Unusual Animals


Compiled by
Daniel R. Mott: Roundtable Staff District 23
West Jordan, Utah


Here is a collection of animals that can be found in American myth and lore. If you really look for them you may even be able to find them.

Snawfus

Just after the sun goes down look in the treetops. If you are luck you will see a Snawfus. A is a white deer with giant antlers from which flowers grow. As it leaps from tree to tree it sings, Halley-loo! Halley-loo!

One variety exhales a blue smoke which produces an autumn haze in the Ozark Mountains.

Squonk

A Squonk never sings. It is so upset by the way it looks, it cries all the time.

A famous hunter named Mule McSneed once caught a by following its teardrops. Then he stuck it into a sack and took it home. But the cried so hard that when he opened the sack that all there was left was a puddle of water.

Similar to a whangdoodle.

Milamo Bird

A Milamo bird eats giant worms that live in giant wormholes. When it gets hungry, it dives into one of these holes and finds itself a worm.

The bird pulls in one direction and the worm in the other. But each time the bird pulls, the worm stretches a little and when the worm pulls back the worm stretches a little more, like a rubber band.

When finally the worm is stretched too thin, it gives up and lets go. Then the worm shoots out of the hole like a shot and smacks the bird between the eyes, jumping back into its hole.

Goofus Bird

The Goofus bird likes to look backward to see where it has been, not where it is going. So it flies backward. It also likes to sleep upside down. So it builds its nest bottom side up.

Other birds that also like to do this are: Fillyloo crane, Filla-ma-loo bird and the bogie bird. The bird is related to the sandhill perch which is found in dry desert stream beds which swims backwards to keep the dust out of its eyes.

Billdad

When you are walking along the shore of a big lake, walk quietly and don't make any noise, for you may meet a Billbad. Billdad's wait on the shoreline watching for fish to jump from the water. When the Billdad sees a fish jumping then it will leap through the air and lands next to it. It will then smack the fish with its tail and carry it home and cook it over a fire.

Rubberado

A Rubberado cannot leap or fly, jump, climb, swing, walk, creep or crawl at all. It bounces from place to place and it time it lands it laughs.

The Rubberado makes a stew that is very tasty, but you would be well advised not to eat any unless you want to continue to laugh and bounce for days and days.

Hugag

The Hugag has no knees. Because of his it cannot sit or lie down (Keep you own knees stiff and see for yourself what a problem this can be). When a Hugag sleeps it must lean against a tree, fence or house. but it so heavy that it causes whatever it leans against to bend.

If you ever come across a fence, tree, or house in your travels that leans to one side, a Hugag slept three.

Splintercat

A Splintercat eats eat wild bees that live in the trunks of trees. At mealtime it climbs to the tallest tree it can find. It then launches its self into the trunk of a tree nearby, smashing it to smithereens. If there are no bees inside, it tries another tree and another until it finds one with bees. Most people think that storms destroy these trees but they are wrong.

Hide Behind (also: High Behind)

When a woodsman or a hunter enters the deepest woods and doesn't come back, most people say that he got lost. But some say a hide- behind that hid behind a tree grabbed him.

Timmerdoodle

If a Timmerdoodle bites you, be patient. It will not let go until it hears the sound of thunder. Once a Timmerdoodle bit Sam McSneed, and it was two months before he managed to get away.

Windyo

People say that a Windyo is a shadowy creature with a voice like the moaning of the wind and big feet.

Tree Squeak

Whenever you are out in the woods and hear squeaky, screech, screech or a screechy, squeaky, screech or a screechy, squeak or a squeaky, screechy, squeak; what you are hearing is a tree-squeak. But it is hard to see, for its skin is covered with bark just like the bark that covers the tree.

Lufferlang

If you live where Lufferlangs do, be sure to carry a big mirror at all times. Then if a Lufferlang attacks all you have to do is to hold that mirror in front of you. This is because wait frightens a Lufferlang the most is seeing itself.

Side-Hill Gouger

This animal is also known as the Side-Hill Dodger, Hoofer and Wouser, Gwinter, and Guyiscutus. This animal is named for the path it gouges in mountain sides.

Cows and milking stools of similar construction have been reported.

A Side-Hill Gouger lives on a mountain peak and eats rocks. But what is peculiar about this animal is its legs. Its uphill legs are much shorter then its downhill legs. this gives the animal a good foothold keeping it from falling off the mountain.

However whenever it tries to turn around, the legs of the Side-Hill Gouger are not were they should be, thus, it loses its balance and falls into the valley below. So the Side-Hill Gouger is constrained to go in the same direction around the mountain all of its life. While young Side-Hill Gougers may complain that aren't going anywhere, at least not anywhere very fast. But where could they go.

Glyptodont (Hinge-tailed Bingbuffer)

A Glyptodont has a pouch on its front in which it carries its rocks. Each day after lunch it pulls one out and places it on a boulder. The it spins around faster, faster and faster until you can hardly see the creature. Then with its tail it whacks the rock at a tree. If the rock hits the tree hits the tree, the Glyptodont jumps for joy but, if it misses then it will pound its tail on the ground, howl with anger and cry like a baby.

Tripdero

A Tripdero moves up and down like an elevator. When its enemies are near, it shrinks its legs to nothing and hides. But when it hunts it travels on legs ten feet long.

In each check it carries a pound of pebbles it fires through its snout. If you see a trapdoor, stay out of sight, it might fire the rocks in its cheeks at you.

Slide-Rock Bolter

A Slide-Rock Bolter hangs by its tail from a mountain peak for days on end, looking for something to eat. When finally it sees a spider for below-spiders are what a Bolter likes best. It carefully aims itself and zooms down ... and gobbles it up.

