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Fearsome Critters of American Folklore

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The terrible Hodag, captured on film (allegedly) by Eugene Shepard, 1893.

The Fearsome Critters are a group of mythical beings from the Tall Tales told by European colonists in North America, mainly in New England (naturally), and to a lesser degree in forested Midwest states such as Wisconsin and Minnesota, in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Despite that, 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 Paul Bunyan—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 sasquatch and the wendigo are not Fearsome Critters.

For further research: Fearsome Critter Database at, Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, by William T. Cox (1910), Fearsome Critters, by Henry H. Tryon (1939). The Pine Barrens Institute also has some great articles.

Some of the notable Critters are:

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     The Guyascutus

Known by myriad 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".

     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.

     The Jackalope

The most famous southwestern Critter, popular in Texas, New Mexico, and southern California.note  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 Ronald Reagan 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. The best bait for them is said to be their favorite drink, whiskey. Of course, that's only one interpretation; it's occasionally described as a vicious killer rabbit, and residents of snowier parts of the West will sometimes troll tourists by claiming that the snow fences along highways are actually seating for watching Jackalope races. 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 afflicted with the Shope papilloma virus, a disease endemic among cottontail rabbits in North America that causes the growth of large, horn-like carcinomas from the head and face.

Interestingly, there are jackalope-like creatures in folklore from other countries; Arabia has the Mi'raj (carnivorous rabbit with a unicorn horn), Sweden has the Skvader (half rabbit, half wood grouse, usually depicted as a winged rabbit), and Germany has both the Rasselbock (a rabbit with roe deer antlers) and the Wolpertinger (whose depictions vary between regions, but the most iconic is either a winged Rasselbock or a creature with a rabbit's head, deer's antlers, bird's wings, and squirrel's body & tail).

     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 the mascot of Rhinelander High School. Bears a suspiciously strong resemblance to a Native American creature called Mishipeshu, with rock art depictions and legends of the latter monster often being found in areas the hodag has been popularized.

Lesser-known (but no less Fearsome) Critters:

