Jackalope - Wiki
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[Photo] engraved plate from the Encyclop??die M??thodique, 1789 showing a rabbit with Lepus cornutus (image of a rabbit with Lepus cornutus from Bonnaterre's Tableau Encyclopedique et Methodique, 1789)
The jackalope ??? also called an antelabbit, aunt benny, Wyoming thistled hare or stagbunny ??? in folklore is said to be a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope (hence the name), goat, or deer, and is usually portrayed as a rabbit with antlers. Some believe that the tales of jackalopes were inspired by sightings of rabbits infected with the Shope papillomavirus, which causes the growth of horn- and antler-like tumors in various places on the rabbit's head and body. However, the griffin and the chimera perhaps suggest the concept of an animal hybrid occurs in many cultures. One common southwestern species of jackrabbit is called the antelope jackrabbit, because of its ability to run quickly like an antelope; it would have been easy enough to imagine instead (for comic effect) that this jackrabbit had the horns of an antelope.
The jackalope legend in the U.S. is attributed by the New York Times to Douglas Herrick (1920???2003) of Douglas, Wyoming, in 1932. Postcards showing jackalopes were also sold in the U.S. in the 1930s.
Herrick and his brother Ralph had studied taxidermy by mail order as teenagers. A 1930s hunting trip for jackrabbits led to the idea of a Jackalope, according to the Douglas, Wyo., Chamber of Commerce.
The brothers returned to their taxidermy shop following the hunting trip. Herrick tossed a jackrabbit carcass into the shop, whereupon it came to rest beside a pair of deer antlers. The accidental combination of animal forms sparked Douglas Herrick's idea for a Jackalope, according to the chamber.
However, the legend of Horned hares also abounded in European??? particularly, German and Austrian??? legends as the Raurackl, Rasselbock and Wolpertinger. These legends were possibly inspired by Shope papillomavirus infected rabbits. The many illustrations of horned hares shown in scholarly works by European naturalists in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, may have been similarly inspired.
The legend of the jackalope has bred the rise of many outlandish (and largely tongue-in-cheek) claims as to the creature's habits. For example, it is said to be a hybrid of the pygmy-deer and a species of "killer-rabbit". Reportedly, jackalopes are extremely shy unless approached. Legend also has it that female jackalopes can be milked as they sleep belly up and that the milk can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes. It has also been said that the jackalope can convincingly imitate any sound, including the human voice. It uses this ability to elude pursuers, chiefly by using phrases such as "There he goes! That way!". It is said that a jackalope may be caught by putting a flask of whiskey out at night. The jackalope will drink its fill of whiskey and its intoxication will make it easier to hunt. In some parts of the United States it is said that jackalope meat has a taste similar to lobster. It has also been said that jackalopes will only breed during electrical storms including hail, explaining its rarity.
The flying variation
The flying jackalope is a variation originating in Wall, South Dakota. The flying jackalope looks like a cross between the standard jackalope and a chicken. The stuffed versions have a chicken body with a jackalope head, or a jackalope body with chicken wings. This animal is much rarer than the jackalope and due to its blinding fast speed it is rarely seen by people. You can bait it with a concoction that include baloney and whiskey, among other things.
In the American West, mounted heads and postcards of jackalopes are a popular item in some novelty stores. Jackalope legends are sometimes used by locals to play tricks on tourists. This joke was employed by Ronald Reagan to reporters in 1980 during a tour of his California ranch. Reagan had a rabbit head with antlers, which he referred to as a "jackalope", mounted on his wall. Reagan liked to claim that he had caught the animal himself. Reagan's jackalope hangs on the ranch's wall to this day.
Some local governments, such as Douglas, Wyoming, have issued Jackalope Hunting licenses to tourists. The tags are good for hunting during official Jackalope season, which occurs for only one day, February 30th.
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