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The Sidehill Gouger: a "left-sided" mother looks forlornly at her "right-sided" pup.

Sidehill gougers are fearsome critters adapted to living on hillsides by having legs on one side of their body shorter than the legs on the other side of their body (trapping the beast in an endless circular, uphill path.) The creature is variously known as Gyascutus, Sidewinder, Wowser, Gudaphro, Hunkus, Rickaboo Racker, Prock, Gwinter, or Cutter Cuss.

Sidehill gougers are herbivores who dwell in hillside burrows,[1] and are occasionally depicted as monotremic.[2] To which there are usually 6 to 8 pups to a litter.[3] Being that the gouger is footed for hillsides it cannot stand up on level ground. If by accident a gouger falls down from a hill, it can easily be captured or may starve to death.[2] Gougers are said to have migrated to the west from New England, a feat accomplished by a pair of gougers who clinged on to each other in a fashion comparable to, "a pair of drunks going home from town"[3] with their longer legs on the outer sides. If two gougers (one clockwise and another counter clockwise) meet, they have to fight to the death since they can only go in one direction.[2] However, some sources say they are able to turn inside-out allowing for escape in the other direction.[4] A Vermont variation is known as the Wampahoofus. It was reported that farmers crossbreed them with their cows so they could graze easily on mountainsides.[4]

The notion of imaginary animals with one pair of legs longer than the other in order to exist on mountainsides is popular: others include the Wild Haggis, the Sidehill Dodge Hodag, the Dahu. Similar animals are part of Appalachian folklore, sometimes in the form of a breed of cow with mismatched legs.

References

  1. ^ Brown, C.E. Paul Bunyan Natural History. (Madison: self-published, 1935.)
  2. ^ a b c Randolph, Vance. We Always Lie to Strangers: Tall Tales from the Ozarks. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1951.)
  3. ^ a b Tryon, Henry Harrington. Fearsome Critters. (Cornwall, NY: Idlewild Press, 1939)
  4. ^ a b Cohen, Daniel. Monsters, Giants, and Little Men from Mars: An Unnatural History of the Americas. (New York: Doubleday, 1975)
  • Dill, Lawrence M. (1983). "Behavioral Genetics of the Sidehill Gouger". in George H. Scherr, editor; Richard Liebmann-Smith, associate editor. The Best of the Journal of Irreproducible Results. New York: Workman. pp. 9–10. ISBN 0-89480-595-9.  

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