A wolpertinger (also called wolperdinger or woiperdinger) is a legendary hybrid animal which inhabits the alpine forests of Bavaria in Germany.
The most common description portrays the Wolpertinger as having the head of a rabbit, the body of a squirrel, the antlers of a deer, and the wings and occasionally the legs of a pheasant. Sometimes the feet are webbed like a duck. It is known from woodcarvings dating back to the 17th Century. The Brothers Grimm mention the creature in one of their books.
The name is thought to have originated in a town called Wolterdingen, which is famous for making shot glasses in the form of various animals and calling them wolterdinger. Bavarians view these creatures as being mischievous not malicious. The belief in their existence is till strong.
It looks like a small monster but it is in fact quite shy and not normally aggressive. Usually its only seen at the full moon. In order to catch one ,one must first persuade a beautiful young maiden to come with the hunter and expose her breasts to attract the Wolpertinger. It will be apparently transfixed and easily caught. There are stuffed Wolpertingers in museums in Bavaria supposedly caught in this manner. There is one on display in the Deutsches Jagd-und Fischereimuseum (German Hunting and Fishing Museum).
( I think the hunters were pulling a fast one and that young women these days would be less reluctant to follow a hunter into the woods and do the same.)
Another way to catch one is to put salt on its tail. What effect this has is not documented but salt is used to protect from evil so perhaps its stops it running away.
There are no recent recorded sightings despite the tales going back generations but maybe people do not report seeing them anymore.
One theory put forward is that the creatures are deformed rabbits that have contracted a virus. Local people would surely know what a rabbit looks like ,even a diseased one?
It will be just another legend like the Jackaloupe, unless someone photographs one or catches one. Until then it remains a myth ,a story, to amuse the tourists.
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