  • The Agropelter, a little-seen forest creature resembling an ape with long arms. It hides among the trees and throws sticks and stones at anyone intending to cut down its home.
  • The Averasboro Gallinipper, a hawk-sized mosquito from North Carolina able to drain a man of his blood in one bite.
  • 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.
  • 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 Digmaul or the Slivercatnote .
  • Bedcats are strange creatures that were the results of bedbugs that were mutated into bobcat-hybrids after feasting on the blood of bobcat themselves after being driven out by Paul Bunyan.
  • The Bearbehind, a strange creature with the lower half of a bear but with the upperhalf of a human, most notably either a minister or a politician. It's also a sort of a con-artist. Not to be confused with the Hide-Behind.
  • The Bildad, a strange hybrid with the body of a beaver, the limbs of a kangaroo, and the beak of a bird; 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 pretty much exactly what you're imagining. It loves to get intoxicated on fermented cactus juice, becoming rowdy, noisy, and aggressive.
  • Camp Chipmunks, Tigermunks or Vilas County Tigers are simply chipmunks that grew into the size dimensions and ferocity of tigers after eating prune pits that were discarded by Paul Bunyan. They were later exterminated by Bunyan and his group after the chipmunks were killing the bears and mountain lions in the area.
  • 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 Coachwhip Snake, which constricts its prey and lashes it with its whiplike tail. Shares its name with an actual species of nonvenomous North American snake.
  • The Cobra Chicken is really a recent slang term for the Canada Goose but it doesn't stop artists from depicting it as a cockatrice-like creature with features of both the Canada Goose and a typical cobra
  • The Columbia River Sand Squink of Washington has the body of a coyote, the fur pattern of a bobcat, the tail of a squirrel, and the ears of a jackrabbit. Its fur is charged with electricity due to its diet of electric eels, and it lays eggs made of bakelite (a type of plastic).
  • The Come-at-a-Body resembles a small lion, named because it loves to jump out of the bush and charge at people while making a terrible roar. However, it always stops when just in front of its victim and leaves them behind unharmed.
  • The Cuero, an octopus/stingray-like creature that resembles a piece of cowhide left out to dry when still (its name means "leather" in Spanish), but with tentacles tipped in hooked claws on its underside. Said to live in the shallows of streams and rivers, it's an ambush predator that snares prey with a taste for human and donkey flesh. This one hails from further south than the rest, being originally from Chile.
  • The Dingbat is a winged creature with antlers from Wisconsin that flies so fast it can catch bullets in mid-air and drinks gasoline from cars - all in order to frustrate hunters.
  • The Dog-Mosquito is a hybrid of dog and mosquito that allegedly is from Mexico and it said to come out at night where it would be more difficult to spot. The females bring their young out where they sit on tree branches and bark incessantly.
  • The Duck-Footed Dum-Dum, named for its webbed feet, is a cat-like critter with two tails it uses to beat its drum-like body as it walks.
  • 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 Flambeau Ambler is a fish with legs it uses to get to different rivers. Even weirder however, is that its flesh tastes different depending on how it's cooked (like chicken when fried, like lobster when boiled, like pork if roasted, and like steak if broiled)
  • The Funeral Mountain Terrashot, which resembles an open casket on four legs. They migrate across Nevada in single file, but many die, exploding in the process and leaving 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 humor.
  • The Gazunk is a bird with holes in its beak that allow it to play music in a similar manner to a flute.
  • The Giddy Fish, a small and unremarkable-looking fish that is as stretchy and bouncy as rubber.
  • The Gillygaloo, a bird that inhabits the Pyramid Forty built by Paul Bunyan; 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 Goat Man, any of several entities at the center of a number of regional legends, Prince George's County, Maryland; Pope Lick, Kentucky; and Lake Worth, Texas being three of the most famous. Descriptions vary even within an area, but generally agree on it being some mixture of human and goat, the Lake Worth version notably having scales and vague aquatic features.
  • The Goofang is a perch-like fish that only swims backwards in order to keep the flow of water out of its sensitive eyes.
  • The Goofus Bird, a goose-like 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 Gowrow is a twenty-foot-long reptilian monster from the Ozarks of Arkansas that resembles a wingless dragon with the tusks of a warthog and a tail that ends in a blade. It's every bit as ferocious as you can imagine it to be, and is named for the sound of its roar.
  • 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 Gyanther or Guyanther, a horse-sized leopard-like creature with a unicorn horn on it's forehead and its feet were round and the toes and claws evenly spaced around its circumference.
  • The Hellidid is a creature that resembles a hybrid between a zebra and an anteater with four ostrich-legs that's a specialist of yucca leaves.
  • The Hide-Behind is generally impossible to physically describe, as it's always hiding behind something: a tree, a rock, your chair as you read this entry...
