[[caption-width-right:287:The terrible Hodag, captured on film (allegedly) by Eugene Shepard, 1893.]]

The Fearsome Critters are a group of mythical beings from [[TallTalesTeller the stories told by European colonists in North America]], mainly in New England (naturally) in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but there are stories of Fearsome Critters spread all across the country, including several notable "species" specific to the southwest. Fearsome Critters are notable for being described primarily by their behavior, not by their appearance, and for often having names that reflect that (Hide-Behind, Come-at-a-Body, ''et cetera''), meaning that what they actually ''look'' like fluctuates wildly from tale to tale in the style of Myth/PaulBunyan--whose loyal friend and partner, Babe the Big Blue Ox, might well be a Critter himself.

Genuine belief in the Fearsome Critters was never widespread; even in most of modern America they're relatively obscure, and almost completely unheard-of in other parts of the world. They originated, variously, as exaggerated accounts of native fauna unfamiliar to the European travelers who described them and as a humorous means of describing the strange goings-on in the woods by lumberjacks, carnies, and other outdoorsy types. Fearsome critters are not cryptids, nor are they associated with Native American faiths; the [[BigfootSasquatchAndYeti sasquatch]] and the {{wendigo}} are ''not'' Fearsome Critters.

Some of the notable Critters are:


[[folder: The Guyascutus]]

Known by a ''myriad'' of other names, including the Guyanoosa and Sidehill Gouger, the Guyascutus is a terrible predator variously described as being like an alligator covered in protective plates, like an armadillo's, or like a deer with the ears of a rabbit and a mouth full of fierce teeth. Its most notable feature, however, is that the legs on one side of its body are much shorter than the ones on the other, so it can move about easily on the steep mountain slopes where it makes its home; therefore, to escape a Guyascutus, one need only run onto even ground. The creature, with its mismatched legs, will be unable to follow.

The most famous legend of the Guyascutus involves an old carnival grift. A traveling carnival show rolls into town, claiming to have wild animals from all around the world on display--including, incredibly, a live Guyascutus. The people paid their fees and flocked to see the alleged beastie, at which point the leader of the plan would run before the crowds, looking desperate and beat-up, claiming that the creature had escaped. The people, terrified, would immediately run to their homes, leaving the carnival troupe to ride away with their "earnings".

[[folder: The Squonk]]

Perhaps the most famous of the bunch (and the subject of more than one popular song), the Squonk is a miserable animal, "The most melancholy of creatures", that allegedly inhabits the coniferous forests of northern Pennsylvania. Because its skin is covered in warts, blemishes, blisters and abrasions, the Squonk is disgusting to look at -- and it ''knows'' this, which is why it hides underground during the day, hoping not to offend any other creature with its hideous appearance. At night, the Squonks all come out into the open and openly weep; the strange sounds lumberjacks and other frontiersmen heard in the forest at night were attributed to their crying.

The Squonk also has a legend surrounding it. This one tells of a man named J.P. Wentling, who wanted to capture a live Squonk and prove its existence to the world. One night he succeeded, trapping the creature in a bag; but when he took it home and opened the bag to show his friends and family, he found nothing but water inside. The Squonk, more miserable than ever, had dissolved into a pool of its own tears.

[[folder: The Jackalope]]

The most famous southwestern Critter, popular in Texas, New Mexico, and southern California. The Jackalope is a wild hare or jackrabbit with the antlers of a deer, reportedly ''very'' difficult to catch or even to spot (though U.S. President UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan ''did'' claim to have caught one once -- purely as a joke, we expect). Jackalopes are highly elusive and will run at the very sight of a human, but at night, they all gather in the desert and sing harmoniously with their strange, enchanting voices. Of course, that's only ''one'' interpretation; it's more uncommonly described as a vicious {{killer rabbit}}. To this day, the "stuffed Jackalope" is a fairly common sight in southwestern bars and taverns.

Sadly, any reported Jackalope sighting is much more likely to be a regular rabbit [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shope_papilloma_virus afflicted with the shope papilloma virus.]]

