Friday, September 26, 2008

... where the wolpertinger roams ....


The Wolpertinger (Crisensus bavaricus) (also called "Wolperdinger", "Poontinger" or "Woiperdinger") is a fictional animal said to inhabit the alpine forests of Bavaria in Germany. It has body parts of various animals — generally wings, antlers, and fangs, all attached to the body of a small mammal. The most widespread description is that of a horned rabbit or a horned squirrel. It is similar to the Rasselbock of the Thuringian Forest, the Elwedritsche of the Palatinate region, which is described as a chicken-like creature with antlers, and to the American invention of the jackalope, as well as to the Swedish Skvader.

Stuffed Wolpertingers, composed of parts of real stuffed animals, are often displayed in inns or sold to tourist as souvenirs in the animals' "native regions".

The Wolpertinger is not a typical cryptid, as local people probably never believed in its existence. Rather, it is some kind of traditional joke, as is evident from the many stuffed Wolpertingers displayed in village inns along with real hunting trophies, which have been fabricated deliberately in order to make fun of gullible foreigners who may want to go hunting for this remarkable animal.

Like the jackalope, the Wolpertinger is thought to have been inspired by sightings of wild rabbits infected with the Shope papilloma virus, which causes the growth of antler-like tumors in various places on the rabbit's head and body.

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