This rabbit is ugly enough to make you want to heave and no, this is not
a Photoshop job. This rabbit is real, along with all of those horny
projections, and was caught on film. It was last sighted last week in
the Boettcher family's backyard in Mankato, Minnesota. Because of its
horrific appearance, the family has dubbed him "Frankenstein." The
monster is not the rabbit, but the cause of all of those horns.
Gunnar Boettcher, 20, who appears in the video, believes that the creature lives either in their shed or woodpile. His younger brother, Zander, 15, acted as cameraman.
This condition, which affects only rabbits, may be where the legends of the jackalope originated. It is actually Shope's Papilloma Virus, or Cottontail Rabbit Papilloma Virus, a cancer that causes keratinous carcinomas to grow on or near the rabbit's head. The virus was first discovered in the 1930s by Dr. Richard E. Shope. He was able to use the virus collected from wild rabbits to create a vaccine that is used on domestic rabbits -- so don't start worrying about your pet bun-bun.
Reports and illustrations of horned rabbits date back as far as the 18th century. Shope's research was vital into the research of Human Papilloma Virus and the creation of the HPV vaccine.
Unfortunately for the rabbit, the tumors are likely to continue to grow and interfere with its ability to eat to the point of causing the animal to starve to death. Hopefully someone will manage to euthanize the animal before it comes to that.