Icegedunk - [Fearsome Critter]
• About this Critter: nearly extinct, yet somehow consistently avoiding it, this 'seal with a wheel' [where its tail should be] is a seldom spoken of creature that is said to patrol the rocky coasts of Victoria BC, occasionally migrating through Vancouver to Whistler (during the rare slushy winter snowfall) & rolling uphill through the wet mountain forests surrounding North Vancouver, It joyfully spins and rolls back down the mountain side (much to the surprise of hikers.) - it is said to range up north as far as Alaska & some parts of the Northwest Territories. both the creatures diet & breeding habits are unknown.
The Icegedunk is described as 'fairly large with heavy front quarters like a Buffalo with a small seal-like head with deer-like ears, a long slender body like a seal which tapers down into a tail wheel, it has no hind legs, (yet somehow has buttocks.) - it pulls into service stations if it ever finds that it has gotten a flat, it exchanges a slice of meat from its rear end to have its wheel patched up...
• History: The Icegedunk is most infamously included in an "its something" wikipedia article [published 2014] where its mislabelled as a 'cryptid' - (Thus, only those who are obsessed with the topic of 'Canadian Cryptids' might stumble across it.) - The article of course, lists no sources, but it does include a drawn picture of what the author likely imagined the creature might have looked like [it is not unusual for wikipedia & fandom articles to neglect giving sources which is why they're the bane of educators, historians & illustrators.]
Normally that would be it, However...
Research shows that the earliest written mention of an 'Icegedunk' actually predates the internet: it was Published in a book dating back to 1983: "Tall tales of British Columbia" by Michael Taft. (Sound heritage series #39)" as the title says, the book includes many short stories, interviews & tall tales from around the province. - [Impressively, Its also worth note that the author of the book did tape recordings and made transcripts available for further study via the BC provincial archives. Meaning that the government officially recognizes the icegedunk as a piece of folklore. - Information like this being stored in a governments archive is pretty big news for any "Cryptid" or "Critter" regardless of their legitimacy! ]
The Icegedunk is included in one story as part of the 'Menagerie of the Mind' section where it was mentioned along side other, perhaps better known critters of myth & local lore including the Sidehill Gouger and the Jackalope.
[The book in question. Note: the inside of the cover refers to the jackalope-like creature on the cover as either a "sidehill gouger" or an "Elkhare." ]
The icegedunk was not illustrated, but only described as part of "Reude Berry's course in Zoology." [more about Reude in the below image] - according to Reude, "The Icegedunk are pitiful creatures, seemingly doomed for extinction, they have 'small seal-like heads with tiny deer-like ears' & 'heavy front quarters like a buffalos, a long slender body which taper into a tail wheel. No hind legs." -He goes onto say that he has 'no idea where they stem from but an animal with a wheel? might have you scratching your head and asking: "What do they do when they get a flat?" According to the storyteller, an older fellow told him that he had seen them pull themselves into service stations to get their tires patched, but because they have no money they instead give "a small slice of steak from their ass" in exchange for service. - Apparently the old man that Reude met, had seen icegedunks "running around with no ass at all." -
[the full mention of icegedunks.]
The notes section towards the end of the book, Taft sates that they couldn't find any parallels to his tale but that other tall tales of animals giving up parts of themselves where fairly common.
[Reude Berry's credit photo & bio from the end section of the book.] -
Golden is a town in southeastern BC (a bit closer to Alberta/Calgary.) - sadly I'm unsure if berry is still alive today! judging from the picture - he'd certainly be old by now!
The common copy-pasted description which you'll find online & on wiki's nowadays seems to originate from "A wizard's bestiary : a menagerie of myth, magic, and mystery." [published 2007] in this book, the creature is illustrated with a saw blade for a tail, curiously, it is mentioned that it is from the area around Victoria. - [however, the book does not elaborate on why! I'd like to point out that the book has a habit of mislabeling creatures, for example it called kakmikiri as type of "Chinese Tengu!"]
[The icegedunk from "A wizard's bestiary : a menagerie of myth, magic, and mystery." [published 2007]
As a Vancouverite & a Folklorist, I've found no further mention or evidence of this creature in newspaper, books or other archival records, so, I'll verify Tafts note in that the Icegedunk (to my current knowledge at least) does not appear or get mentioned by name anywhere else, even mention of it online is slim. - if this ones story was ever spread, prior to Tafts book it was only done so orally!
One final note (which I probably should have mentioned closer to the start) is that the intro to this section of Taft's book which contains the icegedunk actually also debunks the very idea that the Icegedunk might be a 'cryptid' entirely, it mentions that the creatures listed were "exaggerated on purpose for the sake of telling a lighthearted-prank or a tall tale." and that stories of "Sasquatch" "Cadborosoaurus" & "Ogopogo" were also omitted from this section as stories about 'Cryptids' were meant to be taken more seriously, similar to "ghost stories" or "tales of flying saucers" which where told in order to prove, disprove or show concern about the creatures existence." -- Sadly, The Icegedunk is not that!- Given the impossible anatomy of having a 'natural wheel for a tail' I'd certainly liken it to other 'fearsome critters' such as the 'Telescoping-legged' Tripodero or the 'Rope-beaked' Roperite and a few other fearsome critters that where quite popular once upon a time...
-- regardless of its truth, it sure was fun to illustrate & research especially because it was said to be local to the area where I live. Given its inclusion in the provincial archives I'd say its one for the history books for sure!
see also: elkhare, tall tales of bc
Sticker art & Bio by @samkalensky part of my Fearsome Critters collection of stickers check my shop and follow for many more!