Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The jackalope is an imaginary animal of North American folklore described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant's tail. The word jackalope is a portmanteau of "jackrabbit" and "antalope", an archaic spelling of antelope.

It is possible that the tales of jackalopes were inspired by sightings of rabbits infected with the Shope papilloma virus also known as Epidermodysplasia verruciformis, which causes the growth of horn- and antler-like tumors in various places on the rabbit's head and body. However, the concept of an animal hybrid occurs in many cultures, for example as the griffin and the chimera. Indeed, the term 'chimera' has become the categorical term for such composites within the English language.

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. However, legend has it that they are dangerous if approached. It has also been said that jackalopes will only breed during electrical storms including hail, explaining its rarity.

Jackalopes are legendary in the U.S. -- attributed to by the New York Times in 1932 to Douglas Herrick (1920–2003) of Douglas, Wyoming, and thus the town was named the "Home of the Jackalope" by the state of Wyoming in 1985. The state of Wyoming trademarked the name in 1965. According to the Douglas Chamber of Commerce, a 1930s hunting trip for jackrabbits led to the idea of a Jackalope. Herrick and his brother had studied taxidermy by mail order as teenagers. When the brothers returned from a hunting trip, Herrick tossed a jackrabbit carcass into the taxidermy shop, which rested beside a pair of deer antlers. The accidental combination of animal forms sparked Douglas Herrick's idea for a jackalope. The first jackalope the brothers put together was sold for $10 to Roy Ball, who displayed it in Douglas' La Bonte Hotel. The mounted head was stolen in 1977. The Douglas Chamber of Commerce has issued thousands of Jackalope Hunting Licenses to tourists. The tags are good for hunting only during official Jackalope season, which occurs for only one day: June 31, from midnight to 2 AM. The hunter may not have an IQ greater than 72.

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