Hoaxes & Rumors

Is this a Photo of a Real Chupacabra?

Is this a Photo of a Real Chupacabra?

A photo circulating online allegedly shows a real chupacabra. Others have described it as a “leaked” Area 51 photo. Is this image real or fake?

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The “creature” is fake.

Let’s first take a look at what is being said about the image in question.

The photo has shown up on a variety of websites about bigfoot, chupacabra, and UFO’s. This blog asks, “What the heck is this?” Another article includes the photo in a discussion about chupacabra. It has also recently shown up on Twitter, described as a “leaked photo from Area 51, 2003.”

Halloween Prop

The “creature” shown in the image is not a leaked photo, but that of a “Sideshow Chupacabra Prop” from Dapper Cadaver. The product’s description reads:

The mythically “goat sucker” of Mexican legend has long been in dispute about its origins. While some claim it to be the spawn of Satan, others contest that it is merely an unfortunately hideous creature with a good heart. You can now decide with your own monstrosity to impress your friends, frighten your neighbors, or ride into the night. Poseable fingers, movable arms, movable head. Product dimensions: 37″ x 22″ x 8″.

Dapper Cadaver

The company, out of San Fernando, California describes itself as “a specialty prop shop offering the finest death-related props, Halloween props, haunted house decorations, and oddities. We take pride in manufacturing and stocking the most realistic, high quality props available.”

The chupacabra prop above is featured in a dozen photos, some with a model, such as the image seen below.


Credit: Dapper Cadaver

Dapper Cadaver’s Response

We reached out to Dapper Cadaver, and owner-artist BJ Winslow discussed the model with us.

We definitely consider it a complement when something we make is mistaken for real. We’ve been in business since 2006 and we make props for sideshows, movies, television, haunted houses, Halloween events, and even emergency training simulations. Realism is important to us.

The Chupacabra is a piece we’ve been making probably since 2007 or 2008, and while it’s basically the same piece we’ve been making all along, it’s gone through many minor design changes and re-sculpts. Our main customer on that piece is sideshows, so it needs a high level of detail and accuracy to pass what could be up close inspection. I did my research before we made our very first piece. There really are 2 chupacabras, the Puerto Rican one and the Mexico-US one. We took a bit of both in our piece. The Puerto Rican Chupa is very ape and alien like, so we gave ours human like arms and large, forward facing eyes. The Mexico-US one is very dog-like so our overall body plan is very dog-like and the head has a long muzzle. Spines along the back sometimes show up in both reports, so we gave it a kind of razorback hog fur pattern. The body is made from the bones up. We use lifecast replica dog or coyote skeleton and attach a skull of our own design. The skull we make is our own concoction, and based on both a baboon skull and a muntjac deer skull. After the skeleton is made and posed we create a custom leathery skin using latex. The whole thing is poseable, with an authentic amount of internal anatomy showing, and so realistic it even feels real.

This photo circulated heavily in April 2014 after a couple claimed to have found a live chupacabra on their property. That creature, however, was deemed to be a mangy raccoon.

Bottom Line

The photo above does not show a real chupacabra, nor does it show a leaked image from Area 51. It is a photo of a Halloween prop, created by a company in San Fernando, California.

Updated July 1, 2015
Originally published April 2014

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