The legendary chupacabra: What exactly is it?

There is no shortage of mysterious creatures on our planet. In the case of some, evolution has sometimes made them look strange and even spooky to the human eye.

For example, the American starling (Condylura cristata) by the structure of its snout resembles a dangerous intruder from a distant galaxy. In turn, by its large eyes, similar to those that have aliens in science-fiction moviesThe Tarsiidae are also frightening mammals (Tarsiidae).Tamarina imperator (Saguinus imperator) looks like ancient Japanese emperors or Buddhist monks.

So why can’t there be a bloodthirsty beast that feeds on the blood of livestock?

In the footsteps of okapi

Theoretically, the existence of such an animal is possible. Feeding on the blood of other species is not unusual in the natural world. Mosquitoes, ticks, bats, leeches, are just some of the species whose food is blood. According to legends, the legendary chupacabra also belongs to this group.

Despite the development of science and technology, our planet is still not fully explored, and its biosphere may surprise you. In the past, there were many species considered to be on the cryptozoological spectrum, but their existence was later confirmed.

For example, the related giraffe okapi (Okapia johnstoni), a Tertiary creature forgotten by evolution, was not discovered until 1901. Until then, it was considered a mythical animal.

Reports of Indonesian dragons were ridiculed by many, but later they turned out to be dragons, or Komodo varans (Varanus komodoensis).

And what about the chupacabra? In this case, it is probably just a legend.

A phantom that actually feeds on blood!

As we know, vampires literally love blood. We are not talking about aristocrats who spend the day in a coffin and go out at night in search of a white girl’s neck in which to sink their sharp teeth.

The real bloodsuckers can be found among the bats. They feed on the blood of mostly warm-blooded animals, primarily birds, but the bat called the common vampire prefers the blood of mammals.

South American farmers eradicate them because the species often attacks grazing cattle. The common vampire bat selects the best place to bite on the body of its prey thanks to receptors located around the nostrils. Then it cuts with its very sharp teeth and licks off the blood that flows down.

Since blood has a low energy value, the animal must drink a considerable amount. At the same time, it gains weight, so afterwards it is difficult for it to get airborne. After meals, it spends the day hiding in tree hollows, caves and other hiding places.

Unusual in common vampires is that, similarly to eg. Walruses care for orphaned individuals.

America and Europe

Reports of the chupacabra originally came from the American continent, but later the creatures were allegedly seen in the Carpathian Mountains, Portugal, and even the abandoned area of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where it likely mutated because it had four rows of teeth. Descriptions of the chupacabra’s appearance vary widely, and if they were assumed to be true, they could not possibly refer to the same animal. According to some witnesses, the creature is bipedal, while according to some of the earliest reports coming from Puerto Rico, the animal moves on four legs.

Characteristics of the chupacabra reportedly include hairless skin and sizable fangs. Some alleged sightings state that it can change skin color or that it has wings. Sometimes it is the size of a small dog, other times it can measure up to a bear. It is also said to have large human-like eyes.

The demon from Puerto Rico

The chupacabra is a relatively young phenomenon. It was first supposedly spotted in 1995 in Puerto Rico, at which time it was said to be the size of a small humanoid. According to local farmers, it was responsible for the deaths of several sheep, which it killed by sucking blood from them. Soon reports from Puerto Rico reached the rest of the American continent, through the United States, Mexico, into Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama to Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.

In some countries the chupacabra inspires great fear, while in others it is hunted. It has reportedly been photographed and even filmed several times. Several specimens have allegedly been caught, and a few have reportedly been found dead. How do scientists react to these types of “finds”?

Sick animal or monster?

Scabies is a very troublesome disease. It is caused by a mite, the stick scabies (Sarcoptes scabiei) and can occur in both humans and other mammals, such as dogs, cats, ungulates, cattle, wild boar, wombats, koalas, and some monkeys. One of the symptoms of this skin disease is hair loss. In the advanced stages of the disease, complete baldness occurs. All of the animals suspected of being representatives of the chupacabra species, which the scientists managed to examine, were diagnosed with scabies or other skin diseases. Most often it turned out that they were scabies-infected coyotes or dogs.

It is interesting that the already mentioned first reports about chupacabra to a very large extent coincide with descriptions of aliens from the film Mutantwhich was released shortly before the events in Puerto Rico. Also, the rumors of complete blood sucking cannot be true. A report prepared by veterinarians who examined the animals attacked by the chupacabra showed no such thing.

Coyote with scabies

In 2010, biologist Barry O ́Connor of the University of Michigan conducted a study on the prevalence of chupacabra in the United States. All the animals he came in contact with turned out to be coyotes sick with scabies. Sick and weakened predators did not have the strength to hunt wild game, so their prey was farm animals. It is easier for a sick animal to attack animals in an enclosure than to chase a deer or a hare, adds O ́Connor.

Most likely, the chupacabra is just a myth. However, this does not mean that we have already learned about all species of animals or plants living on Earth. Every year scientists discover new species. And one can only guess how many of them will become extinct before we manage to learn anything about them.

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