Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010: Past Posts and Chupacabras: All Hispanic Cultures Are the Same?

Previous geographic-ish Halloween Posts:

Chupacabra means "goat sucker."  In the mid-1990s stories of a weird bipedal creature in Puerto Rico draining the blood of livestock started making news.  The strange creature could best be described as a "grey alien" with a mohawk.  Incidents of this creature's alleged attacks peaked near 2000 and have slowly lowered in amount since then.

In the mid-2000s there was another peak of "chupacabras" attacks occurred in Texas and other parts of the American Southwest.  These attacks were done by dog-like creatures.  In fact, CNN acquired video of the southwestern chupacabra.  The animal really does look like a dog.

Now it turns out that the southwestern chupacabra is in fact a Canis animal.  According to scientific studies done on the bodies of shot Southwestern chupacabras (if you want to prove a cryptid exists there is no better way then shooting it), these creatures are really coyotes with the mite called sarcoptes scabiei.  These mites traditionally attack humans and domesticated dogs and only recently (biological time scale) jumped to coyotes.  The mites' infection causes these coyotes to lose their hair and become so weak that they are forced to hunt domesticated animals.

There is an oddity though.  These coyotes look nothing like the Puerto Rican chupacabras.  They also are known to leave full mouth bite marks unlike the vampire-like marks known in Puerto Rico.  So why is the term used for both creatures?  After doing side research the only conclusion I can reach is that Southwestern ranchers and media were unable to describe the creature and therefore looked for something equivalent.  The American Southwest has a strong Mexican-based Hispanic cultural heritage so the media picked up on the Puerto Rican monster because Puerto Rico has a Hispanic-based culture.  Basically, it was thought that Mexican and Puerto Rican cultures were close enough.  So these two different types of creatures, one a coyote and one possibly made up, are combined into one legend.

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