Back in the mid-1990s, when reports of the infamous Chupacabra surfaced on Puerto Rico, the creature was largely described as bipedal, with red eyes, claws, fangs, and in a number of cases, bat-like wings. I know that, as I have been to Puerto Rico on 9 occasions, and I have had the opportunity to interview many of the original witnesses, and even more latter-day witnesses, too. Of course, any mention of the Chupacabra today provokes imagery of the so-called "Texas Chupacabra." It's an animal which is definitely not a Chupacabra, but a hairless coyote, albeit one not without a few odd, physical anomalies attached to it.
On this issue, and from time to time, I'm asked something along the lines of, "Has the original Chupacabra, and not the coyote-version, been seen in North America?" Well, that depends on how we interpret the evidence which is currently available to us. Although the legendary Chupacabra – that bat-like beast which caused so much mayhem two decades ago - is most associated with the island of Puerto Rico, there are indications that it, or at least something very much like it, has made its way to Florida. Perhaps.
In April 2007, I wrote a blog-post titled "Chupacabras Under the Spotlight." It was posted to my There’s Something in the Woods blog and prompted a reply from a source using the blogging alias of "Mac the Knife." He told a very strange story of having encountered not just one strange animal, but a pair of them. According to Mac:
"I find the possibility of chupacabras particularly interesting, as it is the cryptid I may have gotten a brief glance at. During the Florida drought of 2001 I lived on a farm with my ex-wife. Many of the trees were in great distress because of the heat and dry conditions. One had nearly fallen over on my house. In an effort to help cool and water them I was out spraying down their trunks during the hottest part of the day. I was using a pressure nozzle with some real power."
It was this particular activity that apparently provoked the two creatures to surface from the depths of their hidden lair, as Mac revealed: "At one point the stream went into an open cavity and out popped two very unhappy looking creatures the like of which I have never seen before. Rather large, especially given the size of the hole they emerged from, about three feet long, they gave much the appearance of a primate and moved like one. Their shoulder looked strong even bulky. They had flat faces, and I remember they seemed to be squinting against the light. Most curious of all, from their arms to their legs stretched a thick membrane much like a bat. They were startlingly white."
Mac continued: "It could be said that these were just a large albino bat, in and of itself that would be quite a sighting. However, the largest bat in North America is called The Western Mastiff bat which in the US is only found in southern California, and the body of which is only a foot and a half long. Honestly, as someone who has studied wildlife science, the size of the wings doesn't seem large enough to carry a creature of that size. Is that a chupacabra? I don't know. But it was something. It was not an opossum, as there was no gray in the fur, no naked tail, and it moved completely differently. The sighting didn't last long."
He concluded: "I remember feeling bad for them actually, as though I had disturbed their privacy. I got the impression they were either siblings or a mated pair. They gave off no sense of menace or evil. Strangely, I did feel as though they were sentient somehow, different than just an animal, and their heads were quite large, with the rounded, side mounted ears of a primate. It's just strange. I looked for them after that, but never saw them again."
Chupacabra? Bats? Your guess is as good as mine.