ALSO KNOWN AS THE "WARRIOR RABBIT,"
the jackalope is an antlered species of rabbit. They are unfortunately rumored to be extinct, though occasional sightings of this rare creature continue to occur, suggesting that pockets of jackalope populations continue to persist in its native home, the American West.
The jackalope is a rare and fierce creature.
It’s an aggressive species, willing to use its antlers to fight. Thus, the jackalope is also sometimes called the “warrior rabbit.”
The jackalope is the product of a male jackrabbit and a female antelope. Jackalopes possess an uncanny ability to mimic human sounds. In the Old West, when cowboys would gather by their campfires to sing at night, jackalopes would frequently be heard singing back, mimicking the voices of the cowboys. Jackalopes become especially vocal before thunderstorms, perhaps because they mate only when lightning flashes—or so it is theorized—which explains the rarity of this species.
When chased, the jackalope will use its vocal abilities to elude capture. For instance, when chased by people, it will call out phrases such as, “There he goes, over there,” in order to throw pursuers off its track. The best way to catch a jackalope is to lure it with whiskey, as they have a particular fondness for this drink. Once intoxicated, the animal becomes slower and easier to hunt.
Jackalope milk is particularly sought after because it is believed to be a powerful aphrodisiac—for which reason the jackalope is also sometimes referred to as the ‘horny rabbit.’ However, it can be incredibly dangerous to milk a jackalope, and any attempt to do so is not advised. A peculiar feature of the milk is that it comes from the animal already homogenized on account of the creature’s powerful leaps.
The town of Douglas, Wyoming, has declared itself to be the Jackalope capital of America because, according to legend, the first jackalope was spotted there around 1829. A large statue of a jackalope stands in the town center, and every year the town plays host to Jackalope Day, usually held in June. Jackalope hunting licenses can be obtained from the Douglas Chamber of Commerce, though the hunting of jackalopes is restricted to the hours of midnight to 2 am on June 31.
The jackalope is now most commonly sighted in the states of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. However, the jackalope does appear to have a European cousin, which in Germany is known as the wolperdinger. In Sweden, a related species is called the skvader. Legend has it that the jackalope also bred with a camel to form the jacamelope.
The Western Jackalope (Lepus Tempermentalus)
- Size: Males to 24?, Females to 20?
- Weight: Avg. 6 to 8 lbs. Binge up to 12 lbs.
- Horns: Up to 12 inches across; 2 to 3 points common
- Coat: Tawny-brown, lighter on chest and underside
- Disposition: Secretive, easily agitated
- Habitat: Grasslands and KOA Campgrounds
- Range: Western North America into Canada
- Diet: Grasses, beenie weenies, smores
- Mating Ritual: Only during intense lightning strikes
- Population: Less than 10,000 (2000 Census)
- Predators: Taxidermists and tourists
- Status: Endangered to threatened
- Traits: Sure footed and agile; nocturnal; opportunistic; crude ability to mimic campground chatter; fondness for whiskey and Harley Davidson oil lines; will attack if cornered or provoked
Reportedly, jackalopes are extremely shy unless approached. If you encounter a jackalope, quickly fall to the ground, and remain calm and still while humming the Roy Rogers song, “Happy Trails to You.”