Purpose Preventing bad behaviour
Country Hispanic countries

Cuco, or Coco, Coca, Cuca, or Cucuy, is a boogeyman found in many Hispanic and Lusophone countries.

The Cuco is a male being while the Coca is the female version, although it is not possible to distinguish one from the other as both are the representation of the same being.


,l;;/,lIt is not the way the Cuco looks but what he does that scares most. It is a child eater and a kidnapper; it may immediately devour the child, leaving no trace, or it may spirit the child away to a place of no return, but it only does this to disobedient children.

The coca is on the look out for child's misbehavior on the top of the roof, the coco takes the shape of any dark shadow and stays watching. It represents the opposite of the guardian angel and is frequently compared to the devil. Others see the Cuco as a representation of the deceased in a community.

Physical appearance

There is no general description of the Cuco, as far as facial or body descriptions, but it is stated that this shapeshifting being is extremely horrible to look at. A common depiction (seen above) has the Cuco with large teeth.

The Cuco is variously described as a shapeless figure, sometimes a hairy monster, that hides in closets or under beds and eats children that misbehave when they are told to go to bed.



The oldest known rhyme about the Cuco, which originated in the 17th century, is in the Auto de los desposorios de la Virgen by Juan Caxés.

The rhyme has evolved over the years, but still retains its original meaning:

Duérmete niño, duérmete ya...

Que viene el Coco y te comerá.

Sleep child, sleep now... Or else the Coco will come and eat you

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