The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 11, 2013

'Frankenstein' rabbit with horns becomes Internet sensation

By Robb Murray
CNHI News Service

MANKATO, Minn. — College student Gunnar Boettcher of Mankato, Minn., was working in the garage when he first spotted Frankenstein.

That's what he wound up calling the wild rabbit with what looks like a series of horns growing out of all parts of his head.

“We've seen it before around the house but we've never been able to get a close look,” Boettcher said. “But we went over to him that day and he didn't run away like he normally does.”

That's when Boettcher decided he and his brother, Zander Boettcher, needed to capture the moment and film the rabbit.

“We started filming just for us, just to be funny,” he said. “Then we decided to put it on Facebook and it got a lot of views.”

It's fair to say that, in addition to getting attention for the fact that it featured a 12-horned rabbit, just as many people were entertained by Boettcher himself.

Instead of using the voice of the Midwestern football player that he is, Boettcher spoke in an Australian accent, guiding viewers through what seems like a spotting of a rare, possibly dangerous specimen in the wild.

“I used to watch Steve Irwin when I was little,” Boettcher said. “I was just being a goof, just for me and my brother's entertainment.”

After the success of that initial Facebook posting, one of Boettcher's friends put the video on Reddit. Within four days the video received 200,000 views and 2,000 comments.

So far he's been featured on several news sites, including the Daily Mail out of London.

After some checking, Boettcher said it appears the rabbit's ailment is cancer, a form of papilloma virus that is highly contagious. He expects the rabbit won't live much longer.

As is the case with most viral videos, not all the comments have been kind. Some say it's wrong to get a few laughs from a disease that certainly will kill the animal. Others say Boettcher has a responsibility to get the rabbit some veterinary help.

Boettcher disagrees.

“It's a great idea to try to help him and make him healthy again, but it's a little ridiculous to blame me for not helping the rabbit and taking him to the vet when it's a wild rabbit," he said. "It's turning into a thing on animal rights. People are saying I'm mean for making it humorous, but it was just supposed to be something fun between me and my brother."



Story from The Mankato, Minn., Free Press.