Cryptid Playing Cards

Cryptids of North America

The Chupacabra

Chupacabra literally translates as 'goat-sucker', from chupar ('to suck') and cabras ('goats'). The name is attributed to Puerto Rican comedian Silverio Pérez, who as a San Juan radio DJ, coined the label while commenting on a series of unusual attacks on farm animals in 1995.

The Chupacabra is widely known throughout the Americas, North & South alike. The first reported sighting was in 1995, in Puerto Rico. A key component to the first sightings were repeated happenings of slain farm animals; having three puncture wounds, and drained of blood.

Descriptions vary, but there tends to be two main descriptions for the physical appearance. The description from Puerto Rico in 1995 fits one of these; a reptile-like creature approximately 3 to 4 feet (0.9 to 1.2 m) in height, with leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back, that stands and hops in a fashion similar to that of a kangaroo. Benjamin Radford noted, in his book Tracking the Chupacabra (2011), that this is concerningly similar to the creature in Roger Donaldson's sci-fi horror film Species (1995).

The world wide web was new at the time, and the stories and reported sightings spread like wildfire- from the Caribbean, to the Gulf Coast, to eventually up and down both North and South America. Reports and retellings spread by radio, by tv, and of course on the web. No Cryptid had received such wide press, awareness, and notoriety since perhaps Nessie or Bigfoot.

As the fame of the Chupacabra grew, older reports of mysterious sightings and slain animals drained of blood have been retroactively credited to the Chupacabra, including the Vampire of Moca, a series of slain farm animals drained of blood in the Puerto Rican town of Moca in 1975. The Vampire of Moca has also been claimed to potentially be related to extraterrestrials or cult-related activities.

More recently, the other common description of the Chupacabra is more akin to that of a dog or coyote; typically hairless with a pronounced spinal ridge and eye sockets, as well as fangs and claws. There have been photographs, and even a few specimens that fit this description.

They have turned out not to be the Chupacabra, but instead Texas Blue Dogs, Mexican Xolos, animals with mange, or coyotes infected with the parasite Sarcoptes scabiei.

This, however, does not explain the animals slain being drained of blood. Related to the animals in Puerto Rico, Dr. David Morales, veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture in Puerto Rico, analyzed 300 reported victims of the Chupacabra and found that they had not been bled dry.

Cryptid Playing Cards

This cryptid is included in my Cryptids of North America Playing Cards. This is a limited run set of Playing Cards and my first crowd sourced project.

Future projects will follow, both around playing cards and around strange and unusual creatures. All design and production done in the US; designed by me in Texas, and printed in Florida.

Check out my Cryptids of North America Playing Cards >>