The jackalope is as American as apple pie. They’re such a common sight that most Americans don’t give them a second thought because the decorative critters aren’t fooling anyone. We all know that rabbits don’t grow horns. Or do they?
Here’s a detailed summary of the jackalope legend, printed on the back of a jackalope hunting license from Douglas, Wyoming.
The jackalope has traveled far from it’s satirical Great Depression-era roots:
But it seems that stories of horned rabbit creatures may have emerged long before the jackalope’s supposed invention in 1930’s Wyoming. And in fact, they appear in legends and folklore from all around the world.
As it turns out, stories of the creature may have their roots in a natural phenomenon. Shop’s Papilloma Virus causes tough, keratinous growths in rabbits that can often take the appearance of horns and sometimes even form prongs that resemble antlers.
Before you proceed to the images below, though, be warned: the affliction can be gruesome, often causing loss of eyes or starvation, and is fatal for the bunnies. I chose the tamest images I could find, but they’re still pretty spooky.
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