The jackalope is extremely rare and unfortunately rumored to be extinct. In scarce and special occurrences, visitors to Washington State Parks have reported witnessing herds of jackalope grazing and hopping through the eastern side of the state. Known for their aggressive tendencies, park visitors are advised to keep a safe distance from these animals and to report sightings to the park ranger. Their diet includes dandelions, huckleberries, hot dogs and s’mores. These agile, opportunistic, and crude animals have the ability to mimic campground chatter and will attack if cornered or provoked. Also known as the “warrior rabbit,” this antlered species of rabbit comes out of hibernation in early spring.
Native to the American West, jackalopes are most commonly sighted in the states of Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska. The town of Douglas, Wyoming, has declared itself to be the Jackalope capital of America because the first jackalope was encountered there by John Colter on April 1,1829. Recent sightings, like that by April Phoolsdae at Riverside State Park, have indicated increasing populations in the Columbia Plateau. The Washington State Parks Foundation (WSPF) received several reports of jackalope sightings last spring at Steamboat Rock, Riverside, and Steptoe Butte State Park. According to reports, jackalopes are very shy unless approached. If you encounter a jackalope unexpectedly, quickly fall to the ground, remain calm and hum the Roy Rogers song, “Happy Trails to You.”
If you happen snap a photo of a jackalope in the wild, please send it to us, via our free state parks photo contest we’d love to see it!