posted on Apr, 10 2004 @ 05:42 AM
Officials say "goatsuckers" are just the product of fertile imaginations, but tales of the bloodthirsty monsters are terrorizing Mexico and gaining
Anxiety has swept Mexico as newspapers report dozens of sightings and attacks by goatsuckers, which reportedly look like 3-foot rats with wings and
enormous teeth and suck the blood of livestock and humans.
"A lot of Mexicans believe in extraterrestrials, so that's what they think they are," said Cristina Fernandez, a Mexico City resident.
So severe has panic become that Mexican officials warned last week that important ecosystems are being threatened as rural farmers set fires in caves
to kill off goatsuckers, which they think are related to vampires.
So international has the goatsucker become that American humorist Dave Barry put the creature in a recent column.
"It was first reported in Puerto Rico, where it is known as 'chupacabras,' which is Spanish for 'attorney,'" Barry quipped.
The Internet includes several goatsucker sites on the World Wide Web, which detail factoids and sightings, one of the first being in Puerto Rico in
But while many humans take goatsuckers seriously, Mexican officials say they're a fantasy.
Environment Secretary Julia Carabias said this week that she rejects the idea that a stalker of livestock and people "has anything to do with strange
organisms, much less vampires."
The Mexican scare started in April, when a teary-eyed Jauna Tizoc, a 21-year-old from the corn-farming village of Alfonso Calderon in northern Sinaloa
state, said she was attacked by a horrifying winged
She showed tooth marks on her neck, and the interview was publicized by Televisa, Mexico's major television network. "She said a beast with horns
attacked her, but that could be anything, like a bull," said Desiderio Aguilar, director of Sinaloa's municipal police forces.
After the interview, anxiety set in. Peasants from all over Sinaloa, and farmers from more than 10 Mexican states, reported that livestock, especially
goats, but also sheep and chickens, were attacked by other- worldly animals that suck blood. "We have goatsucker psychosis," Aguilar said. "People
won't send their kids to school, farmers won't work at night. It's a social and economic problem."
Indeed, so many Mexicans have reported seeing the goatsucker that two Mexico City dailies this week published drawings of a winged rodent that they
said were based on multiple sightings of the animal.
Sinaloa state, at least, has lurched into action. The state government put together a 15-person team of scientists and technicians, including a bat
specialist. They went out to the village where the goatsucker was sighted by Tizoc. "We sent 50 police as protection because this kind of thing, as
you can imagine, is very scary," Aguilar said. Protected by officers, the team staked out a farmyard where the goatsucker was believed to have
attacked. But in the dark hours before dawn it was dogs that came to prey on the live- stock. The scientific team set the same trap a second time,
just to be sure, and once again dogs were caught.
"I don't know about the rest of Mexico or the rest of the world, but here the goatsuckers are just dogs," Aguilar said.
The Sinaloa snare wasn't widely publicized, so the Mexican media still abound with goatsucker stories. The creature was sighted in eight Mexican
states, according to the Mexico City daily Reforma. The Mexico City Times, an English-language daily, reported this week that a nurse from the
outskirts of Mexico City was hospitalised with a severed arm and neighbours said she was attacked by a goatsucker.
[Edited on 10-4-2004 by Danger_Mouse]