Wyoming’s State Cryptid
“The Jackalope is unquestionably the rarest, least known, and the most unusual animal on the North American continent. They have never been captured alive, or positively identified outside of this state. Although they have been reported to be seen in several mountainous areas in other states, they are unique and almost an unidentifiable little animal. Their horns have similar structure to that of the jackrabbit and the antelope but of different composition. General body appearance is that of the jackrabbit of the Plains. The similarities end there and the distinct personality of the jackalope takes over. Their habitat, diet, physical actions, voice, mating season, and sensitivity is completely unlike the deer or rabbit.”
“They are not a dangerous animal. Their skill with their sharp little horns gives them good protection. They are extremely timid which accounts for them rarely being seen and probably accounts for them not becoming extinct. The most mystifying characteristic of the jackalope is the ability to mimic the human voice. It has been the eerie experience of cowboys on their lonely night watch in the high country, to hear their own voices in song floating on the night breezes. This phenomenon usually occurs on moonless nights and just before a thunderstorm.”
“The first reports of seeing jackalopes by white men was over 125 years ago. They were call liars by all except by experienced Indian hunters. Now the camera has fully verified their existence.”
– The Sundance County Museum, Sundance Wyoming
All the states of the United States have a state animal, flower, song, and many other things that exemplify the character of the particular area. Wyoming is the only state I know of that claims its own cryptid; the stories and sightings of the jackalope began in Wyoming, and the people are proud of it.
The Sundance County Museum has its own fine taxidermied specimen, with the above accompanying text on a placard. General folkore regarding this interesting creature is that the jackalope is a violent animal, but the Sundance Museum claims it is shy and placid. They do agree on what I think is the most fascinating aspect of this little varmit – the ability to imitate a human voice and call to you out of the darkness of a moonless night, right before a thunderstorm! Perhaps it wants to lure you away from your camp so it can steal your beans and beer.
The museum display also shows a hunting license for the jackalope, which is issued regularly in Wyoming (supposedly with a straight face).