[[folder: The Hodag]]
Still quite popular in Wisconsin, where it makes its home (and particularly in the city of Rhinelander), the Hodag is a fierce beastie with "the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end". Several hoaxes regarding the animal, from the way it terrorized the lumber community to its eventual capture (using chloroform and ''dynamite'', no less!) were perpetrated in the late 19th century by the prankster Eugene Shepard. Today, the creature is more or less a fondly-regarded local curiosity; it's even become [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c0/Rhsflag.jpg the mascot of Rhinelander High School.]]

[[folder: Others]]
Lesser-known (but no less Fearsome) Critters:

* The '''Axehandle Hound''', a scraggly white dachshund-like dog with an axe-shaped head that feeds on axe handles left unattended in the woods at night; described by Creator/JorgeLuisBorges in the ''Book of Imaginary Beings''.
* The '''Agropelter''', a little-seen forest creature that hides among the trees and throws sticks and stones at anyone intending to cut down its home.
* The '''Ball-Tailed Cat''', a large puma-like feline with a long tail that ends in a club similar to an ankylosaur, which it uses to stun prey. Also known as the '''Dingmaul''' or the '''Slivercat'''.
* The '''Bildad''', a strange cross of beaver and waterfowl; it's so quick, it can dive into the water and catch a fish before it even makes a splash.
* The '''Boont''', a bear with deer's antlers, similar to a Jackalope in how easily a specimen can be made by creative taxidermy. The Boont is notable as the symbol of Booneville, California, a small town in the mountains which, sometime in the late 19th century, began using a new and distinct language. The Boont is also the symbol of the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, a beer manufacturer located in Booneville.
* The '''Cactus Cat''', which is [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin pretty much exactly what you're imagining]], and may or may not feed on peyote.
* The '''Central American Whintosser''', an aggressive carnivore with a long tent-shaped body covered in legs that allow it to walk sideways and upside down.
* The '''Dingbat''', a horned bat that is so fast it can catch and swallow bullets in midair without harm.
* The '''Dungavenhooter''' resembles an alligator, except that it has no mouth, a club-like tail, and massive nostrils. It attacks drunken loggers, pounding them into a gas with its tail before inhaling the gas for consumption.
* The '''Funeral Mountain Terrashot''', which resembles an open casket on four legs. They migrate across Nevada in single file, but many die and leave coffin-shaped holes in the ground.
* The '''Fur-Bearing Trout''', a fish that grows a downy white coat to survive cold winters in the Great Lakes. A popular choice for taxidermist humour.
* The '''Gillygaloo''', a bird that inhabits the Pyramid Forty built by Myth/PaulBunyan; it lays cube-shaped eggs, which are hard-boiled by outdoorsmen and used as gaming dice.
* The '''Glawackus''', a mixture of every (real) dangerous predator that stalks the northeastern American wilderness.
* The '''Goofang''' is a fish that only swims backwards in order to keep the flow of water out of its sensitive eyes.
* The '''Goofus Bird''', a bird that flies backwards because it likes to see where it's ''been'', not where it's ''going''; maintaining the "backwards" theme, the Goofus Bird builds upside-down, igloo-shaped nests on tree branches, with the eggs resting on the ceiling. Nobody ever figured out how it managed to do it.
* The '''Gumberoo''', a bear-like creature native to the Pacific Northwest with hairless, rubbery skin that deflects all bullets. Forest fires cause them to explode, for some reason, leaving behind only a smell akin to burning tires.
* The '''Hide-Behind''' is generally impossible to physically describe, as it's always hiding behind something: a tree, a rock, [[ParanoiaFuel your chair as you read this entry...]]
