As a follow-up to my previous article on the issue of the winged Chupacabra, I figured I would address the related theory that I have heard from quite a few people on Puerto Rico. Namely, that the Chupacabras of Puerto Rico are really giant bats. Norka is a woman who encountered - in 1975, in Puerto Rico's El Yunque rain-forest - a creature that somewhat resembled a huge bat. I had the good fortune to personally interview Norka in the summer of 2004, when I was there with a crew from the SyFy Channel.
That Norka noted on several occasions the bat-like appearance of the creature led to serious consideration - on the part of the TV team - that maybe at least some encounters were caused by encounters with huge bats. That Puerto Rico is home to a large population of bats is not a matter of any doubt at all. In fact, “large” is an understatement of epic proportions. For example, Cucaracha Cave alone – which is situated south of the city of Aquadilla, in the Cordillera Jaicoa – is home to quite literally hundreds of thousands of bats. Roughly seventy-five percent of them are Jamaican long-tongue bats, while the remainder is comprised of the imaginatively and colorfully named sooty mustache bats and Antillean ghost-faced bats.
Taking into consideration the huge number of additional caves that exist throughout the island, one soon begins to realize just how incredibly widespread the bat is on Puerto Rico - a place I love and which I have often thought about moving to. One day! Problematic is the fact that the bats of Puerto Rico are nowhere near the size of the beast encountered by Norka, all those years ago. But, was it possible, I wondered, that Puerto Rico had in its midst other kinds of bats, ones of a truly monstrous type that had yet to be formally classified? That was the controversial question dominating my mind in 2004.
On this latter point of Puerto Rico's bats, it's worth noting that the Camuy River Cave Park (so named after the municipality of Camuy, situated north of mountainous Lares) is comprised of almost eleven miles of caverns, and more than 200 caves. Skilled cavers have opined that to this day the park is home to more than a few caves which very likely still remained untouched, and lacking in investigation, by anyone. But what of the possibility of an unknown type of bat, one with a body-length somewhere in the region of four to five feet, living, breeding and feeding in distinctly stealthy fashion on Puerto Rico? Was it truly feasible? If so, might occasional sightings of the beasts be responsible for the legends of those deadly creatures that had become known as the chupacabras?
There are large bats out there, but they certainly don’t reach the scale of the creature encountered by Norka. Take, for example, the giant, golden-crowned flying fox (otherwise known as the golden-capped fruit bat). This impressively proportioned beast has a wingspan that can, incredibly, reach five and a half feet. And that makes for a hell of a big bat!
There are a couple of problems, however. First, the flying fox in question lives exclusively in the Philippines and dines on fruit, and not on copious amounts of goat blood – or, in fact, on the blood of anything. Second, despite its impressive wingspan, the creature does not have a particularly large body, and certainly not one anywhere near the size of a small human, as Norka had suggested was the case in her encounter. Vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) do partake of blood and voraciously so – to the extent that close to two million livestock lose their lives to these real-life bloodsuckers every single year. The deaths are not, however, due to the bodies of the animals being systematically drained of blood. The cause, chiefly, is disease spread by the bat as it feeds on its prey, with rabies and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis leading the pack.
It's very important to note, too, that I have investigated many cases of Chupacabra attacks on farm animals on Puerto Rico. And, despite the varied rumors, I have never, ever found any evidence to support even one case of blood-draining or blood-sucking on the part of the mysterious attackers. Yes, there certainly are a lot of rumors of massive amounts of blood drained from farm animals on Puerto Rico, but trying to confirm such rumors has proved to be 100 percent unsuccessful. So, in conclusion, while I don't think there are giant-sized bats lurking in the caves of Puerto Rico, at least some people have reported seeing something that - superficially, at least - resembles a bat. But, the resemblance is simply that and nothing else - which means we still have a mystery to solve.