All images copyright Alex CF 2014. Please credit and attach a link if used outside this website. .
Lepus temperamentalus (Jackalope)
The Wolpertinger, sometimes known as the Jackalope in Northern America, is not a true species. Wolpertinger are actually various species of rabbit who have become unfortunate victims of Shope papilloma virus, which causes cancerous horny growths upon the animal. Cases in humans are almost unknown, although we have one example within the collection which can be seen HERE.
This rabbit specimen shows one single large horn from the top of the cranium, and several smaller horns protruding from its spine. Analysis of this specimen did show however that the growths did not afflict the animals ability to live a normal life, were not cancerous and there is evidence that the virus would easily be transmitted to its young. According to Merrylin, a colony of rabbits infected with a unique strain of the virus were found in Lucerne, Switzerland, and all animals lived healthy lives despite their horns, which were apparently “strangely uniform.”
Merrylin hypothesised that it would be possible to consider this as a benign inherited mutation caused by the virus, because the growths themselves were not malignant or life threatening, and appeared in all generations.