Thechupacabras(Spanish pronunciation: [tʃupaˈkaβɾas], fromchupar"to suck" andcabra"goat", literally "goat sucker") is alegendarycryptidrumored to inhabit parts of theAmericas. It is associated more recently with sightings of an allegedly unknown animal inPuerto Rico(where these sightings were first reported), Mexico, and the United States, especially in the latter'sLatin Americancommunities.The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood oflivestock, especiallygoats.
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 asMaine, and as far south asChile. 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.
In July 2010, an animal was killed and reported to be a chupacabra, but found to be acoyotewith a severe parasite infection. In October of that year,University of Michiganscientists theorised that parasite-riddled coyotoes (specifically the parasites responsible forscabiesandmange) were likely the basis for the chupacabra legend.