  • The Hoop Snake, a shy creature that bites its own tail and rolls away like a wheel at the sight of danger. It is known to attack people by rolling at them to impale them with its tail, which administers a near-fatal poison. Also sighted in Australia.
  • The Hugag, a gigantic, vaguely moose-like animal with a hairless head, floppy ears, an oversized upper lip, and fur like pine needles that ooze pitch (caused by its diet of pine trees). Because it has no knees, it sleeps by leaning on its side against a tree or some other large object.note 
  • The Icegedunk, a seal-like beast found in Canada and Alaska. As it lives entirely on land, it has evolved a wheel-like appendage in place of hind flippers that it uses to scoot around the ice like some freaky tricycle. It will even stop at service stations as a way to "refuel" itself by getting its "wheel" patched up.
  • The Joint Snake, a snake that can split into many different segments that each go their own way when it's threatened; 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 Luf(f)erlang, a ferocious horse-like monster with a venomous bite, triple-jointed spider-like legs that allow it to crawl in any direction, and a blue-striped tail on its back. It can only be repelled with a mirror, as the only thing that terrifies it is its own hideousness. Often confused with Old Spider Legs, a similar creature that’s basically a horse-spider hybrid.
  • The Melon Heads are beings from Ohio, Michigan, and Connecticut generally described as small humanoids with bulbous heads who occasionally emerge from hiding places to attack people.
  • The Milking Snake loves to sneak into barns and gorge itself on the milk of cows directly from the udder. The real-life milk snake gets its name from this Fearsome Critter.
  • The Pamoola, or Pomola is a large sabertooth cat-like predator with the body build of a panther and four saberteeth in it's upper jaw. It apparently has a taste for women and only lighting strikes can kill it.
  • The Piasau is a large minotaur-like creature with wings, a very long tail and the ability to breath fire. It's a corruption of the myth of the Native American Piasa Bird.
  • 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 color with the seasons.
  • Razor-Shins, an immortal humanoid resembling a Native American man with razor sharp shin bones and a thrist for liquor during the Prohibition Era. New employees were encouraged to leave a jug of Bangor whisky outside of the camp door on the night of the full moon. If Razor-Shins emptied the jug by morning, he might use his razor-sharp shinbones to fell a tree for the new man. But there were tales of new employees caught in the woods by Razor-Shins and scalped or otherwise mutilated after failing to offer the customary tribute.
  • 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 remains of its victims resemble owl pellets.
  • Saskipogo, or Saskapogo, is a Stock Ness Monster from Saskatchewan, Canada with the head of a wombat and the body of a goldfish. Named after British Columbia's Ogopogo, Saskipogo lives in the (entirely fictional) Lake Saskatchewannote . Supposedly, the story was invented by the people of Saskatchewan because their province is the only one without a prominent lake monster.
  • The Shagamaw has the front half of a bear and the hindquarters of a moose. It eats the unguarded clothes of lumberjacks and alternates the usage of its mismatched feet to confuse hunters.
  • The Sizzerbill is a waterbird with a beak that opens sideways like a pair of scissors, which it uses to cut fishermen's lines.
  • 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 Dwayyo, or Dewayo, a bipedal wolf-like beast every bit as ferocious and aggressive to humans as its archenemy. Battles between these two monsters result in vast acres of countryside being torn up.
  • 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 Squasholiger, a very large kind of squash that grows legs upon reaching a certain age and promptly walks away from the place it was planted.
  • The Swamp Auger, a part-bird, part-fish critter that drills holes in the bottom of boats with its corkscrew-like snout. It can be driven away by irritating its nose (such as tickling it or sprinkling it with pepper).
  • The Teakettler, a shy corgi-like animal named for its incessant whistling and the steam that issues from its mouth.
  • The Tree-squeak is heard more than it is seen, for this weasel-like creature can change color like an octopus and imitate any sound.
  • The Tripodero, a tube-snouted bird 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 Wamp, a bag-shaped, raccoon-sized animal with a saltshaker at the end of its tail that it uses to deposit salt at the base of trees for deer to lick up.
  • The Wampus Cat, which resembles a cougar but with six legs, but 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. There's also a variant from Idaho that's called a Catawampus that’s bipedal with four limbs and also has extendable arms that uses them to capture it’s preferred prey, birds of prey mid-flight with, one of which is known as the Turkeagle, a hybrid between a turkey and an eagle, hence the name.
  • 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 Looney Tunes to pursue prey, which turns into syrup when hit at it's high speeds.
  • The Will-Am-Alone is a squirrel-like creature that rolls hallucinogenic lichens into balls & then drops the round pellets into the ears & eyelids of sleeping lumbermen, mostly drunks. The unforunate victims are then subjected into violent fits of hallucinogenic rage, combined with their alcoholism.
  • The Wouser or Wowzer, a creature resembling a very large hybrid between a cougar and a bear that prefers the blood of ranchers' cattle, rather than their flesh.
  • The Wunk is a retiring skunk-like critter that hides by digging a hole, jumping in, and then pulling the hole in after it.

