Human × Leporid

Reports about humans crossing with rabbits and hares

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EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS, ΦΒΚ

     
I am obliged to report that which is reported, but not to believe it.
Herodotus, The History, VII, 152

Caution! The evidence for this cross is poor.

Note: A leporid is a member of the taxonomic family Leporidae, which includes rabbits and hares.

Mary Toft Mary Toft

In 1726, an Englishwoman Mary Toft became the center of a national controversy when physician John Howard announced that he had assisted her in giving birth to several rabbits. This claim was eventually exposed as a hoax, but it's an interesting fact that, at the time, this assertion, that a woman could give birth to rabbits, was widely accepted by much of the British population.

In addition, a report entitled “A Rabbit Baby” appeared on page 2, column 3, of the November 29, 1860 issue of the Centre Democrat, a newspaper published in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (source), which reads:

A Rabbit Baby—One of the most singular freaks of nature we have read of for a long time, occurred in the neighboring town of York lately, the particulars of which are given in one of the papers of that place, as follows: “A married lady gave birth to a child, possessing, generally, the forms and whims of a Rabbit. The features bore a close resemblance thereunto; and at the hind part of the head there was a short stumpy tail, precisely in imitation of the small pet animal. The child squeaked with the notes of a Rabbit. It was so formed that it could partake of no nourishment; and during the five weeks of its career on earth, it was necessary to pour, gently, a little milk down its throat. It has but little flesh, and that blue, resembling that of the innocent quadruped to which species it might have been classified to belong, instead of the human family. After much suffering a spasm ended its existence. These remarkable features and gestures of this child, are to be accounted for from the fact that the mother, while enciente, repeatedly fondled and caressed several pet Rabbits, kept in the house.”

The chronicler Eberhard Werner Happel (Historischer Kern oder so genandte kurtze Chronica, 1690, p. 22) claims that on March 8, 1681 a child with rabbit ears was born at Rotterdam. It supposedly died soon after birth and had a normally formed, viable twin.

Hare-human hybrids

The following report appears in the April 17, 1897, issue of the medical journal The Lancet (p. 1128):

From Leghorn comes the announcement on the 8th inst. [i.e., April 8, 1897] of the birth of a monster, the mother being a poor water-carrier of the city, and her offspring resembling from the head to the umbilicus a hare, and from the umbilicus to the lower extremities a normally developed infant. Dr. Botlari, who assisted at the birth, reports that the monster is alive; in place of eyes it has two cavities [the incidence of anophthalmia (congenital absence of eyes) is elevated in hybrids produced from distant crosses], its mouth and nose are similar to those of a hare, and it rejects by the one what is sent into the other and vice versa. The mother volunteered the statement that during pregnancy in a house where she was carrying water she saw a hare cut up in quarters on the kitchen table, and was strongly impressed by the sight. Her health is good; while as to her offspring, in the more than probable event of its dying, it will be added to the local museum in illustration of the lusus naturae which figure in Saint Hilaire’s ‘Teratologie,’ as due to the impressionability of the pregnant.
hare-human hybrid A hare-human hybrid, as depicted in Liceti (1665, p. 187).

Galileo’s friend, the Italian scientist Fortunio Liceti (1577-1657) mentions (Liceti 1665, p. 186) a hare-human hybrid supposedly born in the year 1440:

At Cracow, in a suburban village called Nigrae, a woman gave birth to a male child with the ears and neck of a hare. It was extracted alive, breathing through a wide-open mouth. A great intestine filled its entire abdomen, but it was otherwise normal.” Translated by E. M. McCarthy. Original Latin: “Cracouiae in suburbana villa, cui Nigrae nomen est, mulier puellum edidit collo & auribus leporinis : diducto rictu spirantem : uno grandiore intestino totum ventrem occupante : ceteris membris humanam figuram habentibus.”

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By the same author: Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World, Oxford University Press (2006).