Gowrow

The Gowrow is so enormous, the earth shakes when it walks. It hatches from a egg, lives in a cave and shrieks "Gow-row! Gow-row!" from which it receives the Gowrow receives its name.

Sometimes people at a carnival party pay fifty cents to see a Gowrow. They go into a darkened tent and wait for the curtain to be pulled back. Soon there is a terrible roaring and rumbling along with screams and gunshot fire. Then a man comes rushing out screaming. "The Gowrow is loose! Run for your lives!"

So everybody runs. But if you are one of the people there don't run until you get your money back, since this is an old trick to trick people. There isn't a real Gowrow behind that curtain just an old woman roaring, screaming, banging on a pan and firing a gun into the air.

Jump-at-a-body (Come-at-a-body)

When you least expect it, a jump-at-a-body will jump behind a tree, then charge at you like an angry lion, then stop short and run away.

Wunk

Whenever a Wunk sees anybody or anything it digs a hole, jumps in, and pulls the hole in after it.

Of course, a Wunk doesn't have to hide in a hole. If it wanted to, it could turn itself into a real person, somebody that would look like you or me, wander around and do anything it wants; it just doesn't want to.

Squidgicum-squee

This animal is just as shy as the Wunk. But, when this animal sees anybody or anything, it just takes a deep breath and swallows itself.

Whing-whang

On those nights when the moon looks a giant orange in the sky, the Whing-whang leaps about the beach writing Whing-whang, Whing-whang, Whing-whang in the sand. But when the moon goes down and the sun rises up, the Whing-whang goes and rubs out what it has written and then disappears.

Hoopajuba (Similar to Whiffle-poofle)

This is a fish that very few people have caught. If you want to catch one you will need to follow these simple directions:

1) Row to the center of a deep lake.
2) Drill a hole in the bottom of the lake, for that is where the Hoopajuba live.
3) Row back to the shore and hide.
4) Make a sound like a mudworm since that is what Hoopajubas like to eat the most.
5) Then wait quietly.

When a Hoopajuba hears the sound of a mudworm, it will swim as fast as it can to the beach. Then it will put its tail in its mouth and roll toward the worm, which is to say, toward you. When it gets close enough stick your hand through the hoop and drop the fish in your fishing basket.

Hoopsnake

The Hoopsnake rolls like a hoop to get from place to place. On it's tail it carries a fang filled with the deadliest poison. Years ago a hoop snake chased Sam McSneed all morning, then finally cornered him and reared back to strike.

But Mule jumped aside and the snake hit a tree with its deadly fang filling it with poison instead. By the next day that tree had swelled so much it was as fat as a school bus.

Mule McSneed cut up the wood from the tree into boards and built a much needed cowshed. Then a strange thing happened, as the poison in the wood dried, the swelling in the boards went down. As the boards got smaller and smaller, the cows became more and more crowded, eventually the shed was no bigger then a doghouse. So, Mule ended up moving his dogs in and his cows ended up without a shed again.

Mule and the cows weren't too happy about this but the dogs sure had a fine doghouse.

Now, if a hoop snake ever chases you just drive through its hoop and it will run away. But Mule McSneed didn't know that.

As an aside, the red bellied snake, Farancia Abacuram, is regarded by some as a hoop snake. In all cases the hoop snake is reputed to develop its momentum by rolling downhill.

Joint Snake

When it is in danger, the joint snake breaks into a dozen pieces. The each piece wiggles off into a different direction. When the coast is clear, the different pieces come out of hiding, hook together and go their way.

Sea Serpent

This serpent is about three hundred feet long. A professor sighted this beast while he was picking beach plums on the beach when it came ashore; he promptly hid in some bushes to watch.

First the beast took a drink of fresh water at a pond nearby. The it stared for a minute at the ocean and whispered, "See you soon, sea, see you soon," and then headed into the countryside. Nobody has seen it since.

Kickle Snifters ( Kickle Swifter)

Kickle Snifters are about the size of your thumb. They live inside men's beards. But this gets boring, so they are forever peeking out. They are also forever laughing, due to the fact that beard hair tickles.

You are most likely to encounter Kickle Snifters at your grandfather's house, or another male relative of great age, when you have eaten too much supper, begin to feel sleepy, your eyes are about to close and things don't look the way they usually do.

Snallygaster

It has four legs, two wings and a giant beak. After dark, Snallygasters fly through the countryside carrying cows, horses and other animals. If they see any children out, they swoop down and try to scare them.

Sometimes a Snallygaster will get into a house and take whatever catches its ear whether it be a piece of furniture or an appliance like a refrigerator. But it moves so fast, nobody realizes it was there. Now, while the owners are wondering where the missing item is, the Snallygaster has put it in another room or an unlikely place like the roof, closet, etc.

Some people say that a Snallygaster isn't a bird but as ghost who enjoys playing around. The best protection is to paint a seven pointed star on your house or barn.


Bibliography

Tall Tales from Texas Camps; Moddy C. Boatright

A Treasury of American Folklore; B. A. Botkin

Fearsome Critters of the Lumberwoods, with a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts; William T. Cox

Rocky Mountain Tales; J. Levette Davidson, Forrester Blake eds.

Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend; Edited by Maria Leach

Hoaxes; Curtis D. Mac Dougall

The American Language; H. L. Mencken

A Creel of Big Ones; Arthur W. Peach

We Always Lie to Strangers: Tall Tales from the Ozarks, Vance Randolph

American Myths and Legends Vol. 1 (1903); Charles M. Skinner

The Raggedy Man; James Whitcomb Riley

Tall Tales for the Tenderfoot; Texas Folklore Society Publication (1978)

Fearsome Critters; Henry H. Tyson