An Urban Myth monster of Latin American origin, believed to suck the blood of livestock animals, especially goats (thus the name, which is Spanish for "Goatsucker"). Combines old Vampire Tropes with modern UFO mythology, by way of Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious.
The myth began in Puerto Rico during the 1970s. At the time, there was a rash of animal slayings, mostly farm animals that had bled to death. This caused some people to (halfway seriously) think some kind of vampiric creature was on the loose; it became known as "The Moca Vampire" (Moca being the town were the attacks started). The attacks eventually stopped as mysteriously as they had begun. The local yellow journals, of course, exploited them to the hilt.
Coincidentally, at the same time, similar unexplained cattle slayings were taking place in the southwestern United States. In their case, they gave rise to the urban legend of aliens stealing cattle for experimentation.
In the 1990s, the attacks started happening again on Puerto Rico. This time, people started calling the "monster" El Chupacabras, later shortened to just Chupacabra (supposedly, Silverio Perez of the comedy group Los Rayos Gama coined the name). A magazine called "Revista OVNI" (UFO Magazine) came up with the theory that the creature could have been created by aliens (likely inspired by the American cattle slayings theory). They also provided an artist's conception of what it looked like — showing a creature resembling a skinny, big eyed "Grey" type alien but with fangs, claws, scaly skin and a ridge of spines along the back. Despite having no actual evidence for any of this, people embraced it, and the current concept of the Chupacabra was born. The slayings were never officially resolved, though reportedly an American expert on animal attacks identified them as being caused by wild dogs, based on some pictures of the carcasses he saw.
The myth became surprisingly popular across Central and South America over the years, and even in the Southern United States, with people claiming to have actually seen the creature. Interestingly, it changed its appearance on its travels: in Latin countries, it's reported as being a bizarre red-eyed alien being with spines along its back, like the page image. In the US, they tend to take on the appearance of hairless dogs. It also has been featured on several TV shows and movies, effectively being treated as the Latin American equivalent of Bigfoot. Pop culture spread the chupacabra even further, with recent sightings as far as Russia.
The Chupacabra is sometimes known as the Chupacabras. This is in fact the original form of the name in Spanish; this type of compound word in Spanish (verb + noun) usually has the plural form of the noun (other examples: el abrelatas "the can opener", el sacapuntas "the pencil sharpener", el tocadiscos "the record player", el pisapapeles "the paperweight"). In 2010, corpses of quadrupedal "Chupacabra" were analyzed and revealed to be coyotes afflicted with mange, while the bipedal Chupacabra originated from Madelyne Tolentino, the eyewitness from the Puerto Rico cases, believing that the monster Sil from the science fiction horror film Species, which she had watched prior to making the report, was real.
Some examples of series that have made references to the Chupacabra:
- Azumanga Daioh: In the manga, when the girls are planning to go to the zoo to see real pandas instead of just pictures, Osaka thinks of something else she wants to see. When she remembers, what she says is translated as "the chupacabra". (The anime version of the same scene says something else, and the original version says she wanted to see her life flash before her eyes.)
- In Gintama, Otae inexplicably finds a cave swarming with chupacabras while the gang is lost in the mountains and in search of shelter from a snowstorm. She thinks it would be a good place to stay if they can beat all of them up, but everyone else is too creeped out by them to bother.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! references the Chupacabra once or twice. In the original, it was just theorized that it was a Chupacabra behind the vampire attacks. (In truth, it was Evangeline.) In the second animated series Negima!?, it became more of a Running Gag, ranging from a Chupacabra-based club being used as a cover for those who discovered Negi's secret and Asuna printing far too many Chupa-Tees to sell, to Negi being turned into a chupacabra as punishment for revealing magic to normal humans. Even in the Spring OVA, a small portion is spent on a Chupacabra hunt, and at the very end, a Chupacabra is seen watching the plane fly away. The Chupacabra shown here is much more comical than most versions, resembling more a spotted potato with fangs than anything else.
- In Occult Academy, Maya and the gang investigate mysterious cattle mutilations near their school. At first, they dismiss it as a bad-natured prank. The chupacabra eventually kidnap Ami, and it's up to the rest of the gang to save her.