See also: Yowies and Bunyips and Drop Bears, Oh My and The Jersey Devil. Contrast Our Cryptids Are More Mysterious.

Examples in fiction:

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  • Lunchables commercials features a jackalope named Jackie as a co-mascot to a platypus.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Episode 5 of Made in Abyss features the Inbyos, a species of wiry-limbed ape-like creatures that live qin the Inverted Forest and throw rocks and sticks at people, highly reminiscent of the Agropelter.
  • Episode 10 of Saving 80,000 Gold in Another World for My Retirement has Mitsuha learning that her firearms' instructor was having a cookout, so she popped over to the other world using her Dimensional Traveler abilities to hunt some of the horned rabbits there. Naturally, the others make the comparison to Jackalopes when she brings them to the cookout.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • Hillbilly features the Taily-Po, a sort of cat-like creature from Appalachian folklore, as a recurring villain.

    Film — Animated 
  • Bobs Broken Sleigh: a Ball-Tailed Cat, Hidebehind, and Fur-Bearing Trout all appear as main characters.
  • Zootopia: The prehistoric rabbit mannequin at the museum has a pair of small, Jackalope-like antlers along with huge saber-tooth canines.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Brotherhood of the Wolf 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.
  • The Field Guide to Evil: "Beware the Melonheads" revolves around an American family that moves to a cabin in the woods, but when their son meets an 'imaginary' friend, things take a dark, creepy turn.

  • Alan Dean Foster wrote a short story collection about Mad Amos Malone, a mountain man in the Wild West. One of his adventures involved taking a British Great White Hunter to bag a jackalope, only for him to lose it when they discover the jackalope's natural predator.
  • Book of Imaginary Beings:
    • Several are described under "Fauna of the United States", including the axehandle hound, which is shaped like a hatchet and eats the handles of the same; the gillygaloo, a bird whose square eggs lumberjacks hard-boil to use as dice; the goofang, a fish that swims backwards to keep the water out of its eyes; the goofus bird, which flies backwards and makes upside-down nests; the hidebehind, which is always hiding behind something and is impossible to escape; the pinnacle grouse, whose single wing forces it to fly in circles around a single mountain peak; the flightless roperite bird, which uses its lasso-like beak to ensnare rabbits; the teakettler, a dog with feline ears that makes noises like boiling kettles, issues smoke from its mouth and walks backwards; and the winged upland trout, which nests in trees and fears water. Borges notes that, in all likelihood, nobody ever believed that these things really existed.
    • The squonk (Lacrimacorpus dissolvens, meaning "dissolving tear-body") is given a chapter of its own. They live only in hemlock forests in Pennsylvania, and are in a state of constant grief due to their ill-fitting, wart-covered skin. They weep wherever they go, making them easy to track, and if caught, cornered or even simply surprised they dissolve into tears.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Magic: Byrd Song, a 1996 short story by Nancy Springer, centers around an outcast girl who meets a Squonk bird.
  • The Speculative Biology book Cryptozoologicon includes a hypothetical real-life interpretation of the Hoop Snake.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The 2017 edition includes the Hidebehind, the Snallygaster, the Wampus Cat and the Hodag as new additions.
  • InCryptid: Many of these have been mentioned as real creatures, plus an additional one of the author's own creation, 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. In one short story, Alice finds a baby hodag and temporarily keeps it as a pet.
  • Kickle Snifters and Other Fearsome Critters, by Alvin Schwartz, is a bestiary of these beings.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: In The Titan's Curse, Artemis offhandedly mentions turning a boy into a jackalope 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.
  • Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: In Cookies and Campers, in the camp's nature barn, there's a Jackalope on exhibition:
    Moll Carle: The Jackalope. Made by skilled taxidermists to rope in gullible dopes in the hopes that they'd spend their cash in town while they tried to hunt down one for their own.
  • "The Raggedy Man": The eponymous subject of this James Whitcomb Riley poem is an expert in this field of study.
  • Sid Fleischman: Several critters appear in the McBroom series, notably McBroom's Zoo. They include the Desert Goo-fang, the Compass Cat, and the Great 17-Toed Hairy Prairie Hidebehind.
  • Silver John: Several stories feature such critters, particularly "The Desrick on Yandro", which features several varieties. John himself may be the only man ever to have seen the Behinder (aka the Hidebehind) 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.
  • Timberjak: A significant number of these creatures live on another planet.
  • Ted's Caving Page: The Hodag is mentioned in passing.
  • Ursula Vernon: "Jackalope Wives" depicts jackalopes as a desert version of Selkies and Wereseals.

    Live-Action TV 
  • America's Funniest People has a recurring sketch featuring a Karmic Trickster jackalope named Jack Ching Badda Bing.
  • Eerie, Indiana: One episode features a jackalope, with the revelation that the ones that people are familiar with are babies, while an adult is Godzilla-sized.
  • Odd Squad: The mascot of the organization is a jackalope, which makes all sorts of different animal noises during transitions between scenes. According to a Facebook interview video with Oprah, the jackalope was picked as the organization's mascot because many agents stated it was their favorite animal when surveyed.
  • Lost Girl depicts a squonk, like almost every other supernatural being, as a type of fae. Instead of a hideous creature, they look human, and are often used by a drug lords for their tears which can make one feel happy when consumed. In an allusion to the original myths, squonks can't be moved against their will or they'll literally burst into tears. This means drug Lord's have to manipulate them into captivity, and also makes rescuing them even harder for heroes like Bo.

