A rancher and a sheriff in Fort Hood, Texas, made headlines this week when they found and killed an odd, “real ugly” beast. Animal experts will analyze the carcass to determine what exactly it is, but the two men are convinced they have bonafide evidence of the legendary chupacabra.
Chupar is Spanish “to suck” and cabra is “goat.” The curious name stems from the first reported sighting, 1995 in Puerto Rico. Sheep were reportedly entirely drained of blood, with puncture marks on each victim. Later, 150 pets and farm animals were allegedly found dead in similar fashion in one Puerto Rican town.
Puerto Rican celebrity Silverio Pérez apparently coined the name. Descriptions of the creature are vaguely reptilian, and some say that it hops like a kangaroo. Less exotic accounts compare it to a funny-looking canine.
The past decade has been a busy one for the purported cross between a vampire and a pooch. Sightings are frequent, especially in the Southwestern United States, but witnesses claim encounters across North, South and Latin America, even in Russia. The buzz around the monster makes it one of the most sensational subjects for the field of cryptozoology, “the study of evidence tending to substantiate the existence of, or the search for, creatures whose reported existence is unproved.”
Cryptozoologists pursue more than just monsters; serious investigators pursue living specimens of creatures thought to be extinct. One actual example is the okapi, “an African mammal, closely related to and resembling the giraffe, but smaller and with a much shorter neck.” So take heart, fans of fantastic fauna; the most plausible candidate for the Loch Ness Monster is a plesiosaur, an aquatic dinosaur that was once very real (and scary.)
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