• About this critter: The Mighty American Jackalope has been a cornerstone of American folklore, tall tales and myths for at least the last 100 years or so. They are perhaps the most well-known of all Fearsome Critters. Why, everyone knows the Jackalope!! - Why, its a Hare with horns like antelopes of course!! – This Lanky Lagomorph is often the subject of rogue taxidermy & American kitsch, most often seen hung up on walls of many popular truck stops, pubs & bars! (Well, at least it used to be a common sight, perhaps not as much these days.) -
Jackalope legends, myths, and yarns often claim that the creature is of fine wit, clever but with an ill temper, it knows how to fight back will poke & strike for the kill with its horns! Often said to be able to mimic human speech, they would often yell out distractions (often profanities) when chased by hunters, they are known to be able to throw their voice. On nights before thunderstorms, they'd often surprise cow folk, singing back songs sung by the campfire. – Their favorite drink is hooch, often said to be the easiest way to trap them. - "Milk of Jackalope" was also listed as a component for a powerful aphrodisiac and was said to be listed as an ingredient in (completely ineffective) potions sold by snake oil salesmen.
They can range in size from your run of the mill rabbit to around the size of a horse! – Arizonan Jackalope where often depicted much larger and being rode by cowboys! -
• History: An 1985 proclaimation from Douglas Wyomings local government claims that the first Jackalope was created by Taxidermist, Doug Harris in 1939, interviews from the time say that even doug had no clue there was such a large number of stories & lore behind the beast which predated his own popular creations. Other sources say that John Reid of Princeton, Ontario may have made the earliest known “jackalope” - but its hard to trace who was 'first' their exact origin as newspapers had been reporting about them as early as 1912...
[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania), December 15, 1912, image source]
The city of Douglas Wyoming recognizes itself as 'the home of the jackalope' where it is used as the town symbol & mascot! The city annually hosts a yearly "Jackalope days" Festival in June.
[The legend of jackalope - From Wyoming's website, one can also check out what a Jackalope hunting permit looks like which the government makes publicly available for purchase, however Tourists who purchase these permits are often surprised (& maybe disappointed) to learn they may only hunt the creatures "on the 31st day of June, between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m ]
Despite all of the fun and tall tales: the Horned rabbit as a cryptid, also have the distinction of being a matter of fact: REAL!! – (science has known about them since around the mid 1930's.) – Did you know that cotton tail rabbits growing horns actually isn't too uncommon IRL? – Sad to say: this fun fact is not very fun, as the horns are a very bad sign, tumors from the Shope papilloma virus [Warning: kinda graphic past that link.] - The rabbit will sprout black horn-like tumors all over their bodies (most often on their heads.) Sadly, it IS a disease & these tumors are just NOT at all useful in combat. (they are a pain/disadvantage to the host, often making it so they cannot eat.) - It's sad, but worth mentioning, as it's thought that sightings of infected horned rabbits, where in fact, the likely inspiration for horned hares like the Jackalope. - [some Jackalope puritans claim that the creature must be born with horns to count as a "True Jackalope."]
Similar horned rabbits have also appeared across various medieval texts & tomes.
[a horned rabbit from a medieval scroll]
…So i ask you: if these horned bunnies are in fact 'real' why not also trust what someone said when they saw the 'Shovel Face Oscar?', 'The Spurdoodle?' why not the 'Humpdumple' or equally preposterous 'Big Foot' & others like them, eh? - Many Cryptids/Critters could very well have existed - but just not exactly how we imagined them, many could have easily been a case of mistaken identity! - I feel it’s important to stay curious & keep an open mind!!
• See also: Worpletinger, Phesalope, Dingbat, Fur bearing trout, Rouge taxidermy