Jackalope: Wikis


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Rabbit with Shope papillomavirus infection
Plate XLVII of Animalia Qvadrvpedia et Reptilia (Terra) by Joris Hoefnagel, circa 1575, showing a "horned hare"

The jackalope is an animal of North American folklore (a so-called "fearsome critter") described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant's tail (and often hind legs). 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, which causes the growth of horn- and antler-like tumors in various places on the rabbit's head and body.[1] [2] 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.

A common southwestern U.S. species of jackrabbit is called the antelope jackrabbit, because of its ability to run quickly like an antelope. It is easily imagined that this species might be humorously misconstrued to possess horns and represent a jackrabbit-antelope cross.



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.[3] 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.[4] 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 (a nonexistent date as June has 30 days), from midnight to 2 AM. The hunter may not have an IQ greater than 72.[5] In 2005, the House of the Wyoming state legislature passed a bill to declare the jackalope the "official mythological creature" of Wyoming, by a vote of 45-12 and referred it to the state Senate, where the bill was indefinitely postponed on 2 March 2005.[6]


Jackalope statue at South of the Border tourist attraction, South Carolina
Jackalope statue at Wall Drug store, South Dakota

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.

Appearances in popular culture

Television and film

  • A jackalope appears in the Dungeon & Dragons cartoon (the "Odyssey Of The Twelfth Talisman" episode) being chased by Eric the cavalier for food but is caught and saved by Dungeon Master.
  • A jackalope character named Swifty Buckhorn appeared as a supporting character in the 1992 animated television series Wild West C.O.W.-Boys of Moo Mesa.
  • A stufed and mounted jackalope head can be seen on the wall of the restaurant in the movie Waiting...
  • A jackalope appears in the episode "Appa's Lost Days" of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. What is especially notable here is how well this happens to fit into the Avatar world, which contains an animal kingdom almost totally consisting of animal hybrids.
  • A jackalope is featured in the feature-length animation Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders (2000) when Scooby and Shaggy follow it to the hole where the fake aliens are digging up gold for profit. It is also seen in the end of the last scene where it looks at the stars symbolizing the two mysteries: the jackalope and the aliens from the sky.
  • A jackalope, voiced by Dave Coulier and officially named "Jack Ching Bada-Bing" after a viewer contest to come up with a name for the character, was featured in the U.S. television show America's Funniest People. The character would laugh a lot while playing mean tricks on people (usually to punish those who had themselves been mean to others). Its catch-phrase was "Fast as fast can be, you'll never catch me!" It was also featured on the very first show produced for Nickelodeon, Out of Control, which was (like America's Funniest People) hosted by Coulier.
  • Pixar Animation Studios created a short film, "Boundin'" (2003), that features a wise, "Great American Jackalope" as a main character. "Boundin'" was nominated for a best short film Oscar.
  • In the episode "Kindred Spirits" of the Nickelodeon cartoon Danny Phantom, while Sam and Tucker are in the Specter Speeder above Colorado, Tucker looks out the window and points out a jackalope, as well as a mongoose.
  • A stuffed jackalope appears in Frasier (next to Martin Crane's armchair); Niles refers to it as "Texas's answer to the Minotaur".
  • Carson Daly gave comedian Harland Williams a mounted jackalope head when he appeared on Daly's late night talk show.
  • In the film Brokeback Mountain, the character played by Randy Quaid has a jackalope head hanging in his office.
  • In the 2007 film First Snow, at the roadside stop where the psychic lived, there is a vendor selling handcrafted jackalope statues; the psychic has one in his office.
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures Episode 59, "Rabbit Run", the Noble Rabbit was discovered disguised as the jackalope mascot of the high school football team in Douglas, Wyoming.
  • In The World's Fastest Indian there is a photo of a jackalope on the wall in a bar that Burt Munro enters. He is asked whether they have them in New Zealand and he says yes, but they're much bigger.



  • The Odessa Jackalopes are a CHL minor league hockey franchise affiliated with the New York Islanders located in Odessa, Texas.
  • The Syracuse Jackalopes are a club running team based out of Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.
  • The Reno Silver Blades Fencing Club hosts an annual fencing tournament called the Jackalope Triple Crown. The first place trophy is always a jackalope made from a stuffed bunny.[2]
  • The Champaign Jackalopes are a softball team based out of the Champaign-Urbana area.


