[Image courtesy; The Mythical Creatures Bible, by Brenda Rosen, 2010]
Have the goats in your village been found dead and drained completely of blood? No? Mine either... None the less, the Chupacabra (literally meaning goat-sucker in Spanish) has been blamed for the deaths of livestock throughout the United States and South America and it is being hunted, photographed and stalked by cryptozoologists as we speak!
What interests me about this beastie is that it is a relatively new mythological being, having been first sited around 1995 [Wiki reference]. Its 'newness' puts the Chupacabra more into the category of a Cryptid, rather than a mythological creature. This simply means that the creatures existence is apparently possible, but unsupported by scientific or physical evidence. In time, however, though it may take hundreds of years, the Chupacabra will most likely weave itself into the mythology of the area and truly become a real mythological beast (how's that for an outrageous oxymoron?!)
Descriptions of the beast seem to take two main forms. The first is the image above - more alien with large red eyes, grey/green leathery skin, spines, vampiric tendencies and an unpleasant sulphurous odour. The second description (and the one you'll see a lot of if you Google the beast) is of a dog-like creature with leathery skin, sharp teeth, spines down its vertebra, red eyes, a bad smell and very long hind legs.
Now let it be said, I personally do not believe in the Chupacabra as a cryptid. The sad images that are scattered over the web of captured/dead Chupacabras are, in my opinion, starving coyotes or dogs suffering acute immuno-supressed sarcoptic or demodectic mange. This condition results in significant hair loss and the itchy infected skin can look remarkably like leather, though is actually soft to touch. Additionally, the condition can affect the dogs eating, and in the case of wild dog, they may simply be too itchy to hunt. This would result in prominent spine bones and receded gums giving the impression of longer than usual teeth. Finally, if the poor animal is really starving, the resultant muscle wastage would make the hind legs appear somewhat longer than the forelegs.
My own dog suffered for years with immuno-suppressed demodectic mange and at times, despite multiple (not to mention expensive!) prolonged medical treatments, he really resembled the Chupacabra... So my heart goes out to the dogs in those images. Thankfully now at 15 years of age, my dog (aptly named Lazarus), is mange free but completely demented!
[Lazarus Wally Troublebucket aka "Lazi the bru" age 15, 20/04/11]
Still, the Chupacabra remains intriguing because of its alleged vampiric tendencies, rumored strength, and stealth. Due to this and the fact I love researching unusual beasts, I've decided to use it in my third (and final) installment of the Magical Series, "Magical Redemption" (working title). I've chosen to follow the more dog-like version of the beast as for some unknown reason, I find the alien-like one just hard envision. My Chupacabras are strong, tenacious and intelligent, and their leathery skin is hard and tough. I wanted something that I could pair against a Hellcat- and for that I'd need a whole a pack of Chupacabras. It promises to be a hell of a showdown anyway! So I'd better stop blogging and get writing...