Cave Hodags - (latin name: not yet classified.)
• About this critter: 'Cave Hodags' are curious, multi-eyed & legged subterranean relatives to "Sidehill Dodge Hodags." - (see also, Hodag variants & sidehill gouger.) - they're said to be the hodag's "evolutionary successor" and are said to be "the smallest type of Hodag." - they are the result of these hodags migrating to the deepest parts of caves to 'escape loggers' during the sudden cold weather snap of 'The blue winter.' - They've since flourished in these limestone caves which are widespread across the states and have 'evolved' to have 3 glowing eyes for better dark vision, they are pentapedal animals, meaning they have five legs: 2 smaller & 3 longer legs for vertical movement along cave walls. Females are bubblegum pink, a male cave hodag like this has never been encountered (to my knowledge.)
• History: Most modern bestiaries (such as "Monster Spotters Guide to North America" [Francis, 2008] & "Fearsome Critters!" [Svesson, 2008]) mention the 'cave hodag' generally as a footnote typically after exploring the lore to the Black Hodag. (I suppose it makes sense to be brief as Rhinelanders is the most popular hodag and printing space is always limited!) However, I find it a little bit sad: as there's a bit of history there for sure! - The earliest mention of 'cave hodags' likely belongs to The Wisconsin Speleological Society which has held the 'Hodag Hunt, Picnic and Festival' annually since 1964 in the caves near Cherney Maribel Caves Park, Wisconsin in the fall. (The picnic occasionally travels to other caving locations such as Yellowstone etc.) - As part of the groups activities; younger members are to explore the caves to find a plush version of this hodag. [see below] – (see also: Snipe Hunting.) – [I've reached out to the society with further questions about the origins of this pink hodag, but sadly have yet to get a response, I will update my posts on this creature, if that ever changes! (Sadly they don't seem to check their email....) - Recently someone posted some video footage (taken in the 2000) which shows a 'Hodag Hunt' in action!!! - the guide further elaborates, explaining the pink creature's origins in better detail!*] - [Admittedly this hodag is quite bizarre looking for a hodag, but it matches the description which had been featured on Wikipedia & Cryptidzwiki for a very long time, although these sources are sadly vague (& often fail to credit their sources.) I strongly believe that this is the hodag which those articles & earlier mentioned bestiaries where specifically referring to!]
['Mrs Hodag' badge which is given out as part of the annual 'Hodag Hunt, Picnic and Festival' - image source is the WSS website. ]
[*The plush cave hodag, according to the video is apparently not the original. The original is housed 'in the library.' (Sadly I haven't been able to find a picture of this yet!) - Apparently, this plush Hodag is named "Mrs Hodag" and is pregnant: if you open her up you'll find a smaller, baby Hodag inside, How cute?]
-- Although this isn't the only type of 'cave hodag' I would be remiss not to mention that the website also features a 'Canine cave hodag' variant pictured as well as a standard 'mini-black hodag' with 3 eyes as well. (Svesson seems to draw a similar one in his book.) - Notably, these Hodags lack the additional legs for climbing on the walls, however, their curious existence perhaps suggests further cave hodag variants..There are also a few humorous, modern accounts of 'cave hodags' haunting the links of local golf courses, where they steal the player's hole in ones, eating their golf balls as they fall into the hole.
Art Sticker by @samkalensky - Part of my fearsome critters collection of stickers, check my shop and follow for many more!