  • Don Bodin recorded a song called "Ghost of the Jackalope" on his fourth studio album, "The Radioactive Werewolf".
  • Genesis: The song "Squonk" 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.
  • Jakalope, a Canadian industrial music band, names itself for the animal.
  • MC Frontalot mentions the creature in "Scare Goat", with the lines "Got a Mongolian Death Worm at my house, right next to Squonk and the Aqueous Mouse..."
  • Steely Dan: A line from "Any Major Dude Will Tell You" runs "Have you ever seen a Squonk's tears? / Well, look at mine"
  • Miike Snow have the silhouette of a jackalope as their logo, which appears in each of their albums' cover arts.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Bloom County has a basselope — a cross between a basset hound and an antelope. The original version crossbred with a rabbit to make jackabasselopes, while in the 2016 revival, his antlers are actually inflated with helium.. or something.. and allow him to fly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • d20 Modern includes various American monsters, such as the Montauk Demon (a trans-dimensional evil Energy Being race that was attracted to Earth by the Philadelphia Experiment).
  • Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: The Tome of Beasts series of sourcebooks by Kobold Press have several examples.
    • Wampus cats are created when a priest curses a woman, transforming her into a carnivorous beast that maintains her old head but now fixed to the body of a mountain lioness. They have a Compelling Voice they use to seek revenge on men, especially the male priests who created them in the first place.
    • Hodags are vicious woodland brutes vaguely resembling giant cats with toad-like heads sporting both sabre teeth and bull's horns, a row of spikes down their back, and covered in green-and-brown-striped fur.
    • Aniwyes are an unusual example in that they are based on Native American Mythology rather than the folklore of the colonists. They're a race of giant wereskunks, able to assume to switch between the form of an ogre or a hill giant and the form of a bear-sized predatory skunk armed with lethally poisonous musk. Their "human" forms can be distinguished by the fact they always have jet black hair parted by a white stripe.
  • Deadlands has Fearsome Critters among its "abominations", such as jackalopes (corpse-eaters who manipulate luck to cause fatal accidents) and catamounts (evil, supernatural versions of the mountain lion).
  • GURPS Fantasy Bestiary includes several types of fearsome critters.
    • Cactus cats are very speedy felines with sharp projections of bone growing from their paws. Their favorite method of attack is to run quickly by their targets, slashing them with their blades as they go. They are also known to enjoy eating psychoactive cacti, hence their name.
    • Hodags are fierce, swamp-dwelling beasts about as big as a moose, with a ridge of spines down their backs. They have no knee joints, and thus sleep by leaning against trees. People hunt them by partially sawing through the trees they sleep against, so that these break when the animal leans against them and tip the hodag to the ground. They are also known to walk backward, making them difficult to track.
    • Hoop snakes are highly venomous and can outrun any creature alive while rolling with their tails in their mouths, but must straighten out to pass through rough terrain or over obstacles — as they're much slower when doing this, people pursued by hoop snakes are advised to head for broken terrain.
    • Sliver cats, or ball-tailed cats, are puma-like felines with long tails tipped with bony maces. They wait in trees for passing prey, which they brain with their tails. If a group passes by its hiding spot, a sliver cat will strike the hindmost member and hope the rest won't notice.
  • Pathfinder has quite a few other cryptids and American folkloric beasts in it:
    • Hodags are fierce, hulking reptilian quadrupeds found in isolated wildernesses. They are tenacious and fearsome predators and have gained a reputation for being actively cruel and malicious among the loggers and pioneers that deal with them most often.
    • Digmauls are stout, puma-like cats with tails ending in spiked clubs, and hunt by ambushing prey from high branches and beating it to death with their tail clubs. Silvercats are a variety of rare, bluish-grey digmauls with smooth, rather than spiked, tails.
    • There's even an Expy of the Jersey Devil in the form of the equine, rather than cervine or caprine, Sandpoint Devil.
    • The snallygaster appears pretty much as described above, as a vicious, Chaotic Evil predator. It's said the one thing they enjoy more than drinking blood is drinking alcohol.
    • A more obscure Fearsome Critter, the Gowrow (of Arkansas folklore) also shows up as a kind of small, tusked dragon. The tusks are carried over from folklore, but the wings are a new addition.
    • The cuero appears as a stingray-like river predator known for attacking farmers' livestock, draining them of their blood and leaving the husks on the shore. It's said they seem to have a particular taste for the blood of ungulates.
  • Shadowrun features numerous American folkloric creatures in its monster books, usually as Awakened animals — that is, normal wildlife transformed into magical creatures by the return of magic to the world.
    • Paranormal Animals of North America includes the agropelter (small humanoids descended from Awakened rhesus monkeys and known for making nuisances of themselves), the hoop snake and the Devil Jack Diamond fish (Awakened pike three meters long).
    • Parazoology includes a few additional critters in its section on mutated animals (creatures mutated from normal and Awakened animals by further magical surges and good old-fashioned mutagens). Cactus cats are mutated bobcats native to the Southwest, with green fur and thorny hides; they ambush prey by blending in with cactuses. Jackalopes are the standard antlered rabbits; there are also wolpertingers, which live in Europe and mutated from local European rabbits rather than North American jackrabbits, but the two strains are functionally the same species and produce fertile offspring.

