The Jackalope is said to be a cross between a rabbit and an antelope, hence the name, Jackalope. The creature is also sometimes referred to as the Antelabbit, Horny Bunny, Aunt Benny or Stagbunny and is often portrayed as a common jackrabbit with antelope like antlers on its head. Reportedly, Jackalopes are extremely shy unless approached. 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!". Although no Jackalope has ever been captured alive, 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 the whiskey and its intoxication will make it easier to hunt and catch. It is also legend that the Cherokee Indians would hunt and eat the Jackalope at the end of a vision quest.
Some reasearchers believe that the Jackalopes are an extinct species of Lepus, which allegedly developed a pair of antelope like horns in order to defend itself against carnivorous predators. These pioneering investigators have postulated that through the processes of natural selection and evolution, these long eared herbivores may well have come up with an additional defense mechanism to compliment their already extraordinary speed and burrowing skills. An interesting hypothesis regarding the origin of this unique hybrid comes in the form of a group of small Asian mammals known as anagalids. These primitive mammals, which are related to both rodents and rabbits, may have crossed the land bridge into North America hundreds of thousands of years ago, and embarked upon a frenzy of diversification; some may have sprouted horns and razor-sharp tusks, while others grew to colossal proportions.
Other researchers, including Cryptozologist Sharon Hill, believe the Jackalope was inspired by sightings of ordinary rabbits infected with the Papilloma Virus. This virus would cause the growth of horn or even antler like tumors in various places on the rabbits head and body. Although these strange growths could hardly be mistaken for the stag like sized antlers of often attributed to the Jackalope, it is a possibility that sightings these growths and the human imagination may have combined to create the Jackalope. According to Hill, Americans aren't the only ones to have supposedly come across these curious creatures. She has noted that German folklore tells of a stag like lepus, which they referred to as the Raurack. Reports of a large species of carnivorous, horned rabbit, known as the Miraj, have also hailed from an obscure Island in the Indian Ocean.
The Jackalope has become some what of a joke or novelty as of late, in the American West, mounted heads and postcards of jackalopes are a popular item in novelty stores. Jackalope legends are often 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, this Jackalope hangs on the ranch's wall to this day. There are also many websites referring to legend of the Jackalope, some may be informative but others have fake photos and films that are supposedly evidence.
The question remains, what is the Jackalope? Could the whole Jackalope legend have been started by sightings of common rabbits with tumors growing from their heads? Or is there actually a form of rabbit that through evolution grew a set of antler like horns as a form of self defence.With no body, other than those which have been cleverly hoaxed by taxadermists, and no fossil record of the mythical creature it would appear that the Jackalope is nothing more than a case of mistaken identity or an over active imagination.
For evidence which proves the existence of the Jackalope one must look no further than your local steak house. Modern day Jackalope seems to prefer the walls of family steak houses to the harsh desert areas of the American West once inhabited by there ancestors. And with no physical evidence to support the existence of an actual Jackalope, including no fossil records, the horned rabbit may remain isolated to these restaurant walls.
Documented sightings of the Jackalope are almost as rare as the creature its self seems to be. The first reported sighting of the Jackalope is said to have taken place in Douglas, Wyoming in the early 1800’s and was a main stay in local Indian culture, including the consumption of the creature at the end of their vision quest.
The Stats – (Where applicable)
• Classification: Hybrid
• Size: Same As The Common Rabbit
• Weight: Same As The Common Rabbit
• Diet: Local Vegetation
• Location: American West
• Movement: Walking or Hopping As With Modern Rabbits
• Environment: Dusty Plains of the American West