- Rosario + Vampire, while not having any actual Chupacabra's, does have a main character named "Moka" that is a vampire, which is likely a case of Shown Their Work .
- Sgt. Frog: The Chupacabra is referred to by name, complete with a Recycled In Space variant called Space Chupacabra, but eating goats is never brought up — it's still considered as urban myth though, and the resident mythological-creature-hunter Alisa Southerncross goes after it — but gets curbstomped bigtime as it eats her surrogate father Nevula. Additionally, one episode featured a giant Chupacabra with a frill named Capras, a parody of a monster from Ultraman called Jirass whose design was simply another classic monster with a frill added — Godzilla.
- In the Touhou manga Touhou Suzunaan ~ Forbidden Scrollery, Remilia has a pet chupacabra which she initially believes is a tupai. Even after finding out the truth, she still thinks "Tupai" is cute.
- Paradox Press's The Big Book of the Unexplained explores the Chupacabra legends in depth, including their links to occultism, UFO culture and vampire folklore.
- The IDW graphic novel "Chicacabra" (written and drawn by Tom Beland who also did the above mentioned Fantastic Four story) is about a Puerto Rican girl named Izzy who finds an abandoned lab and gets merged with the last living Chupacabra (the rest were killed).
- DC Comics:
- In his New 52 mini-series, Bizarro is keeping a Chupacabra named Collin as a pet. As it turns out, he's an alien who lost his translator and he used to be a Green Lantern.
- In Young Justice, Impulse raced over to Puerto Rico to look for one after reading a cryptozoology book — lifting rocks and animals while calling out for it◊.
- Marvel Comics:
- In The Perhapanauts, a Monster Mash comic, the team's comic relief and somewhat Team Pet is Choopie, a intellectually enhanced chupacabra (though not that enhanced).
- Proof features a chupacabra as a recurring character. Its true form has never been seen, because its M.O. is to kill people and wear their skin.
- A Treehouse of Horror issue of The Simpsons featured one as a failed experiment by Professor Frink. After killing everyone at Moe's, he meets his end when he is unable to handle the amount of alcohol in Barney's blood.
- Puss in Boots: The 2011 movie has "Chupacabra" as one of Puss' nicknames.
- Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico not only gets the origin of the creature completely wrong (treating it as being part of Aztec Mythology!) but redesigns it to look more bigfoot-like. (The writers might have gotten it confused with the Nahual, a lycanthropic being from local folklore.)
- The Burrowers: The titular creatures are very similar to the idea of the Chupacabra. They attack buffalo, slit their throats, and then wait for them to rot before consuming them.
- Indigenous features them as the monsters, who stalks a group of tourists through the jungle.
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald introduces Chupacabras to the Harry Potter franchise. They are portrayed in a manner consistent with the original Mexican version, being lizard-like creatures with spiky backs and blood-sucking fangs.
- Cal Leandros: A Chupacabra named Xolo shows up in the series as the vampire Cherish's cute, seemingly harmless pet. That is, until he's revealed to be a telepath who Mind Rapes Niko and whom Cherish uses to control the other characters.
- Dead Silver starts with the main character heading off to New Mexico in order to capture a chupacabra.
- One of Falcon Quinn's friends is a chupacabra named Pearl. Rather than an alien, she more closely resembles a fairy with a large stinger tail. And while she does enjoy chupa-ing the occasional cabra, she's more fond of flower nectar. She's also extremely proud of her heritage. Extremely.
- In The Golgotha Series, Mutt and Jim take down a chupacabra which has been troubling the town. It can fly, and has glowing Hypnotic Eyes which fortunately only work on goats.
- InCryptid: Numerous chupacabras appear in the series as therianthropic cryptids: James (Verity's competitive dance partner) in Discount Armageddon and Midnight Blue-Light Special, Princess Leya-you-out, one of Antimony's fellow jammers in "Bad Dream Girl" and "Jammed," and Malena, one of Verity's fellow dancers in Chaos Choreography. Their beast form is the typical scabrous reptile-wolf creature, their human form is indistinguishable from a Latin American person of their age and build. For the most part, they're quite friendly and don't attack farm animals to drain their blood.
