“The Mystery of the Chupacabra” on MonsterQuest



The Chupacabra is one of those classic cryptic creatures whose supposed existence has been covered on a variety of programs since the 1990’s when reports of unexplained and unusual livestock killings first came in from Puerto Rico.  The new limited run MonsterQuest series recently took a fresh look at Chupacabra activity primarily in Texas and Puerto Rico, although reports have also come in from such places as Chile, Nicaragua, and even from such far-flung locations as Russia. 

The creature has appearances described differently in Puerto Rico and Texas, with the Puerto Rican variety related to be a bipedal creature standing on its hind legs with lizard-like skin, having a body somewhat like a kangaroo, and standing 4-1/2 to 5 feet tall with but three digits on each hand and foot.  The beast as seen in Texas and other American states is essentially a canid in appearance, dog-like but having hairless or almost hairless skin and rather wicked fangs.  Both variants of the creature are known for leaving puncture-type wounds on their kills, and usually leaving the flesh of victims intact but drained of blood.  Animals killed have included chickens, rabbits, and goats, with the name meaning “goat sucker.”

Now MonsterQuest was rather limited in the scope of its direct investigations in Puerto Rico, but sent two investigators to Cuero, Texas where Phyllis Cannion had numerous chickens killed, disturbingly found with their flesh intact but the bodies drained of blood.  The head of a road-killed specimen suspected of being a Chupacabra was also preserved by the rancher, showing unusual skin; samples were sent out for DNA analysis. 

MonsterQuest’s investigators included a wildlife expert and a cryptozoologist, who set out a steel cage trap baited with blood-soaked meat, later adding a live chicken to the cage and spraying coyote urine about as an additional attractant.  A number of camera traps were also set about in the hopes of catching an image of the elusive Chupacabra.  Well, the bait was taken, but only a possum was caught in the cage; camera traps had bait taken, and a pole was scratched where coyote urine was sprayed.  The failure to catch anything resembling a Chupacabra left only hair samples for analysis reportedly gleaned from sites of attacks in Puerto Rico, as well as skin samples from the Cuero unidentified creature.

DNA from the hair sample was a match for a domestic dog, whereas the skin sample from Cuero suggested a canine hybrid with coyote and wolf markers.  The only conclusion that could be reached from the available evidence was that the Chupacabra, at least the Texas variety, was either a hybrid from mixed breeding, or perhaps a mutant species.  The hairless, scabby skin appearances may be attributed to sarcoptic mange, and dogs have been known to bite prey animals on the neck, leaving puncture wounds and not consuming flesh.  Blood is not absent, but simply pools in the lower parts of the victim’s body when death causes blood pressure to cease and heart action to stop.

There wasn’t a whole lot of new information in this MonsterQuest episode, but rather repackaged stuff coupled with a failed investigation; it left me feeling oddly unsatisfied, and wanting more.  Chupacabra has been termed, “the first internet monster,” taking on a life of its own and shaped by misinterpretations and fed by a wealth of unreliable first hand witness accounts and hysteria.  Still, Sarcoptic Mange would be a great name for a metal band!


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4 Comments on ““The Mystery of the Chupacabra” on MonsterQuest”

  1. carycomic Says:

    Methinks the Tex-Mex Chupacabra is a folkloric confusion/hybridization/amalgamation of the Puerto Rican original with Southwestern Native American legends of the lycanthropoid skin-walker! Perhaps (repeat: PERHAPS) resulting from Mexican nationals being trafficked via Puerto Rico instead of directly across the post-9/11 border; and telling ghost stories to keep the children they bring with them calm and under control?

    Liked by 1 person

    • carycomic Says:

      Btw: TCM recently telecast the Hammer Films version of THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES starring Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes. A surprisingly faithful adaptation (for the most part)!

      The dog trained by the Chief Bad Guy looked to be a bloodhound/Great Dane mix. With some kind of rubber fright mask affixed to it for added effect.

      Liked by 1 person

    • vulpesffb Says:

      I’ve also read that one of the original Puerto Rican reporters of the Chupacabra had recently seen the movie “Species,” and that the description she gave of the creature had similarities to the monster in the film; alien appearance, spines on the back, etc.!

      Liked by 1 person

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