Chupacabras, from chupar “to suck” and cabra “goat”, literally “goat sucker”, is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal in Puerto Rico (where these sightings were first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter’s Latin American communities. The name comes from the animal’s reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.
Physical descriptions of the creature vary. Eyewitness sightings have been claimed as early as 1995 in Puerto Rico, and have since been reported as far north as Maine, and as far south as Chile, and even being spotted outside the Americas in countries like Russia and The Philippines. It is supposedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail.
Biologists and wildlife management officials view the chupacabras as a contemporary legend.
In July 2010, an animal was killed and reported to be a chupacabra, but found to be a coyote with a severe parasite infection. In October of that year, University of Michigan scientists theorized that parasite-riddled coyotes (specifically the parasites responsible for scabies and mange) were likely the basis for the chupacabra legend.