If you're wandering alone in the woods late at night, you might want to keep an eye out for a monster that lurks 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 inhabits parts of Puerto Rico, Mexico and the United States. Believers in El Chupacabra believe the monster acts like a vampire, drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats.

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

The first alleged sightings of El Chupacabra occurred in Puerto Rico in 1995. In various villages, the creature was reportedly seen attacking various types of livestock, including goats, sheep and other farm animals and pets.

Over time, researchers determined that the eyewitness accounts were unreliable. In fact, the descriptions of El Chupacabra as a creature with spines down its back were taken from a popular science-fiction movie called Species.

Other reports of El Chupacabra sightings occurred in the United States, though. These creatures were described as hairless, wolf-like creatures that attacked livestock.

Researchers believe these sightings of El Chupacabra were actually dogs or coyotes with mange. This means these animals were infected with a parasite called Sarcoptes scabiei. As a result of this infection, these animals would lose their hair, develop thicker skin and smell really bad.

Scientists believe these animals might attack livestock, because they're no longer able to hunt animals in the wild. Farm animals that are tame and kept in pens or fenced areas are easier targets for the sick predators.

Despite scientists' findings, rumors of El Chupacabra persist. Why? One reason is that urban legends are popular and fun to pass around. Plus, El Chupacabra is simply fun to say! El Chupacabra will likely live on for many, many years, much like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster continue to fascinate people around the world!

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