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Wapaloosie fclw

Fearsome critters (1910)

The Wapaloosie (Geometrigradus cilioretractus) is a fearsome critter of Lumberjack Folklore of North America in the early 19 & 20th century. It was said to have lived in the damp forests in North Idaho by St. Joe River to the Pacific coast. It is the size of a sausage dog and has the feet and toes of a wood pecker. Its tail is also spiked which helps it to climb up trees. The Wapaloosie feeds only on mushrooms that grow on trees and it has become very agile at climbing much like a squirrel.


A lumberjack story tells of how a hunter in Camp Humptulips once shot a Wapaloosie and on investigating the corpse, decided to make a pair of gloves with the Wapaloosie‘s skin. He tanned the skin and made the gloves with great care with the fur on the outside. But when he put them on to show it to his friends the most bizarre thing happened. When he picked up his axe, the gloves naturally moved by themselves to the top on the axe blade. The man dropped his axe in horror but discovered that whatever he picked up his hands would climb to the top, because they could no longer find a tree. He then discarded the now useless gloves, and the living Wapaloosie gloves were last seen climbing up the logs in the forest.

Wapaloosie modern

Wapaloosie - Fearsome Creatures (2015)

In Fearsome Creatures (2015), the Wapaloosie is the most innocent and least dangerous out of all the 20 fearsome creatures in his book. However, the rodent is both falsely accused of and indirectly responsible for the Hoquiam Massacre of 1993, one of the worst disasters in Washington's history. Asides from Washington, the Wapaloosie lives in British Columbia in the Pacific Northwest. The Wapaloosie, formerly a mouse, is a chinchilla. The plural term for more than one Wapaloosie is Wapaloosim. The creature's fur has the ability to come back to life even after being killed and sewn to clothing. The Wapaloosie has a spike at the end of its tail that helps climb up trees. The flesh is sour in taste. The Wapaloosie is harmless and adorable, and that it has the lowest fearsomeness level of all of the 20 fearsome creatures in the book: 1. The Wapaloosie has gray rings on its body, has two toes on each of its four feet, cat whiskers, cute baby eyes and sometimes, black hair on its head. The scientific name is Adorabilis arborealis.


Artist’s rendering of Wapaloosie

Further reading[]

"The Wapaloosie" from Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods (1910) by William T. Cox