- Jackie and Craig: Chupacabra packs are among the first creatures encountered and form a central element of the book's overall atmosphere and storyline.
- Mr Blank: Chupacabras appear as the guard dogs for the Little Green Men. The narrator wonders if they aren't some weird hillbilly version of the Greys.
- Robin T. Popp's Night Slayer paranormal romance series features chupacabras as the creatures who create vampires, though they're more like critters than monsters. They're also interesting in that they temporarily turn to stone in daylight.
- In Tropical Tales Of Terror, a horror anthology, the Chupacabras were actually a hidden race of intelligent, predatory birds.
- Bones had a Chupacabra as a possible suspect in one episode, "The Truth In The Myth".
- Grimm had a Chupacabra episode.
- Lost Tapes: A featured monster. This version differed from the image above in that it was more of a canine-like ground-dwelling bat monster.
- In one episode of Mystery Hunters, both Araya and Christina investigate suppose evidence where Chupacabras exist with Araya going to Puerto Rico, the allege origin of the creature, while Christina goes to Texas to examine a potential chupacabra skeleton.
- Supernatural: In one episode, another hunter brushes off Sam and Dean by telling them he's heard there's one "two states over". The implication is that chasing after chupacabras would be a waste of the Winchesters' talents.
- Tensou Sentai Goseiger: One of the three leaders of the Yuumajuu is Buredoran of the Chupacabra.
- Xena: Warrior Princess: An episode amusingly features rampaging critter which isn't called a Chupacabra on-screen, but is blatantly modeled after the standard description of the beast.
- The X-Files:
- "El Mundo Gira" reveals that the Chupacabras are actually illegal immigrants who have been infected by an alien fungus.
- The standard version is discussed in "Bad Blood". Mulder presents Scully a new case — dead cows that have been exsanguinated. Scully ironically asks if it wasn't by any chance that Mexican goatsucker.
Scully: You're not gonna tell me you think it's that Mexican goatsucker thing.
Mulder: El Chupacabra? No, they got four fangs, not two, and they suck goats, hence the name.
Scully: So, instead, this would be...
Mulder: Classic vampirism.
Scully: Of a bunch of cows.
- An Unsolved Mysteries "Unexplained" segment focused on the search for the creature.
- In one of the advertisement of Stranger Things for Latinamerica, the kids encounter in a forest the mexican ufologist Jaime Maussan, who was looking evidence of the Chupacabra. It implies he is chasing the Demogorgon without noticing it.
- Red vs. Blue makes a quick joke about it. Sarge calls it a "Chupa-thingie". He is still fond of calling the team's jeep "Chupa-baby".
- Deadlands tells us that Chupacabras...Chupacabrae... Chupacab... "Goat Suckers" have actually been around since the late 19th Century. True to the stories that have sprung up around them in modern times, they are formed when someone of Latin American descent betrays another.
- Magic: The Gathering introduced two to the game as "Beast Horrors" in Ixalan block, set in a plane based off of Mesoamerican history and mythology: Lurking Chupacabra and Ravenous Chupacabra.
"Shadow birthed it. The moon gave it eyes, and the jungle gave it teeth. But it was Death that taught it cruelty."
- Pathfinder, in its desire to fill up its Bestiaries with as much cryptids and folkloric creatures from real life instead of making up new things like its arch-rival, includes a chupe that's a fair bit more lizard-like◊ than the standard portrayal.
- Shadowrun: Chupacabras, also called blood dogs, are mutated, mange-ridded canids with long, grooved fangs that allow them to drink blood. Their mutation is imperfect and they can't actually feed efficiently enough to avoid starving to death, making them perpetually hungry and thus highly aggressive.
- Vampire: The Masquerade: One of the Gangrel clanbooks has a Chupacabra character template, with a backstory of being Embraced while in wilderness, driven half-crazy by the Beast and feeding on animals due to lack of human prey in the area.
- Ark Survival Evolved: The Aberration DLC has two creatures that are visual homages to the two different iterations of the chupacabra. The Nameless are a reference to the alien type and are vicious, hunchbacked bipeds who are harmed by chargelight. The Ravagers reference the bald coyote type and are big, mostly hairless canines with massive fangs that cause bleeding damage.
