Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Alexis. Alexis Wonders, “Who created the myth of the chupacabra” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Alexis!

Have you ever gone for a walk in the woods late at night? If so, we hope you kept an eye out for a monster in the shadows. What is it? El Chupacabra, of course!

El Chupacabra got its name from the Spanish words chupar (“to suck”) and cabra (“goat”). This mythical monster supposedly lives in parts of Puerto Rico and Mexico. It’s also been reported in the continental United States. Believers in El Chupacabra say the monster acts like a vampire. They claim it drinks the blood of livestock.

What does El Chupacabra look like? That depends upon whom you ask! Some say it’s a heavy creature about the size of a small bear. They describe a row of spikes along its back. They claim it hops like a kangaroo and has long fangs! Others say El Chupacabra is a much smaller wolf-like creature with no hair.

The first reported sightings of El Chupacabra were in Puerto Rico in 1995. In various villages, the creature was reportedly seen attacking livestock. People said it went after goats, sheep, and other farm animals and pets.

Over time, researchers decided that these accounts were unreliable. In fact, the descriptions of El Chupacabra were taken from a science-fiction movie called Species. Other reports of El Chupacabra sightings cropped up in the United States, though. These creatures were described as hairless, wolf-like animals. They were also said to attack livestock.

Researchers believe these sightings of El Chupacabra were actually dogs or coyotes with mange. This means the animals were infected with a parasite. As a result, they would lose their hair. They would also grow thicker skin and smell really bad.

Why would these animals attack livestock? Experts say they may have done so if they were sick and couldn’t hunt in the wild. Farm animals that are kept in pens or fenced areas are easier targets.

Despite scientists’ findings, rumors of El Chupacabra continue. Why? One reason is that urban legends are popular and fun to pass around. El Chupacabra will likely live on for many, many years. It will go on as long as it continues to fascinate people around the world, as stories of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster do.

Do you believe in El Chupacabra? How about other mysterious animals? What would you do if you spotted this creature while on a hike? Hopefully you’d snap a picture from a distance!

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day may seem flighty, but we think it’s a step in the right direction!