This will be a story about bias, culture and Cryptozoology. I am a skeptic, when it comes to all kinds of para-x claims, be it UFO, strange animals, paranormal psychic powers, god. Basically it’s: “Show me evidence and convince me!”. Anecdotes however can’t be any valuable evidence, as we will see.
And now we’re already in the middle of the story surrounding El Chupacabra, the “goat-sucker” as he could be translated to English.
Imagine you live in southern USA in the early 60s and imagine, you would find furthermore 8 sheep, bitten and sucked from their blood. Your answer or the one from people around you would likely have been: “Aliens!” It was contemporary bias at that time and quite big fashion. Until the 90s nobody ever reported a sighting of a strange animal, sucking goat blood and killing dozens of animals in just one night. That is until 1995 in Puerto Rico, where in March that year, 8 sheep were found dead, each with three punctured wounds in their chest and completely without blood. This was the beginning of a cultural hunt for an animal, that was never seen before.. and actually never really seen at all.
Being an object of Cryptozoology at its finest, the Chupacabra has been seen several times, everytime it looked different. Reptile, like a bear, like a dog, hopping like a cangoroo, standing on two feet, running on 4 feet, jumping as far as six meters, screeching and hissing, glowing red eyes and leaving behind a stench of sulfur. On all continents and in all times, there have been such creatures. Gnomes, Kobolds, Goblins, Fairies, Lebrechauns, Elves, Gremlins. Why are they all reported different?
Cause we are dealing with pure cultural bias here – a contemporary legend. The Chupacabra will disappear again soon, as did many weird imaginations in the past. A small rest of doubt however will stay in the culture from now on. There will be always people, that follow old cultural bias, as it happens with faeries in British realms or tree spirits in Yucatan.
The Chupacabra’s area of action became huge after just 15 years. Sightings have been reported in North-Eastern USA and in the South as far as Chile. That’s a substantial area for a legend.
So what could the Chupacabra really be? The specimen that were shot and seen are mostly Coyotes and Foxes, often infected with mange, parasitic mites. The poor animals even lost all their hair. Honestly, it would be very hard for me to determine a creature without the hair. Look at this poor animal:
What’s this? In America they would see a Chupacabra. In Eastern cultures, they think this is the (also) infamous Yeti.
What is it really? It’s a hairless civet – often called civet cat.
It’s very difficult to recognize the Civet without the fur, even though some obvious characteristics are the very same. You probably know Civets from another story. Those are the ‘cats’ that eat coffee beans, then ehrm ‘release’ them again, which makes them worth a lot of money. They are not really cats, they just resemble the appearance. And they are the probable source of the SARS virus in 2003.
While this is definitely not the Chupacabra, it shows us how strong something simple as Mange can confuse our conception of things, that we know very well. Further examples are to be seen on external pages: like a wolf and a dog. And even though I know, that a Chupacabra probably doesn’t exist, I will still be careful in the wilderness. A wild prairie dog with Mange may still be a danger and definitely a shock, when walking around the bushes.