Friday, April 1, 2016

Invasion of the Raccoyotes

The current issue of Boise Weekly has An April Fools’ Guide to Idaho History. It continues their tradition of discussing several semi-plausible tales, like 2010’s Dead Men Moving. One involves a creature that is a cross between a raccoon and a coyote:

“Animals were often included in the April Fools' revelry. Idaho children who grew up giggling at tall tales of ‘jack-o-lopes’ might be surprised to learn these elusive creatures weren't the first fantastical hybrids to crop up in the Gem State's isolated places. During the early 1920s, people in town after town along the Snake River were alarmed over reported sightings of ’racooyotes, a particularly ‘ornery and cagey’ cross between coyotes and raccoons. The beasts were said to have first been spotted in the Burley area, lurking in the heavy brush on the banks of the Snake. Even more terrifying than their existence was that the racooyotes were said to run in packs and had been seen taking down deer, free-ranging cattle and even wild mustangs that roamed the high desert south of the river.

In Twin Falls County, the sheriff organized hunting parties to go in search of the ‘vicious, predatory abominations,’ as the Burley Weekly Mailer called them, and was pleased that as many as 50 men showed up with shotguns, rifles, pistols and even sticks of dynamite, to blast the dens of the fast-breeding critters. 

A great deal of anxiety would have been spared the poor people of these Idaho communities had someone noticed that the edition of the Daily Mailer first alerting them to the threat of racooyotes had come out on March 31—just in time for April Fools' Day.”

Back in 2008 I blogged about Tales of the Table Topics Bunny and the Jackalope. I linked to a Youtube music video of the song Creepy Jackalope Eye, whose lyrics warn:

“Many things in this life
Are not what they appear
Yeah, I look like a hare
But if you stop and you stare
I'm related to a deer”

For more April Foolery look at web pages from USA Today and TIME.

The raccoyote image was pasted together from images of a raccoon and coyote found at Wikimedia Commons.

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