DENVER, CO—The Rocky Mountain Jackalope, one of Colorado’s fiercest wild animals, has proven to be a more cunning escape artist than anyone thought.
On Tuesday morning, a Denver area zoo issued a Code Red after a pair of mating jackalopes disappeared from their enclosure. Based on chew marks found in the steel mesh fence surrounding their habitat, it was evident humans were not responsible for the breach. But zoo officials haven’t ruled out the possibility a human helped the jackalopes, named Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, pull off their getaway once outside.
“Jackalopes are strategic thinkers with sharp teeth,” said one official. “They don’t need a human to help them chew through the fence, or to guide them to the exit. They can do that themselves. But they lack street smarts and don’t know how to navigate the city’s complex transit system. That’s where we believe a human came into play.”
But how did the jackalopes go about roping a human into their plan?
“In the weeks leading up to their escape, we believe the jackalopes developed a careful profile of the ideal human to serve as their gateway driver,” said a junior zookeeper. “Then they waited patiently for a person matching that profile to visit their enclosure. What we don’t know is how the jackalopes approached their future accomplice, and whether or not promises were made.”
When asked about the jackalopes’ destination, their caretaker of two years had this to say: “A wilderness area resembling their natural habitat is where we believe the jackalopes will settle down. The Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, at the southern tip of Rocky Mountain National Park, seems a likely candidate. That whole area offers a cornucopia of their favorite foods, and since vehicles aren’t allowed in wilderness areas, we can’t come looking for them.”
When asked if the zoo intends to acquire new jackalopes to replace Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane, the lead zookeeper declined to answer, but offered an eye-opening perspective. “The question zoos across the country are asking themselves is if it makes sense to harbor Code Red animals like jackalopes, given the danger they could pose to people should they escape. And the problem with jackalopes in particular is that unlike with grizzly bears and mountain lions, jackalopes are masters of disguise. No one sees them for the apex predators they are.”
Does that mean people hiking and camping in the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, where the jackalopes may be starting their new life, should be on high alert?
“As long as people don’t have raw steaks in their packs or attempt to trap the jackalopes to return them to the zoo, everyone should be safe,” said the lead zookeeper. “It’s really only when they smell meat or feel cornered that their instincts to attack kick in.”