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South Dakota State Mammal

South Dakota State Mammal

The nickname Coyote State was inspired by a horse that won a race at a frontier fort in 1863. An observer allegedly noted that the horse was as fast as a coyote. According to some sources, he shouted, “Look at that coyote run!

The coyote was adopted as South Dakota’s state animal in 1949. It was the first mammal adopted as a state symbol. Yet most South Dakotans probably know nothing about the historic horse race, which is not well publicized.

Finally, we come to one of South Dakota’s weirdest yet beloved symbols. It hasn’t been officially adopted, and we can only hope it is never made official.

I’m talking about the world famous jackalope, a creature that looks like a cross between a jackrabbit and a deer. Some jackalopes even have tail feathers (and sometimes even wings) that look awfully similar to the feathers of South Dakota’s state bird, the ring-necked pheasant.
The jackalope legend may have been born in neighboring Wyoming. However, the most famous jackalopes in the world are probably the ones on display at Wall Drug, another famous unofficial symbol of South Dakota.

Many tourists have left South Dakota believing the jackalope is real. However, others claim it’s merely a prank created by taxidermists. What do you think?

JackalopeRight: A jackalope graces a whimsical Dakota state seal that appeared in the book (IR)Rational Parks. By Mbailey – Own work, CC BY-SA Note: I modified this image, changing the background.
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