  • In the real-time strategy game Age of Empires III jackalopes appear as a treasure called "The Elusive Jackalope", which can give whoever gets it 240 experience points.
  • A jackalope was featured on the cover of Sam & Max Hit the Road, a computer game. Within the game, when Sam sees jackalope figurines in a kitschy roadside shop, he calls them "the bastard pets of Piltdown Man." It is also implied that Max is terrified of them, as Sam mentions "I don't want to scare Max!" when commanded to pick up a jackalope doll.
  • A jackalope character appears in the first chapter of the computer game King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride.
  • The jackalope appears as a monster in the roleplaying game Deadlands, where it has the power to cause bad luck.
  • In Rampage: Total Destruction there is a monster known as Jack the Jackalope.
  • There are hordes of jackalopes to shoot at in Redneck Rampage Rides Again.
  • In Urbz: Sims in the City the main character can create a jackalope on a DNA island as a pet.
  • In the Nintendo DS version of The Sims 2, you can purchase a statue of a jackalope.
  • The player can summon jackalopes in the Exodus set of Magic: the Gathering (the common Jackalope Herd card) and in the game Scribblenauts for the Nintendo DS.
  • The new pet system integrated in version 9 of FlyFF, a Korean originated computer RPG, includes a jackalope as a pet that increases the character's dexterity.
  • In the snowboarding game "SSX on Tour", an ability called "Lightspeed Metabolism of the Galactic Jackalope" is buyable, helping at building up a players "boost bar".
  • In the Wii version of the video game Mushroom Men, a jackalope is featured as the boss of the third chapter.
  • In FarmVille it is possible to obtain a jackalope as a mystery animal prize.


  • One of the characters in the comic strip Bloom County by Berke Breathed was Rosebud the Basselope, an antlered Basset hound who had an affair with Hodge-Podge the rabbit, producing 64 "jackabassalopes".
  • In JT LeRoy's novel Sarah, 'prostitutes who ply their trade at truck stops' make pilgrimages to "Holy Jack's Jackalope" in the backwoods of West Virginia to avail themselves of its miraculous powers.
  • In Charles de Lint's book Medicine Road, one of the main characters is a jackalope who was transformed into a woman.
  • Alan Dean Foster wrote a Mad Amos story titled "Jackalope," concerning an unsuccessful hunt for such a creature.
  • In the novel The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan The Goddess Artemis was fond of transforming boys interested in her maiden archers into jackalopes
  • In the third book of the fantasy series Fablehaven entitled Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague by Brandon Mull, jackalopes are part of a scene in Arizona. One character carries a jackalope's foot around for good luck.
  • In Michael Lanza's Winter Hiking & Camping: Managing Cold for Comfort and Safety, a "photograph" of a jackalope was in one of the sections. The caption indicates that it is a rare photo of the jackalope. The photograph looks doctored.
  • A breeding pair of jackalopes appear in Proof, an ongoing comic book series published by Image Comics. The creatures live harmlessly with other cryptids, such as The Cottingley Fairies and The Dover Demon.
  • In The Onion publication Our Dumb Century, a story from 1947 states that residents of Roswell, New Mexico have reported mass jackalope sightings and that the Air Force is alleged to have recovered a jackalope corpse for study in its top secret Hutch 51.


  • The Jackalope is also used as name for a version name of Ubuntu: Version 9.04 is called Jaunty Jackalope.


  1. ^ Jacks for Real
  2. ^ Eberhart, George M. "Mysterious Creatures: Creating A Cryptozoological Encyclopedia." 2005. Journal of Scientific Exploration. Vol. 19, No. 1, pp. 103-113
  3. ^ http://www.jackalope.org/chamber/jackalopehistory.html
  4. ^ Los Angeles Times, 23 Jan 2003
  5. ^ New York Times Obituary, 19 Jan 2003, Section 1, Page 23
  6. ^ Wyoming Legislature Journal Digest
  7. ^ Soundtracks - Kimya Dawson - Tree Hugger lyrics

External links

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