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News Link • Animals and Pets

Fantastically Wrong: The Disturbing Reality That Spawned the Mythical Jackalope

•, By Matt Simon

В It was on the show Americas Funniest People, in which a recurring skit starred a hilariously unrealistic rabbit puppet with the horns of an antelope and the habits of a sociopath.


That puppet made a big impression on me. For the uninitiated, the shows jackalope stories revolved around the creature assaulting humans–whether they deserved it or not–typically jabbing them in the bum with its horns. This was not, however, the first time the jackalope has been sighted in the United States. The critter has long been a fixture in American folklore. But as it turns out, the jackalope isnt purely a work of fiction.

Back in the 1800s in the wilds of Wyoming, when cowboys sang to their cattle on dark nights before thunderstorms, they heard their tunes repeated back to them. Not by the cattle–that would just be silly–but by some jackalope off in the brush. That bit about the nighttime before thunderstorms wasnt for dramatic effect, by the way. This was the only time the jackalope would call out.

ï»ï»The first "confirmed" jackalope specimen was secured by one Douglas Herrick, who in 1932 found a dead one sprawled in his shop in Douglas, Wyoming. If you want to get technical, though, it was an ordinary dead rabbit next to some deer horns on the floor. But Herrick mounted the rabbit, horns and all, thus begetting a slew of taxidermic jackalopes in bars all across the West.

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