Time for some shameless self promotion for my etsy shop, intermixed with some fascinating facts about cryptozoology and cryptobotany. So, it you like cuddly things, and/or cryptids, here's a couple of things that might interest you.
First up I've got a couple plush Jackalopes and an ali-bunnicorn:
These cuddly creatures were inspired by the myths of Jackalopes, Al-mi'raj (Bunnicorn), Wolpertinger, and others. Jackalopes are said to be the offspring or small deer and killer rabbits, often inhabiting desert areas, while Al-mi'raj are vicious island dwelling carnivores. Wolpertingers are an amalgamation of several animals, usually having the head of a rabbit, antlers of a small deer, and pheasant wings, which live in the forests of Europe.
Now, there is a reason so many cultures have myth of antlered/horned and sometimes winged rabbits. It's because in a way, they do exist. First, rabbits (and other animals) with matted fur can sometimes look like they have wings, horns, and other unusual appendages. And Secondly because of the Shope papilloma virus, which cause infected rabbits to grow keratin tumors. (Similarly there are a few 'horned' people cutaneous horns, usually benign keratin tumors.) However, attempts to care for such jackalopes tends to lead to spreading the virus, so it's best to leave them alone if you ever encounter one. Next best thing? Get a plush jackalope.
Next, I've got Sprout the Mandrake Plush made from super cuddly Teddy Bear felt:
Mandrakes for those of you that don't know are real plants with a mythical status. They have split roots that look vaguely human sometimes, leading to the myth that they dreamed of being human. While mandrakes have been used medicinally for centuries, harvesting the plant was often considered dangerous, as the plant is said to scream when dug up. Therefore a folk method of dealing with harvesting involves digging around the plant, then tying a dog to it, so that the dog will pull up the plant and die instead of their owner.
The truth of the matter is, real mandrake plants, except for the fruit, are poisonous and can cause hallucinations, gastrointestinal distress, asphyxiation, and other unpleasant symptoms. Sprout however, is assured to be nice to you.
Turns out both jackalopes and mythical mandrakes have some basis in reality. But sometimes fantasy is nicer then the truth. I'm already considering what the next batch of fantasy plushies should be; Baku, Cockatrices, Amphisbaena, Pheniox?