jackalope - [fearsome critter/cryptid] - Latin: “pedigres Leapusalopus Ineptus”
• 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 and 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 and they'd often surprise cowboys by singing back songs sung by the campfire in a deep bass-like tenor voice. – 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!
Despite Wyoming being the "home of the jackalope", The jackalope is incredibly widespread across the USA & some parts of Canada. - Arizona variants were often depicted as being much larger (often being ridden by cowboys!) - The ones from the Badlands of South Dakota are said to be able to fly!! - The ones from canada BC are known as "Elkhare" and seem to be related to sidehill gougers. [ "Tall tales of british columbia" 1983]
• 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” - overall its hard to trace who was 'first' their exact origin as newspapers had been reporting about them as early as 1912 and rabbits with horns have been also featured much earlier back to medieval texts...
[Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania), December 15, 1912, image source.]
Reguardless, 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 ] - “W.S. 43-I-113 permits a duly licensed non-resident to hunt only the “Pedigres Leapusalopus Ineptus”, known as the pronghorn jackalope. It can readily be identified as having the size, shape and color of a jackrabbit with horns similar to the pronghorn antelope or smaller deer. Non-residents are warned and forbidden by law to hunt the larger and endangered “Leapusalopus Incisorous Maximus”, the saber-toothed jackalope. These are distinguished by being much larger (100 - 150 lbs), having foot-long fangs, and are extremely vicious.” - I'd assume the larger 'saber-toothed jackalope' - “Leapusalopus Incisorous Maximus is referring to the ridable ones.
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 acknowledged this since around the mid-1930's.) – Cotton tail rabbits growing horns actually isn't too uncommon IRL but Sad to say: this fun fact is not very fun, as the horns are a terrible 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 in fact 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 were inspiration for horned hares like the Jackalope. - Similar horned rabbits have also appeared across various medieval texts & tomes. - [some Jackalope puritans claim that the creature must be born with natural horns to count as a "True Jackalope."]
• See also: Rogue taxidermy Jackalope, Phesalope, Elkhare, Spook Rabbits, Skavader, Worpletinger, Gunni, Dingbat.
Sticker Art by @Samkalensky (yo thats me!) - Part of Fearsome Critters & Cryptids collection, weather resistant 4" sticker or full page 8.5x11 Mounted print. Check my shop & follow @samkalensky for many more!