The Snawfus is an albino deer from the folklore of the Ozarks in Arkansas and Missouri. It has supernatural powers but is not dangerous. Some say it can jump into the treetops with ease, while others grant it feathery wings that along with to fly without making a sound, much like an owl. Some accounts give it flowering boughs for antlers.

Leila A. Wade of Republic, Missouri, extensively studied the snawfus, and reported that it gave off spirals of blue smoke. The blue smoke emitted by the snawfus drifted off and cloaked the Ozark hills in a magical blue haze, which can still be seen in autumn.


Randolph, V. (1950) Fabulous Monsters in the Ozarks. The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, 9(2), pp. 65-75.

Rayburn, O. E. (1960) Some Fabulous Monsters and Other Folk Beliefs from the Ozarks. Midwest Folklore, 10(1), pp. 27-32.


  1. The concept of flowering antlers is so iconic to me, I’d always wondered if there were any folkloric accounts of such a thing! Love the illustration! Reminiscent of the deers in Annihilation (the film, which was far less interesting than the books but the visuals were entrancing …).

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  2. Huh, looks like the pokemon Sawsbuck has an ozark inspiration.

    Speaking of, both the Snawfus and Sawsbuck maybe inspired by one of the Baron Munchausen tales, where Munchausen’s shot missed and brought some plants onto it, and a year later he saw that it had grown all over it. A similar thing occurs with Snawfus.

    Also, I’ve read according to the link below that snawfus is an omen of death due to how white deer are viewed as bad omens.

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  3. I’m writing a book with the Snawfus in it. I’ve begun to really like the concept of the deer. I did grant it other abilities like it being prophetic, but I never remembered that there were people that said it had wings and others that did not, so it was quite a triumph to realize that the wings that are partly dust, partly imagination, and partly spirit that I gave some of my characters would actually fit the folklore. Imagination rules.

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