    Video Games 
  • Although she outwardly lacks horns, Amiya from Arknights is based on a jackalope, being of the Cautus race (thus having rabbit ears) and also being the legitimate Sarkaz King (i.e king over a demon-based race who usually bear horns). She later appears wearing a pointed black crown (the Civilight Eterna), giving the image of a horned hare. As a bonus, she is one of the many characters who suffer from an illness that causes hard 'tumors' to grow on skin.
  • Culdcept features the Squonk as a playable creature card.
  • Don't Starve: The "rabbits" have antlers, implying they are really jackalopes.
  • Fallout 76 has numerous mutated creatures that are based off creatures from Appalachian folklore, such as the Beast of Grafton from Grafton, West Virginia, and the Snallygaster, among half a dozen others.
  • In Final Fantasy XIV: 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.
  • Rampage: In Rampage: Total Destruction, there's a monster known as Jack the Jackalope.
  • Red Dead Redemption 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.
  • Redneck Rampage: Jackalopes are enemies in Redneck Rampage Rides Again. A giant version also appears as the final boss.
  • Sam & Max Hit the Road described jackalopes as the bastard sons of Piltdown Man.
  • Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido: A few of the Sushi Sprites resemble some of these creatures, most notably Pyonten evoking a jackalope and Batten with the dingbat, due to the general pattern they have of taking a common animal and giving it horns.

    Visual Novel 
  • Magical Diary: Horse Hall: One monster that can be found in the dunegons, is a Hodag, furry, bipedal, spikes running down its back, horned, and fangish canine teeth.

  • Arthur, King of Time and Space: Pellinore shoots a jackalope in the Western arc, apparently the setting's equivalent of the Questing Beast.
  • Charby the Vampirate: Kavonn hates jackalopes with a passion, as his Magic Hat is infested with them and they often land on his head while he's wearing it.
  • Darwin Carmichael Is Going to Hell: The Hodag makes an appearance as a conceptual artist living in the woods of Upstate New York. He moved there from Wisconsin to go to art school because apparently you get some crazy scholarships for being a Single Specimen Species.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: A jackalope is among the residents of Gillitie Forest. Gillitie Forest is in the UK but appears to attract mythical creatures from all over the world.
  • Huckleberry: A newspaper shows an artist's depiction of a hoopsnake — a snake spinning hula hoops around its body.
  • Penny Blackfeather: Antelabbits, also known as snow spirits, are basically talking jackalopes. The townsfolk think they're rats.
  • Skin Deep: A Jackalope is a resident in the Liverpool Avalon.
  • Rhapsodies: During a camping weekend, Blossom tells a ghost story about the Hide Behind as the start of an elaborate hoax to troll Fran and Olive. (Apparently, there is a "real" Hide Behind. His name's Travis and he's visiting his parents in Arizona.)

