the southern portions of America have been host to strange encounters with mystery beasts, many of them resembling strange dog-like hybrids with peculiar, reptilian characteristics.

Several of these critters have been identified as foxes and coyotes suffering from a skin condition such as mange, and the prevalence of such creatures in recent years has led many to use their existence as a solution to the mystery of so-called "chupacabras," strange creatures believed to have accosted livestock in locales as far south as Puerto Rico and Latin America for decades.

The problem with calling these creatures "chupacabras," however, is that early reports of the creatures stemming from Puerto Rico detailed a creature that was far more "alien" in appearance, and had no resemblance to canines of any sort. Addressing this point, I recently received an email from my colleague Nick Redfern, who after having studied reports of alleged chupacabra creatures in America and off the U.S. mainland, feels confident that the initial reports were of something far removed from the mangy mutts seen in America today.

Here's Nick to explain a bit more about the cryptid confusion going on:

As you'll know for a decade and a half, stories have come out of Puerto Rico of the Chupacabras, and in the last couple of years the story of the so-called "Texas Chupacabras" has surfaced too.

Well, I'm being asked more and more on radio and TV shows, how has the Chupacabrs migrated from Puerto Rico to Texas? The answer is that it hasn't! Despite many people assuming these are the same creatures, they're not at all. Rather, it's just the term "Chupacabras" that has been applied to both beasts by the media, for the most part.

Writing in his weekly "Lair of the Beasts" column at Mania, Nick recently drew from his years of research into the vampiric chupacabra phenomenon to help further disseminate the rumors that what were once described as scaly diminutive humanoids could be the same "chupacabras" seen in places like Texas today. "In most cases, the Chupacabras of Puerto Rico are described as bipedal creatures with large eyes, vicious claws and teeth, hairless monkey-like bodies, row of spikes running down the backs of their heads and necks--punk-rock Mohawk-style‚Äďand even, occasionally, sporting membranous bat-like wings," Nick says. "As for their mode of attack, most of the interviewees stated that the Chupacabras kill their prey by a bite to the neck and then proceeds to drink the blood."

Clearly, what Nick describes is a far cry from being a dog (and, no doubt, would elicit a loud cry upon appearance before frightened spectators). But this leaves us to question what they really are; some as-yet-undiscovered species, or perhaps the classic "mass hysteria" effect caused by collective unrest among the Puerto Rican islanders? For more on Nick Redfern's expert assessment on the matter, you can read his column in its entirety by clicking here. Also, if you've had your own weird encounters with a chupacabra or some other variety of blood-sucking alien being, feel free to share your stories in the comment section below.

Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, podcaster, and researcher whose interests cover a variety of subjects. His areas of focus include history, science, philosophy, current events, cultural studies, technology, unexplained phenomena, and ways the future of humankind may be influenced by science and innovation in the coming decades. In addition to writing, Micah hosts the Middle Theory and Gralien Report podcasts.

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