In some western restaurants, including Cody, you may see Rocky Mountain Oysters on the menu as a starter or appetizer. Be aware that these are not oysters, in fact they are not even seafood. Rocky Mountain Oysters, sometimes known as Prairie Oysters, or Bull Fries, are considered a true western delicacy. What are Rocky Mountain Oysters? They are that part of male calves that are cut off when they are branded, so that the cow will grow meatier, and behave less masculine. The part I am talking about are his testicles (you know, those two little balls that help make a man a man). That's right, his testicles are cut off and thrown in a bucket of water. They are then peeled, washed, and cooked up for your pleasure. Like other meats, testicles can be cooked in a variety of ways, however generally those served in restaurants are deep-fried whole. Calf testicles are about the size of a walnut, and will come to your table hot and crispy, often served with a spicy sauce to dip them in. In the old days of the west, during roundups cowboys and ranch hands just tossed the testicles on a hot iron stove and cooked them until done. I have heard that Rocky Mountain Oysters can also be made from the testicles of other animals, but the ones I have seen on menus in Wyoming and Montana have always been beef. Well, some people will eat anything, so if you have a willing stomach and want to try something traditional, Rocky Mountain Oysters are just the item for you. But remember, these are not oysters, just plain old testicles.
There are NO SUCH THINGS as jackalopes. Let me repeat, THERE ARE NO SUCH THINGS AS JACKALOPES. Most tourists understand that this imaginary animal is a joke, but you would be amazed how many unsure people ask about it when they see these critters stuffed in various shops in town. You may even find postcards that describe the jackalope, but do not inform you that this is just for fun. A friend of mine recently purchased a postcard displaying a jackalope on the front. The back of this postcard stated among other things that “Jackalopes are the rarest animals in North America. A cross between a now extinct small deer and a species of rabbit, they are extremely shy and wild. They possess the ability to mimic and their cries often sound human and tuneful.” Never does the card tell you that there are no such things as jackalopes. Besides this story, there are a variety of other stories explaining how the jackalope became part of folklore.
According to North American folklore, a jackalope is described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer like antlers. The word jackalope comes from a combination of the words jackrabbit and antelope.
It is possible that the tales of jackalopes have a scientific basis, and originally came from sightings of rabbits that were infected with a virus, which causes a growth of horn or antler like tumors on a rabbit's head and body.