    Web Original 
  • Beast Fables: Jackalopes are hares who become chimeras, animals capable of limited shapeshifting, and develop the ability to grow antlers. They're known to be most common in areas where they are lots of antlers and bones for them to gnaw on.
  • Long Gone Gulch 's long-suffering mayor, Rhubarb, is a jackalope, as were his (taxidermied) predecessors and his secretary Marigold. In the pilot he loses one antler in a Bar Brawl started by Rawhide and Snag and takes their sheriff badges as a result.
  • Mortasheen has the 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.
  • No Evil: Jackalopes are the size of horses or cattle, and domesticated as beasts of burden.
  • The Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, while really a creation of the Internet rather than bored lumberjacks, fits the bill as a pseudo-legendary, tongue-in-cheek North American cryptid invented for the purpose of fooling gullible people. The Other Wiki has more information on this famous Internet hoax here.
  • Deviantart user MonstrumAmericanum has a large collection of Fearsome Critter legends (with accompanying art), including many of the creatures described above.
  • The Fur-Bearing Trout (or SCP-2600-EX) is listed as an "Explained" by the SCP Foundation, the result of an overzealous researcher who believed too much childhood folklore. Just because your job is to investigate Unknown Phenomenon doesn't mean that everything you investigate will turn out to exist.
  • TierZoo: The Jackalope is one of the "cryptid" builds discussed in the April Fools' Day episode (despite, as noted above, not being a proper cryptid). In order to unlock the jackalope, a player would need to select a rabbit build and get infected with the shope papilloma virus. While the idea of a rabbit with antlers sounds promising, in reality, these antlers are actually tumorous growths. Because the virus significantly reduces the playtime of rabbit players, the jackalope was placed at the bottom of the game's tier list.
  • Jenny Nicholson made an ASMR Video about converting a plush toy of a trout into a fur-bearing trout with a little bit of needlework.

    Western Animation 
  • Earthworm Jim: One episode features the Giant Fur-Bearing Trout, an ancient being of sacred wisdom.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • One of the shorts focuses on the Hide Behind, depicted at the end as a dark, slender, skeletal silhouette that contorts itself in various ways to hide behind things.
    • There's a mounted fur trout for sale in the Mystery Shack's gift shop.
    • A picture of a jackalope appears in the show's opening. Mabel insists on calling them Antle-abbits, claiming that Jackalope "doesn't sound right".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Jackalopes often appear as background fauna. They get along well with normal rabbits — at the very least, a jackalope and a rabbit in Fluttershy's menagerie seem to share a den.
    • In 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 the first arc of the IDW comic, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie are attacked by vampiric jackalopes with bright pink, blue and yellow coats and sharp fangs, at least one of which has moose rather than deer antlers. As the names suggest, these are very much the aggressive kind of jackalope and are also the natural enemies of the Chupacabra.
  • Pinky and the Brain: In "Where the Deer and the Mousealopes Play", Brain and Pinky put on fake antlers and pretend that they are the last "mousealopes" in a scheme to take over Pittsburgh.
  • Pixar Shorts: Boundin features a sheep, despondent after having been sheared of his wool, receiving comfort and wisdom from a passing "Great American Jackalope".
  • Scooby-Doo:
  • In The Secret Saturdays, the Cactus Cat makes an appearance in the episode "Cryptid vs. Cryptid".
  • Sheriff Callie's Wild West: 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.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: One episode features a monstrous Jackalope named One-Eyed Jack.

  • There's a beer that's named after the Cactus Cat.
  • Version 9.04 of the Linux distro Ubuntu was named Jaunty Jackalope.
  • In a 1953 article of Life magazine, writer Whittaker Chambers referred to Senator Joseph McCarthy as a snallygaster.
  • Sprecher Brewery, based in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, make a watermelon soda with a picture of a hodag on the label.
  • Postcards for sale featuring pictures of various Fearsome Critters abound in tourist spots and gift shops across America. One such postcard is a photograph of the "Western jackalope"; the description on the back claims the photographer lured the animal to within range of his camera by using "a combination of bourbon, baloney and beer."
  • In the early 20th century, the Cascade, Iowa Pioneer newspaper reported that it had been "reliably informed" that a creature composed of several different animals was seen in a pasture near Bernard, Iowa "eating up a horse."


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Fearsome Critters, Jackalope



Having gotten a better grasp of her abilities, Mitsuha decides to bring some Jackalopes to the cookout.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / FearsomeCrittersOfAmericanFolklore

Media sources: