Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Creature Feature: Jackalope

For this week's Creature Feature, I thought it might be good to start with some local lore. Growing up, we all knew about the Jackalope. It's said to be a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope, which means it looks like a rabbit with antlers.




This Jackalope obviously has deer antlers. There is another species that has antelope antlers, but I couldn't find a photo. 

Interestingly, stories of horned rabbits extend as far back in time to 17th century Europe, and possibly even further than that.



Local lore states that, while mostly extinct worldwide, a small pocket of Jackalope live in the Western United States. I grew up thinking they were only from Wyoming.

Jackalopes are said to sing harmony with cowboys in a lovely tenor voice, move at speeds near 90 mph, and sleep belly up. If you are able to milk a Jackalope while it is sleeping, the milk has medicinal properties. However, Jackalopes are aggressive and will fiercely attack with its antlers, consequently earning the name "warrior rabbit."

The origins of the Jackalope are varied, but there is a virus, Shopes pappiloma, that causes growths on rabbits which resemble (loosely) horns. The poor bunnies looks so sad I didn't want the picture here, but if you are interested in seeing what the virus looks like, here is a link. 

Have you heard of Jackalope before?
Do you have Jackalope where you live?






14 comments:

  1. I have never heard of a jackalope until reading this post! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. You're welcome. I was kind of disappointed to find out the legend wasn't as unique to Wyoming as I thought!

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  2. Ohhhh, you're giving me good ideas for my bestiary. :) Loved this.

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    1. That's the fun thing about this series of posts. I get to learn about creatures I wouldn't normally take the time to dig into! Glad you're feeling inspired. :)

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  3. Gosh, poor rabbits. Here, (cause now I'm in England), there is an introduced disease which was meant to control the rabbit population but instead has left them maimed and blind and keeps carrying on thru generations. Scientists really do have an awful lot to answer for!

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    1. Science is definitely a double-edged sword!

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  4. Growing up in Wyoming I also have heard of the Jackalope story, but have never seen one. :-) It's sort of like hearing about Yetis, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. It our local lore that makes it so fun...

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    1. Did you know the Jackalope legend went so far into history? I didn't. It was pretty interesting.

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  5. Yes, we have jackalopes around here too. Probably because of the monster jackrabbits. I think they're so fun to watch running. And with their big ears. Little bunnies are so cute but jackrabbits are pretty cool. :)

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    1. The speed jackrabbits have is amazing. They are definitely like bunnies on steroids.

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  6. I thought Jackalopes were known only in Texas.

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    1. Apparently, they're everywhere. I felt a little disappointed we weren't special. :)

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  7. They sleep belly up? I can't imagine that would be comfortable with their antlers poking into the ground like that :)

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    1. Maybe they turn their heads. You always think of such interesting points, Mike! (Did I just make a pun?)

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