10 Mythical American Monsters

This mysterious beast was captured in China in 2010 and immediately dubbed the "Chinese Chupacabra." However, tests revealed it was merely an albino civet cat with a skin disease. © Imaginechina/Corbis

It wanders around attacking livestock, namely goats, then sucking out all of the blood. It's mangy. Deranged. And clearly vicious. It's a chupacabra (choo puh KAH bruh), the Spanish word for "goat sucker." Seeds for the creature's existence were planted in 1970s Puerto Rico, when a rash of farm animals and pets inexplicably died.

People began whispering that the deaths came at the paws of a mad animal. Fast-forward to the mid-1990s, when a Puerto Rican woman reported seeing a monstrous being near her home. Although she described a red-eyed alien-type figure covered in spikes (and had just seen the movie "Species" featuring a similar being),the creature was dubbed a "chupacabra" and described as an animalistic figure. The legend exploded around the tiny island and across the U.S., becoming an especially popular tale in the Southwest [source: Ross].

Some said the beast was spawned from a failed NASA experiment; others claimed that the disease AIDS originated in the chupacabra [source: Ross]. One Texas woman even brought in a strange-looking dead critter – a suspected chupacabra – to scientists at Texas State University-San Marcos and the University of California-Davis for DNA testing. Unfortunately for her bragging rights, the results said it was a coyote-Mexican wolf hybrid [source: Radford]. Maybe next time.