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This is a submission for the Anatomically Correct Series. Chupacabra art from Wikipedia

The Chupacabra is a legendary cryptid animal from North American folklore. It is a strange bear-like or reptilian creature that sucks the blood of livestock (especially goats which is why it's name is goat-sucker in Spanish). The urban legend arose in the late 20th Century and is believed to be based off of canines afflicted by Mange that killed livestock without eating them.

Bloodsucking animals already exist in real life like mosquitoes and bats. Those are small animals though. What would be the anatomy of a large canine or reptile that got all of its nourishment from livestock blood? This would be difficult in a more realistic setting since animal blood generally isn't rich in calories.

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    $\begingroup$ "Anatomically Correct Chupacabra // It is a strange bear-like or reptilian creature" 🧐🤔 do you see a problem there? 🤨 pick one, you want it anatomically correct? then you have to first make up your mind, which version of the urban legend are you going with .. VTC lacking detail, as is right now you're asking us to make it all up for you from scratch .. "make up an animal for me, it might be a mammal, or a reptile, but doesn't have to be either, go wild" is not a question format the site officially approves of 🤗 $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Jan 30, 2023 at 10:25
  • $\begingroup$ Hmmm ... that's the picture from the Wikipedia Chubacabra entry. It's a Puerto Rican one (the Texas ones are dog-like). $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2023 at 19:30

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giant vampire tarsiers.

enter image description here

Bear with me.

The most commonly described form of chupacabra seems to be a mid-sized biped that leaps like a kangaroo on long hind legs, has large eyes and sharp fangs. It has small forelimbs that it uses to grasp prey.

This, to me, seems indicative of some kind of primate, but not an ape, or even a monkey like a macaque. I’m thinking a large, ground-dwelling tarsiiform.

Tarsiiforms (the group of lemurs that includes the tarsiers) are small insectivorous lemurs that travel by leaping from tree to tree. They are the only entirely carnivorous primates, have big bug eyes and show up in the fossil records on Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America, the focal point of all chupacabra sightings.

So let’s say a lineage of tarsiiforms ends up in the Americas. Migrating to the dry regions of Central America , these critters come to the ground. They adapt their springy hind legs into jumping organs like those of a kangaroo. They grow in size because they can; they no longer need to remain small. Over time they take to hunting larger prey. Since water is scarce in this environment, they start drinking the blood of their prey. Their fur becomes thinner, perhaps even vanishes, in order to keep cool, hence their mangy appearance.

After a few million years, we have a textbook chupacabra; a bipedal bloodsucker that leaps like a kangaroo and bites like a vampire. They would have a slow metabolism and engage in regular feeding frenzies to compensate for the low-calorie diet, (this concurs with the nature of livestock kills) and be near-hairless.

As to anatomy? Just think giant bald tarsier with kangaroo legs and you’re on the right track.

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It is a tamandua.

tamandua

https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/tamandua-or-lesser-anteater

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_tamandua

The southern tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla), also called the collared anteater or lesser anteater, is a species of anteater from South America and the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. It is a solitary animal found in many habitats, from mature to highly disturbed secondary forests and arid savannas. It feeds on ants, termites, and bees. Its very strong foreclaws can be used to break insect nests or to defend itself.

A cryptic population of tamanduas in Puerto Rico is not so incredible. The chupacabra variant uses the long tongue to lap up blood in the manner of a vampire bat.

tamandua licking up blood

Blood is not very calorically dense as noted in the OP. It is fortunate that the chupacabra tamandua still eats ants. Mostly eats ants. Blood is a holiday thing for the chupacabra tamandua.

As regards why the goats getting their blood licked up do not take umbrage, it is because the chupacabra tamandua is so cute.

As regards why people do not notice the chupacabra tamandua it is because they are looking for a mangy reptillian canine of some sort, not Cuddly Gus here.

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