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The Chupacabra is a creature resembling a living gargoyle and said to exist in parts of Latin America (mainly Mexico). The Chupacabra is also reported to have been seen by multiple eye-witnesses in Calaveras County, California. According to these reports, the creature was sighted for the first time in the early to middle 1990s, harming animals of different species.

Translated literally from Spanish as "goat-sucker" (compare with chotacabras, the nightjar), the chupacabra is said to attack small livestock and drink their blood. Descriptions of this creature vary, and no one has produced undisputable evidence of its existence.

Some believe the chupacabra myth is a product of "mass hysteria", while others feel this is a weak explanation for the real dead animals resulting from the creature's unexplained attacks. There are eye-witness accounts dating back many years.

A famous appearance in the city of Varginha in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, is often attributed to the chupacabra. However, regarding this particular incident, most people associate the being with an unidentified extraterrestrial rather than a chupacabra, since no attack was reported. See Varginha incident for more details. A few pictures, which may be hoaxes, exist of the Chupacabra.

The legend of El Chupacabras, as it is known in Spanish, began in about 1992, when Puerto Rican newspapers El Vocero and El Nuevo Dia began reporting the killings of many different types of animals, such as birds, horses, and, as its name implies, goats. At the time it was known as El Vampiro de Moca since some of the first killings occurred in the small town of Moca. While at first it was suspected that the killings were done randomly by some members of a satanic cult, eventually these killings spread around the island, and many farms reported loss of animal life. The killings had one pattern in common: Each of the animals found dead had two punctured holes around their necks.

Some witnesses reported seeing a small, dark green figure around the areas of the killings, giving police and news reporters the feeling that the chupacabras could, in fact, be an extra-terrestrial figure.

Soon after the animal deaths in Puerto Rico, other animal deaths began being reported in other countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, the United States and most notably, Mexico. Both in Puerto Rico and Mexico, El Chupacabras gained urban legend status. Chupacabra stories began to be released several times at American and Hispanic newscasts across the United States, and chupacabra merchandise, such as t-shirts and baseball hats, were sold.

It is possible that the animal deaths could have been produced by satanic worshippers or by disease. Neither this theory, nor the theory that it is an extraterrestrial or an entirely separate species, has been proven.

Certain South American rain forest natives believe in the "mosquito-man", a mythical creature of their folklore that pre-dates modern chupacabra sightings. The "mosquito-man" sucks the blood from animals through his long nose, like a big mosquito. Some say mosquito-man and chupacabra are the same.

In July of 2004, a rancher near San Antonio, Texas, killed a hairless, dog-like creature (the Elmendorf Creature) that was attacking his livestock. As of yet, no one has been able to determine just what the creature is. Testing of the bones is underway at a university in California. In October of 2004, two animals which closely resemble the Elmendorf creature were observed in the same area. The first was dead, and the second was noticed by a local zoologist who was called to identify the animal while she was travelling to the location where the first was found.

Chupacabras are said to prominently appear in three specific forms. The first and most common: a lizard-like being, appearing to have leathery/scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back. It stands approximately 3-4 feet high, and stands/hops in a similar fashion as a kangaroo (in at least one sighting, the creature hopped 20 feet). This variety is said to have a dog or panther-like nose and face, a forked tongue protruding from it, large fangs, and is said to hiss and screech when alarmed, as well as to leave a sulfuric stench behind.

The second variety also stands/hops as a kangaroo, and it has coarse fur with greyish facial hair. The head is similar to a dog's, and its mouth has large teeth.

The third form is simply that of a strange breed of wild dog that is mostly hairless, has a pronounced spinal ridge, unusually pronounced eye sockets, teeth, and claws, but is otherwise a typical canine. This animal is said to be the result of interbreeding between several populations of wild dogs, though enthusiasts claim that it might be an example of an extinct dog-like reptile. The account during the year 2000 in Nicaragua of a Chupacabra corpse being found supports the conclusion that it is simply a strange breed of wild dog. The alleged corpse of the animal was found in Tolapa, Nicaragua, and forensically analyzed at UNAN-Leon. Pathologists at the University found that it was just a dog; albeit a little unusual looking one. It should be noted that there are very striking morphological differences between different breeds of dogs (which wild dogs are generally descended from) that easily account for the strange characteristics of such an animal.

Witnesses claim some chupacabras are covered with black hair, have red eyes, a bulbous head, and bat-like wings. Sometimes they crawl on all fours, and other times they stand erect (like prairie dogs do). They are very quick, can climb well, and usually run away when seen. Some say their eyes have the ability to hypnotize and paralyze their prey—the prey animal is mentally stunned. This allows the chupacabra to suck the animal's blood at its leisure. The effect is similar to a snake or spider that stuns its prey with venom. The chupacabra sucks all the animal's blood (and sometimes organs) through a single hole or two holes, unlike other predators that tear the corpse apart.

The creature is known as both "Chupacabra" and "Chupacabras" throughout the Americas, although the plural is not the same as the singular. The "Chupacabra" form relates to an attack on a single goat, while the "Chupacabras" form relates to attacks to several goats. Both forms are accepted and used everywhere.

The name can be preceded by the masculine definite article ("El Chupacabras"), which means roughly "The goat-sucker" in Spanish. It is considered grammatically correct, despite the common mistake of thinking "Chupacabras" is necessarily plural. Compound expressions such as this often include a term in the plural, even when the phrase is in the singular. Examples from the Spanish language include "correcaminos" ("road-runner"), "lavapiés" ("feet washing", a ceremony of the Catholic Church included in the preparation for Easter) and others.

Such phrases end in "s" because the second term is already in the plural and have no distinct plural form, except for the change of every other term of the sentence referring to them. Example: El chupacabras apareció ("the goat-sucker appeared"), los chupacabras aparecieron ("the goat-suckers appeared", plural).

However, to conform with the grammatical rules of the Brazilian Portuguese, the correct name of the beast would be "Chupa-cabras", with a hyphen.

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