No mythical creature or cryptid has more clear photographs and excellent stuffed specimens than the elusive jackalope – the infamous and vicious hybrid combination of a jackrabbit and an antelope. The one thing we’ve never seen is a live one. That may change with news from Ontario, Canada, that a jackalope has been spotted near … you guessed it … a nuclear plant.
Gillian Sutherland-Jones, a resource management technician at the Bruce Peninsula National Park in Ontario, says the first reported sighting of the jackalope was in the spring by a campground visitor. In September, a video was posted on Facebook showing the jackalope in the park.
Tales of jackalopes or rabbits (or hares) with horns date back at least to a 13th century Persian tale of a rabbit with a single horn (a unihare?). There are natural history texts from 17th century Europe showing a horned hare. But the jackalope stories most people have heard come from the American West, where the first jackalope was allegedly spotted in 1829 in Douglas, Wyoming, which was also the home of Douglas and Ralph Herrick who began selling stuffed jackalopes in the 1930s. They allegedly risked their lives catching these strange creatures that could mimic a human’s voice and attack legs with their horns. It was said the best way to catch a jackalope was to get it drunk on its favorite drink – whiskey.
As many who have examined the photos and video have pointed out, the horns on the Ontario jackalope look a lot like a second set of ears. Could the jackalope have evolved horns with this new look to scare off hunters? Gillian Sutherland-Jones isn’t so sure.
It is possible that the hare sustained some sort of injury, but given the uniformity to both ears, it is more likely a birth defect
What could cause such an unusual birth defect? Might it have something to do with the Bruce nuclear power plant just 90 miles from the park. Not according to park image protector Gillian Sutherland-Jones.
We have no reason whatsoever to believe that there is a link.
That reasoning is fine … until more of these jackalopes are found with two ears and two more so-called “other ears.” Whether the Ontario jackalope exists or not, Bruce Peninsula National Park campers and local residents are using the sighting as an excuse to stock up on heavy boots and plenty of whiskey.