- Castlevania: The creature appears as a tough regular enemy in the later games, although a translation error led to it being called "Cave Troll". In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, getting its soul lets Soma attack with a Gene Simmons-style long ass tongue.
- Diablo has a Scavenger-type boss monster named el Chupacabras. Diablo III has a monster known as Chupa Khazra as well.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, Hungers are a form of lesser Daedra that are very similar in appearance to the "alien-style" Chupacabra, complete with claws, spikes, and a "sucker" mouth. Hungers are capable of draining the Fatigue of their prey and have have extremely long, weaponized tongues.
- FAITH: The primary enemy is a monster inhabiting the woods that has been cited as a Chupacabra by the local newspapers. It's depicted as a pallid, nightmarish Humanoid Abomination that runs on all fours, speaks in Black Speech, and rips you and the wildlife to shreds. It's hinted to actually be a human who has been possessed for so long that their body has been mutated beyond recognition.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, when something has been killing cattle in the town of Novac at night, local Conspiracy Theorist No-bark Noonan is quick to blame a chupacabra.
No-bark: There's been things of a disturbing nature going on at the McBride Corral. Seems every night, one of their herd meets a most unnatural death, and there's always holes all over the body. Work of the chupacabra, the livestock vampire, says No-bark, but they don't pay no mind. Too many holes, they say, and there's bullets in 'em. Well, says No-bark, we got a chupacabra with an automatic weapon. And that's when they get real quiet, 'cause now they see the predicament we're in.
- In Hearthstone, Chupacabran is a boss you can encounter during Monster Hunt in The Witchwood expansion.
- Let's Go Find El Dorado: Chupacabras are a tough enemy that can kill off one of your party members on contact with your wagon.
- Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare has a chupacabra that can be killed as part of a challenge. There's even an achievement for doing so, titled "Chupathingy."
- Scribblenauts: You can summon Chupacabras, which attack goats on sight. Amusingly, they can wear hats and hold items.
- In Shadow Hearts 3 one of the hunting quests is for the Chupacabra. In Chichen Itza of all places.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Chupacabra is one of the many mythical and folkloric beings that appears in the games.
- South Park: The Fractured but Whole has an arcade in the From Dusk To Casa Bonita DLC, which features among the games a shooting gallery where you must shoot Chupacabras, while avoiding to shoot any goats. This is, of course, going with the whole Mexican theme of the restaurant.
- Steppenwolf The X Creatures Project: The chupacabra is depicted as a winged monster with two fangs and a Cult devoted to it, who control it by means of a whistle.
- Bloody Urban lampshades this trope. The Chupacabra is a disguise used by Shaun in the strip of the same name.
- Eerie Cuties: In a throwaway gag, a victim of the gender-shifting orb is in gathering signatures on a petition to save the "spotted chupacabra".
- Ursula Vernon's small webcomic Irrational Fears features a chupacabra facing down various monsters.
- Overcompensating has featured several storylines featuring a Chupacabra.
- In Sluggy Freelance, while avoiding Bun-bun, Aylee (Torg's alien secretary) goes to pick up a tray of drinks for the group. The waitress is terrified and stammers "Do not eat me, chupacabra!" to which Aylee cheerfully responds "Do not eat me, senorita!", thinking it's a normal human greeting. She later resolves to use one of Bun-bun's greetings, "your money or your life!"
- In The Impossible Man, the chupacabra is actually a pet owned by teenager Angela Salinas. It's appearance in the story resembles the cartoon rendition of chupacabra, where it is a green furball with fangs, as featured on some Puerto Rican T-Shirts.
- In No Evil chupacabras are large long-limbed creatures that prey on livestock, such as jackalopes. They're first mentioned in "Brom Bones" when Huehuecoyotl makes a giant spooky puppet out of a jack-o-lantern and chupacabra bones, which gets animated by Angel. And they actually appear in "Conduct" as part of the village of Hatfield's plan to get back at McCoy for stealing their food.
- SCP Foundation: SCP-2636, or Potrix caprarum sapiens, is the sapient and loud last remnant of the chupacabra species, and the virgin mother for their Messianic Archetype.
- Spec World has (or had) a fictional cryptid called the Chupie (links to Web Archive because the page hasn't been moved to the new host yet).
