Variations: Geometrigradus cilioretractus (Cox)


Wapaloosies are found in Pacific Coast forests, and appear to be the mammalian answer to the inchworm. A wapaloosie is as big as a dachshund, with velvety fur, woodpecker-like feet, and a spike-tipped tail that aids in its caterpillarish climbing. And climb a wapaloosie does, moving effortlessly up the tallest of trees to feed on bracket fungus.

The wapaloosie drive to climb continues long after death. One lumberjack in Washington shot a wapaloosie and made a pair of fur mittens out of it. When he grabbed an axe, the mittens immediately shimmied up the handle to the top. They proceeded to do so with everything the lumberjack tried to hold, so he was forced to discard them. The mittens were last seen clambering over lumber slash.


Cox, W. T. (1910) Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods with a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts. Judd and Detweiler, Washington D. C.


  1. Couple of thoughts here, as wapaloosies (among a short list of Fearsomes) are kind of my thing.

    – Love love LOVE the ears.

    – The defining characteristic on the feet is the structure – four clawed toes, two forward, two back, and in that specific way resembling woodpecker feet, allowing them to climb and rest pretty much anywhere with impunity. I don’t know that they aren’t scaled (interesting take!) but definitely two claws in back of each.

    – My read is that the tail *has* a spike like a peavey, rather than purely being one. (“…[T]ail is spiked at the tip” – Cox) Can’t push forward very well with a spike anchored directly to one’s backside! 😉

    Shameless self-promotion: search for “wapaloosie” on Bandcamp and you’ll find my celebration of the critter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Seconded – I love your work!

    I see scales on the legs, yes, and I think that’s cool, though (to me) unexpected. The thing I was trying to comment on was that there appeared to be one backward-pointing claw (toe?) as is typical in bird feet, rather than two as woodpeckers have. (I don’t know how difficult that is as an adjustment, if you should want to make it.)

    I got (and appreciated) that the tufts were caterpillar-y, though I couldn’t have told you which species might have inspired them; the spike never occurred to me as being in that vein. Cool!

    Thank you for the kind words on my music. For whatever it may be worth, you’re on my short list of people to discuss art with, should there be another album. (No immediate plans, alas.)

    Finally – I hope my comments had nothing at all to do with the hiatus. I hope your break is deeply refreshing – and not *too* long!


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