What is a Chupacabra?
The chupacabra is a creature that is the subject of an ongoing myth. Its name translates from the Spanish as "goat-sucker," and, indeed, the animal is reported to be carnivorous and to act like a vampire in sucking the blood from its prey. It is said to be like a small bear with spines on its back and it has claws and fangs. Other descriptions liken it to some sort of reptilian creature. Some stories that have circulated in conspiracy theory, the world of the paranormal and in ufology have suggested the chupacabra is an alien animal, the product of genetic engineering in secret experiments, a hybrid and even a demon or a life-form from another dimension.
Chupacabra (Public Domain)
The world of science and rationality is not convinced about the truth of any of these reports and of the animals that have been photographed or captured on film, most have been identified as some type of dog, including coyotes, that is suffering badly from the condition known as mange, which makes the fur fall out.
Kinkajou (Public Domain)
The Kinkajou (Potos flavus) is a rainforest mammal related to raccoons and its range is throughout many parts of Central and South America, which just happens to be where the chupacabra is reported. It is also known as a honey bear and normally feeds on fruit and leaves but also eats, insects and the eggs of birds. It is often hunted for its fur, its meat and for the exotic pet trade. Because of its wide distribution it is not yet regarded as an endangered species of animal.
Kinkajous are often kept as pets in Central and South America, and in Peru they are known as "lirón," an animal that is regarded as a hybrid of a monkey and a bear which is another fanciful belief not based on reality. In El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, which are also in the range where chupacabras are said to live, the kinkajou is often kept as pets and are commonly called micoleón, meaning "lion monkey." This idea that it is a hybrid has fed into the stories of the chupacabra being a hybrid created by genetic engineering.
Yawning Kinkajou (Photo: Robrrb)
There is currently a video being circulated by La Extra Bandera newspaper doing the rounds on Facebook social networking site showing what is said to be a chupacabra. The poor animal, whatever it is, is desperately trying to bite its way out of the metal cage it is in. It appears to be a kinkajou just like the one in the photo above that is showing its claws and teeth, or maybe the animal in the La Extra Bandera video is some type of small bear that has lost its fur due to disease. I think you will agree that there are far too many coincidences for the true identity of the chupacabra not to be a kinkajou. Mystery solved: the chupacabra is nothing more than a kinkajou!