* The '''Hoop Snake''', a shy creature that [[{{Ouroboros}} bites its own tail]] and rolls away like a wheel at the sight of danger. [[YowiesAndBunyipsAndDropBearsOhMy Also sighted in Australia.]]
* The '''Hugag''', a vaguely moose-like animal without knees. It sleeps by leaning on its side over a tree.
* The '''Joint Snake''', a snake that can [[SegmentedSerpent split into many different segments]] that each go their own way when it's threatened; [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant it does not, as far as we know, enjoy marijuana.]]
* The '''Lucive''', or '''Loup-Cervier''', which looks like an adorable fawn but is in fact a bloodthirsty predator with the terrible jaws of a wolf.
* The '''Lufferlang''', a GiantSpider with a horse's head. Extremely swift and ferocious, it can only be repelled with a mirror, as the only thing that terrifies it is its own hideousness.
* The '''Pinnacle Grouse''' has only one wing, so it can only fly in a circle, usually around the circumference of a hill or a mountain. Its feathers change colour with the seasons.
* The '''Roperite''', a flightless bird with a lasso-like appendage at the end of its beak which it uses to catch prey. Found in the Sierra Nevada.
* The '''Rumtifusel''', a forest creature that looks like a misplaced fur coat...until it devours those who try it on.
* The '''Shagamaw''', which resembles a bear with the hind legs of a moose. It eats the unguarded clothes of lumberjacks and alternates the usage of its mismatched feet to confuse hunters.
* The '''Slide Rock Bolter''' is a huge whale-like monster from Colorado that lies in wait at the top of mountain slopes, latching on with its clawed tail. When prey walks underneath, it slides down, tearing through all obstacles and swallowing its victim.
* The '''Snallygaster''', a one-eyed, blood-drinking dragon-like creature from Maryland with a beak as tough as steel and tentacles for a tongue. Its mortal enemy is the '''Dewayo''', a bipedal wolf-like beast.
* The Snallygaster should not be confused with the '''Snoligoster''', which resembles a hairy, legless crocodile with a propeller on its tail and a big spike on its back that it uses to to carry kills until it gets hungry.
* The '''Snow Snake''', a vicious white reptile that hides in the snow with only its pink eyes sticking out, stalking (often human) prey. It is often cited as the cause of ski or snowboard accidents, as it kills by tripping its prey.
* The '''Snow Wasset''' is a large weasel-like animal that swims through deep snowdrifts like a shark and hibernates in summer.
* The '''Splinter Cat''', a cat with a hard skull it uses to slam against tree trunks and knock its food from the branches above. Native to the Pacific Northwest.
* The '''Teakettler''', a shy corgi-like animal named for its incessant whistling and the steam that issues from its mouth.
* The '''Tripodero''', a tube-snouted creature with telescoping legs that spits pellets of mud at small prey like a sniper.
* The '''Upland Trout''' is a fish with wings that dislikes water, so it builds its nest in trees. Can often be seen in taxidermy.
* The '''Wampus Cat''', which resembles a cougar, but [[WasOnceAMan is in fact a Cherokee woman]] cursed with a feline form. Its yowl is said to be an omen of death, and it has been blamed for many disappearances and attacks in Tennessee and neighboring states. Also the mascot of a number of institutions in its home range.
* The '''Wapaloosie''', an arboreal creature from the Pacific Northwest resembling a mouse with a caterpillar-like body. Its fur is extremely soft, but anything made from it becomes animate, with a penchant for climbing things.
* The '''Whirling Whimpus''', a gorilla-like monster that spins itself around like Taz from ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' to pursue prey.
* The '''Wunk''' is a retiring critter that hides by digging a hole, jumping in, and then pulling the hole in after it.