- TierZoo: The chupacabra was one of the cryptids covered during the April Fools' Day episode, where it was determined to not be a very viable build. To unlock the chupacabra, a player would have to select a canine build and deliberately infect themselves with mange. Aside from a buff in intimidation, mange is a significant hinderence to the player that costs them sanity points. As such, chubacabras were ranked at the bottom of the tier list because of these drawbacks.
- In Archer, Pam refers to herself as "... like some kind of Chupacabra. But for dicks."
- Dexter's Laboratory had an episode that claims Dexter had created it as a little reptilian monster that he named Charlie to scare off Dee Dee from his lab, but he had escaped to Mexico and started attacking goats ("I never said it was a completely successful experiment").
- El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera: In one episode, Manny adopts a baby chupacabra as a pet.
- In "I Second That Emotion", Fry, Leela, and Bender venture into the sewers where the local mutants live in fear of a vicious monster they call El Chupanibre, which feeds on their domesticated crocodiles, much to their anger.
- The Bone Vampire, which kills livestock by sucking out their skeletons, from "Fry Am the Egg Man" is also inspired by the Chupacabra.
- Appears in Generator Rex, and it turns not to be an EVO like most of the monsters in the series. It's also poisonous.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In one episode, a chupacabra comes out of the TV screen while Billy is watching a magical videotape in a parody of The Ring. It latches onto his nose. Grim presumes that it's trying to eat his brains, and Mandy thinks it'll starve. Of course, Billy being what he is doesn't know what it is and can't even pronounce its name ("Chupa-ma-flablah").
- Grojband had one episode in which the band encounter a sewer-dwelling monster called "El Chewpoocaca", who is an obvious parody.
- Invader ZIM: Referenced in an episode when Gaz tells Dib she thinks she saw one lurking around the mall's parking garage so she can get rid of him for the afternoon. Dib notes that there aren't any goats around for miles, but nonetheless, he spends the rest of the episode wandering around the garage in search of it.
- The Jackie Chan Adventures episode "The Curse of the Chupacabra" features Jackie and El Toro fighting one of these while in Mexico and El Toro being scratched by it causing him to become one himself, until the curse is broken. However, the creature is mistakenly said to be from Aztec legend.
- On Maya & Miguel, the title characters tried to claim that they had one as a pet. Then, it turned out that there really was one in town.
- Mike Tyson Mysteries: In "The End", Mike Tyson fights a Chupacabra and beats it by punching it in the groin. It gets back up and it gets taken down by Cormac McCarthy as a centaur and the Chupacabra is actually John Updike, a novelist, who was thought to be dead but he actually transformed into a Chupacabra for some reason.
- ¡Mucha Lucha!: The Christmas Episode had chupacabra as Rudo Claus' reindeer.
- Phineas and Ferb: The gang sets out to find the Chupacabra in one episode, who unbeknownst to them turned out to be a secret OWCA agent.
- Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends: Chupacabra is actually a vampire named Dvorak, who became deformed and driven nearly insane after biting something that didn't agree with him (General Rinaker).
- Sealab 2021 has an episode titled "Isla de Chupacabra", where the crew becomes stranded on an island infested with vicious chupacabras, as well as talking snakes and killer trees.
- South Park: One episode has Cartman's hunt for the "Jewpacabra".
- The Venture Bros.: The monster appears in "Dia de Los Dangerous!", inexplicably leaping from Brock's car to attack Dr. Venture. Apparently, Mexico is full of them. Amusingly, Dr. Venture had earlier declared them to be nonsense.
- Victor and Valentino: In "The Dark Room", the brothers try to take a picture of chupacabra. It turns out that the chupacabra is real, but it's a benevolent, vegetarian who loves goats. It also hates having its picture taken.
- There actually are Real Life animals called "goatsuckers", but they're birds of the nightjar family. Long before the modern chupacabra legend got started, these nocturnal insect-eaters were rumored to drain the milk out of nanny goats' udders.
- Native tribes across the Americas have legends of a bipedal bloodsucking entity nicknamed "Mosquito Man", whose description has led some folklorists to suggest the chupacabra is Older Than They Think.