J is for Jackalope

Diana Beebe, Mermaids Don't Do Windows, MDDW, Diana Beebe's Blog, science fiction, fantasy, young adultA jackalope is a rabbit has the antlers of a deer and sometimes the tail and/or legs of a pheasant. The name is a portmanteau (blend) of “jackrabbit” (but it’s really a hare) and “antelope” (even though it’s really a pronghorn). Jackalope does sound better than something like harehorn or hareprong.

Plate XLVII of Animalia Qvadrvpedia et Reptilia (Terra) by Joris Hoefnagel, circa 1575, showing a “horned hare”–So the idea has been around for a long time!

In the 1930s, Douglas Herrick and his brother, hunters with taxidermy skills, in Douglas, Wyoming, grafted deer antlers onto a jackrabbit carcass and sold it to a local hotel. Clever.

Some of the American folktales are outlandish. They are so dangerous that hunters were warned to wear stovepipes on their legs. Visions of Monty Python’s killer rabbit and the armored knights who thought “it’s only a bunny” flashed in my head.

It is said that the rare and fertile leptus antilocapra breeds only during lightning flashes.

Old West tales of cowboys singing around the campfire might include a jackalope singing along as a tenor, since the creatures can mimic human voices. If you want to catch a jackalope, use whiskey to lure it.

Or, you could hire a taxidermist to make you one. 😉

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackalope

Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Animalia_Qvadrvpedia_et_Reptilia_%28Terra%29_Plate_XLVII.jpg

Do you know any jackalope tales? 

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