Considering the fact that I take care of animals for a living, it may come as a surprise that I'm really interested in taxidermy. I know some people think its crude or cruel but I've always found it fascinating. I think it's a way to pay tribute to a beautiful powerful animal who once lived and also a way for hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts to learn about these creatures and enjoy them after they're no longer in the land of the living.
I first saw a jackalope as a recurring character on America's Funniest Home Videos as a kid but never gave it much thought. I figured it was a jokey TV thing. Then, shortly after moving to Wyoming when I was 15, I encountered a mounted jackalope head in the local Dairy Queen. I was mesmerized. "Is it real? No way, it's not real, right? But it looks so real..." Ever since then I've always taken an extra moment to examine one when I come across it.
I've always wondered who in the world thought up a jackalope and how they became such "a thing". It turns out that rabbits infected with Shope Papilloma Virus can grow horn-like tumors on their heads and faces. It's believed that sighting of such rabbits in the wild is what lead to the myth of the jackalope.
Interesting and bizarre, that's for sure. But that's nature at it's best, I suppose.