See also: YowiesAndBunyipsAndDropBearsOhMy. Contrast OurCryptidsAreMoreMysterious.
!!Examples in fiction:


[[folder: Film]]
* ''Film/BrotherhoodOfTheWolf'' has the lead character show the Fur Bearing Trout to French aristocrats until one catches onto the forgery. It allows him to talk about his theory on the nature of the Wolf.

[[folder: Literature]]
* A 1996 short story by Nancy Springer titled "Byrd Song" centers around an outcast girl who meets a Squonk, and was published in ''Bruce Coville's Book of Magic''.
* Several critters appear in the [[TheMunchausen [=McBroom=]]] series by Creator/SidFleischman, notably ''[=McBroom=]'s Zoo''. They include the Desert Goo-fang, the Compass Cat, and the Great 17-Toed Hairy Prairie Hidebehind.
* Several of Creator/ManlyWadeWellman's ''Literature/SilverJohn'' stories; particularly "The Desrick on Yandro", which features several varieties of Critter. John himself is the only man ever to have seen the Behinder and lived (it was concentrating on being behind someone else at the time); he declines to describe it, saying only that he'd have been happier not to have had to look at it.
* Creator/AlvinSchwartz's children's book ''Kickle Snifters and Other Fearsome Critters'' is a bestiary of these beings.
* The eponymous subject of the James Whitcomb Riley poem "The Raggedy Man" is an expert in this field of study.
* The children's book ''The Terrible Hodag'' by Caroline Arnold.
* A significant number of these creatures live on another planet in ''Timberjak''.
* "Jackalope Wives" by Creator/UrsulaVernon features jackalopes, depicting them as a desert version of SelkiesAndWereseals.
* Many of these have been mentioned as real creatures in the Literature/InCryptid series (plus an additional one of the author's own creation, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin screaming yams]]), jackalopes are noted as being delicious and requiring annual hunts to trim their husks (i.e. herds) of aging males who might otherwise slow their migration.
* Creator/AlanDeanFoster wrote a short story collection about Mad Amos Malone, a mountain man in the Wild West. One of his adventures involved taking a British GreatWhiteHunter to bag a jackalope, only for him to lose it when [[OhCrap they discover the jackalope's natural predator]].
* ''Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians'': In ''The Titan's Curse'', Artemis offhandedly mentions turning a boy into a jackalope [[DisproportionateRetribution for having stumbled upon her Hunt]] (and considering what happened in the original myths to people that did this, that's getting off light). Given how she later says she likes making jackalopes, this was likely a repeat event.
* The Hodag is mentioned in passing on ''Literature/TedsCavingPage''.
* The 2017 edition of ''Literature/FantasticBeastsAndWhereToFindThem'' includes the Hidebehind, the Snallygaster, the Wampus Cat, and the Hodag as new additions.

[[folder: LiveActionTelevision]]
* One episode of ''Series/EerieIndiana'' featured a jackalope, with the revelation that the ones that people are familiar with are [[spoiler: [[GiganticAdultsTinyBabies babies, while an adult is]] Franchise/{{Godzilla}}-sized]].
* ''[[Series/AmericasFunniestHomeVideos America's Funniest People]]'' had a recurring sketch featuring a KarmicTrickster jackalope named Jack Ching Badda Bing.
* The distinctive badge of ''Series/OddSquad'' features a cartoon jackalope, which makes all sorts of different animal noises during transitions between scenes.

[[folder: Music]]
* The song "Squonk" by Music/{{Genesis}} is entirely about the title creature and the famous legend that surrounds it: a man manages to capture the elusive being, trapping it in a bag; however, when he tries to show off his find to others, he finds that his bag is full of water. The Squonk, morose, has dissolved into its own tears.
* A line from Music/SteelyDan's song "Any Major Dude Will Tell You": "Have you ever seen a Squonk's tears? / Well, look at mine"
* Rapper MC Frontalot mentions the creature in the song 'Scare Goat', with the lines "Got a Mongolian Death Worm at my house, right next to Squonk and the Aqueous Mouse..."
* A Canadian industrial music band has named itself for the animal, using the spelling Jakalope.
* Composer Don Bodin recorded a song called "Ghost of the Jackalope" on his fourth studio album, "The Radioactive Werewolf."

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/BloomCounty'' had a basselope -- a cross between a basset hound and an antelope, which bred with a rabbit to make jackabasselopes.

[[folder: Tabletop Gaming]]
* ''TableTopGame/MagicTheGathering'' features a card called "[[https://magiccards.info/ex/en/111.html Jackalope Herd]]".
-->''There is little more demeaning than having your butt whupped by a bunch of bunnies.''
* ''TableTopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' has the Hodag and quite a few other cryptids and American folkloric beasts in it, even including an {{Expy}} of the Jersey Devil.
* ''TableTopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' has Fearsome Critters among its "abominations", such as jackalopes and catamounts (evil, supernatural versions of the mountain lion).
* ''TableTopGame/D20Modern'' includes various American monsters, such as the Montauk Demon (a trans-dimensional evil EnergyBeing race that was attracted to Earth by the Philadelphia Experiment).
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'' features numerous American folkloric creatures in its ''Paranormal Animals'' monster books, including the agropelter, the hoop snake, and the Devil Jack Diamond fish.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* The UsefulNotes/{{PlayStation 2}} game ''Culdcept'' features the Squonk as a playable creature card.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Rampage}}: Total Destruction'', there is a monster known as Jack the Jackalope.
* Jackalopes are enemies in [[VideoGame/RedneckRampage Redneck Rampage Rides Again]]. A giant version also appears as the final boss.
* "VideoGame/SamAndMaxHitTheRoad" described jackalopes as the bastard sons of Piltdown Man.
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'' will rarely have a jackalope show up in the wilderness; not capturable, no less difficult to hit than regular rabbits, but with the added bonus of skinning it for extra antlers and an achievement.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIV: Heavensward'', Squonk is the name of one of the B-class hunt marks in the Sea of Clouds. It doesn't look anything like its namesake, however, being merely a giant version of one of the Paissa enemies in the area.
* The "rabbits" in ''VideoGame/DontStarve'' have antlers, implying they are really jackalopes.

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* A jackalope is one of the residents of Gillitie Forest in ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt''. Gillitie Forest is in the UK, but appears to attract mythical creatures from all over the world.
* Pellinore shot a jackalope in the Western arc of ''Webcomic/ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'', apparently the setting's equivalent of the Questing Beast.
* In ''Webcomic/CharbyTheVampirate'' Kavonn hates jackalopes with a passion as his MagicHat is infested with them and they [[PullARabbitOutOfMyHat often land on his head]] while he is wearing it.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebOriginal/{{Mortasheen}}'' has the [[http://www.bogleech.com/mortasheen/skwunk.htm Sqwunk]], based on the Squonk, a useless byproduct of monster creation. Incredibly ugly, it weeps openly if its face is seen and dissolved into tears if it sees itself in a mirror.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* The [[WesternAnimation/PixarShorts Pixar short]] ''Boundin'' features a sheep, despondent after having been sheared of his wool, receiving comfort and wisdom from a passing "Great American Jackalope".
* ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' "Where the Deer and the Mousealopes Play": Brain and Pinky put on fake antlers and pretend that they are [[LastOfHisKind the last "mousealopes"]] in a scheme to take over UsefulNotes/{{Pittsburgh}}.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'' featured a monstrous Jackalope named One-Eyed Jack.
* One episode of ''WesternAnimation/EarthwormJim'' featured the Giant Fur-Bearing Trout, an ancient being of sacred wisdom.
* ''Franchise/ScoobyDoo''
** A Hodag appears as a monster of the week in Season 2 of WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated
** A jackalope appears in ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooAndTheAlienInvaders''. Even Shaggy'd thought they were fake.
** The DC ''Scooby Doo'' comics featured a segment, in which Velma describes several to the readers. [[http://johnrozum.blogspot.ca/2013/10/31-days-of-halloween-day-29.html See here.]]
* One of the ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' shorts focuses around the Hide Behind, depicted at the end as a dark, slender, skeletal silhouette that contorts itself in various ways to hide behind things.
** [[http://gravityfalls.wikia.com/wiki/File:Opening_monsters.png A picture of a jackalope]] appears in the shows opening, and there's a [[http://gravityfalls.wikia.com/wiki/File:S1e6_cute_biker_at_mystery_shack_fur_trout.png mounted fur trout]] for sale in the gift shop.
** [[InsistentTerminology It's an Antle-abbit. Jackalope doesn't sound right.]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/SheriffCalliesWildWest'', Bo maintains a pen filled with jackalopes. They're somewhat feisty and prone to trying to escape, but Sheriff Callie is able to rope them up with her trusty noodle lasso.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Jackalopes often appear as background fauna. They get along well with normal rabbits -- at the very least, a jackalope and a a rabbit in Fluttershy's menagerie seem to share a den.
** In ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyEquestriaGirlsFriendshipGames Friendship Games]]'', a jackalope is the first creature to enter the human world when Twilight starts to open portals by accident. Spike starts chasing it, and that's what leads him into jumping into the stream of magic that gave him the ability to speak.
** In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicIDWIssue1To4 the first arc]] of the IDW comic, Rainbow Dash is attacked by [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampiric]] jackalopes with brightly colored coats and sharp fangs. As the names suggests, these are very much the aggressive kind of jackalope, and are also the natural enemies of the {{chupacabra}}.