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Friday, 15 July 2011

Early records of the Argentine "Chupacabras"

From the "Patagonian Monster" site, Recommended!
Copyright 2009 by Austin Whittall

Tuesday, December 1, 2009
"Maripill" and the Llaima volcano monster

Maripill; its name derives from the Mapuche words “mari”= ten and “pill”= short form of “pillán” which,[1] was a spirit that the Mapuche believed lived in the Andean volcanoes but was also found in lakes and streams.

Maripill lives in the northern Patagonian lakes and is a very large and ugly animal; whose back is jagged like a saw, and it uses it to tear the cattle apart by running under their bellies very quickly. It uses its clawed hands to grab the children who venture close to the water.

Apparently at one time it “lived in rivers [that later dried up][…] big rivers that long ago came down from the mountains on the west [the Andes]”.[2] This interesting bit of information points towards a relict animal from more humid and perhaps warmer climates.

According to others, it has a dragon-like appearance: like a horridly shaped horse, with a long neck topped by a lizard head; its mouth is long and full of strong fangs, its arms long and clawed, with long and spiny tail.[3]

It is possibly the same as the Llaima volcano monster

Llaima volcano (38°41 S, 71°43’ W) in northern Chilean Patagonia is one of South America’s three most active volcanoes and has erupted nearly fifty times since 1640.

According to historian Ovalle , during the 1640 eruption, there was an apparition by the volcano of a “fierce beast full of convoluted antlers (spines) on
its head, giving horrifying groans and dreadful sounds”;[4] below is the image published in his book:

Llaima volcano monster.
From: [4]; “Indi prodigijs Montis igniuomi, Amnis arborem, mostrum”.

Ovalle represented the beast as a horned being that lacked arms, had bird (dinosaur?) like hind legs and a prehensile tail; it even seemed covered with scales or feathers. Possibly the arms were meant to be small and held tightly to the sides, and hence not noticed.
The horned head is jagged like a saw, and its volcano habitat may indicate that this monster was a Maripill.


[1] Latcham, R., (1924). Op. Cit. pp. 352.
[2] Stieben, E., (1951). Hualicho Mapu (Leyendas, cuentos y relatos de la Pampa misteriosa). B. Aires: Albatros. pp. 91+
[3] Colombres, A., (2001). Op. Cit. pp. 160.
[4] de Ovalle, A. Op. Cit. pp. 303+

The recently discovered South American dinosaur "Zupaysaurus" has the first part of its name the Quechua word for "Devil" and it was named that because it was said to resemble "Devil (Dragon) Lizards" reported in the Northern-Argentina area. These were the local equivalent to "Chupacabras" reports and they were said to resemble the agressive small dinosaurs called "Raptors" by the fans (After Velociraptor, the word "Raptor" alone only means "Hunter" and conventionally refers more properly to Birds-of-Prey.) "Living Dinosaur" proponents have heard reports of such creatures and I recall at least one recent posting about the creatures on the CFZ Blog. It should be noted that the Marpilli was suppsed to be a sawbacked lizardlike creature blamed for cattle mutilations as far back as the 1920s going by Whittall's sources.

Zupaysaurus the "Devil Lizard" much like tradtional "Devil Lizards" of South American mythology. The mythological creatures are very like the "Mini-Rex" or River Liz[ards] reported in the SW USA, and to the biped-lizardlike Chupacabras. Like those reports, the South American original is likely to be a large spinybacked Iguana lizard that is capable of running on its hind legs: Likely the males have red eyes. It is possibly a species of the genus Iguana if it is anything like the similar reports from Mexico. It is probably fair to refer to the original mythical creatures as Zupays (Devils)

Best Wishes, Dale D.


  1. Do these animals have feathers or scales? Do these unknown iguanids have scales that resemble hair or fur?

  2. Scales, which is ordinarily the case. However in the broader "Chupacabras" category there are reports of anumals of similar shape but also with hair, quills or feathers on the body (or back, especially)

  3. Do you think that the Chupacabras are just regular lizards, or do you think they are different from other lizards?

  4. As for what I think the answer would be yes. As to what other Cryptozoologists think , you take a number and make your choice. No firm answers are in yet.

  5. Since they walk and run bipedally, are these unknown iguanid lizards capable of using their hands to manipulate objects?

    Also, do they spend most of their time on two legs or four legs?

  6. The available data indicates that they are more often on four legs than two and the forefeet are only used a feet and not hands. when the forefeet are free of the ground they are basically dangling there without anything to do.

    1. Yeah, I'm guessing the reason why they spend more time on four legs than two is because they spend more of their time resting than running and jumping.

    2. Exactly correct

  7. Are there any cryptids which appear to be giant basilisk lizards?

    1. Other Cryptozoologists liken the biped lizards/ "River Liz/Mini-Rex" types to giant basilisk lizards, yes. And forgive me if I am slow to answer you, there is a blogger bug which makes it difficult to have answers to your comments entered and published

    2. Do you think they are basilisks or iguanas?

    3. You are missing the point: basilisks ARE Iguanids

    4. I mean, basilisks or members of the genus Iguana, specifically?

    5. I think saying "Iguanas" is adequate, but you could find Cryptozoologists who speculate that a giant basilisk lizard is behind the reports.

  8. But do you think they are members of the genus Iguana, though?

    1. If you are asking my opinion, that is my opinion. If you are formulating your own opinion, that's your own business.

    2. So, there is no actual proof that they are members of the genus Iguana? That's just your opinion?

    3. Now you are forgetting what I said before and misrepresenting what I said just now. I am saying that on pieces of Native artwork that I take to be representations of such creatures, they bear particular scales and crests which belong to the genus Iguana. HOWEVER noting in Cryptozoology is set in stone, particularly when the creatures themselves remain uncaptured. I was therefore stating that you should weigh the evidence for yourself and make up yourself.

  9. Well, we still don't know how many species there are. There could be just one that lives all over North and South America, or there could also be several. In fact, JC Johnson has said in a comment on YouTube that he thinks there might be 3 or more different species living in the 4 Corners area alone!

    And I also assume that the native artwork which you are speaking of is all from Mexico, Central America, or South America. Therefore, it is possible that the ones seen in the 4 Corners region might be more closely-related to basilisks or collared lizards, rather than the genus Iguana.

    Now, I say that because members of the genus Iguana are not normally found north of Mexico. Therefore, it is also possible that we have one species which belongs to the genus Iguana that lives in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Meanwhile, the one that is found north of the U.S. - Mexico border is probably more like a giant basilisk or collared lizard.


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