What is the Curupira?

Curupira watching a girl sleep, O Curupira – Lenda Amazônica – Brasil, by Manoel Santiago, 1926

The Curupira is a creature from Brazilian culture, specifically Tupi culture, one of the largest indigenous groups in Brazil. Its name derives from the Tupi word kuru’pir meaning “covered in blisters” which fits the Curupira’s physical description: a bright reddish-orange haired creature who can look like a man or a dwarf (the folklore kind) and have “turned back” feet. More modern depictions of the creature retain the turned back feet but have replaced the red/orange body hair for skin (sometimes of a light brown complexion, other times white because of course!)

Curupiras are said to live in forests and woods, protect the flora and fauna from hunters, and use their backwards feet to leave confusing footprints along with the ability to create illusions and release high-pitched whistles to thwart humans. Likely because of these traits, they have been regarded as demonic.

Although there’s no etymological link (to my knowledge; please correct me if I’m wrong!), the Curupira’s protective nature mirrors that of another Brazilian entity, the Caipora (the word “Caipora” is Tupi for “inhabitant of the forest”.)

More on the Curupira

Become a Patron

Since 2015, the site has remained mostly ad-free. I post affiliate links from time-to-time but I try to post alternative links where appropriate. I also write most of these blogs myself. If you read this and enjoyed the content you've so far, why not consider pledging to my Patreon.


  • Brick – $1/month
  • Concrete – $3/month
  • Steel – $5/month
  • Glass – $7/month
  • Bronze – $10/month

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.