By Mark Heinz, Outdoors Reporter
Despite calls to Wyoming Game and Fish from people responding to a fake story making the rounds about a pair of escaped rhinos loose in Casper, Cowboy State residents can rest easy.
There aren’t any rhinoceros running roughshod.
At least not any that weren’t photoshopped.
The spoof website Casper Planet set off quite a social media stir when it posted a joke article about a couple of escaped rhinos supposedly out barreling through the snow in town after their transport vehicle crashed on Interstate 25.
“An animal transport hauling two rhinoceros lost control of their vehicle, the accident released the door lock and the pair of rhinos decided to take a day out on the town,” the post read.
“The two unexpected sight seekers have so far eluded authorities who are not equipped to capture such massive animals,” continued. “Local ranchers and cowboys have been contacted to help assist in the capture, If you see one of the escaped animals in town, go the other way or get indoors.”
The story was accompanied by a couple of altered photos showing the rhinos thumping around in the Wyoming snow.
The post apparently was causing the phones to light up at Wyoming Game and Fish Department offices.
In one of the first comments on the article’s Facebook thread, Casper Planet asks readers to “stop calling emergency services or Game and Fish for this please.”
Game and Fish declined to comment to Cowboy State Daily.
Will They Get Along With The Kangaroos?
The rhinos story is reminiscent of a 2018 April Fool’s joke by County10.com, which also blazed across social media.
That spoof had many convinced that Wyoming was getting its own herd of kangaroos.
It was jokingly “reported” that Wyoming had received a seed population of 90 kangaroos though “Project Sage Hopper.” The posting included a convincingly photoshopped image of wildlife biologists supposedly setting loose a kangaroo into rolling sage habitat near Dubois.
The original image was actually of mule deer being released.
Recalling that joke prompted Facebook commenter George Herden to quip, “I wonder how they (the rhinos) will get along with the kangaroos that were released a while back.”
Wry Wyoming Humor
The comment thread below Casper Planet’s Facebook post was rife with wry Wyoming humor.
“If you can hear their horn, you’re too close …” wrote Peter Coggi.
“Never play leapfrog with a rhinoceros,” Suzie Eisenbarth advised.
Scott Meisenburg took things in a political direction, slinging a popular jab at Gov. Mark Gordon.
“Probably headed to Cheyenne to congratulate their favorite RINO on his re-inauguration,” Meisenburg commented.
Ultimate Test For Griz-Proof Suit
The tongue-in-cheek post might have caused some who didn’t get the joke to tie up some phone lines with Game and Fish.
But the spoof was apparently taken in stride by most Wyomingites, who got a good chuckle at the thought of massive, one-horned beasts blasting through snowdrifts.
And it raises an interesting hypothetical question as serious as the idea of rhinos loose in Casper. Could a “Grizzly Proof Suit” have taken the full impact of a rhino’s charge? Or would its occupant have suffered a ghastly demise by impalement?
Wyo Biologists Say Grizzly-Proof Suit Probably Wouldn’t Have Worked But Inventor Blew-Up Before Testing It – Cowboy State Daily
How To Survive An Actual Rhino Attack
On the extremely rare chance that you do encounter a real, live, not- photoshopped rhino in Wyoming, what should you do to keep from getting gored or trampled?
This video, “How to Survive a Rhino Attack,” includes some valuable tips.
• Keep your distance, particularly if the rhino has a calf with it.
• If the rhino starts to snort loudly and bows its head, it’s getting ready to charge.
• Stand still. Rhinos’ eyes are set widely enough apart, they don’t have binocular vision. But they will cue in on movement if they sense a threat.
• Rhinos have a keen sense of smell. So, try to stay upwind. Or toss a personal item with your scent on it toward the rhino. This might distract it while you make your escape.
• If you must run, remember, you can’t outrun a rhino, they can hit speeds of nearly 35 miles per hour. Instead, try to dodge and duck around obstacles, such as rocks or brush, this might disorient the rhino.
• Climbing a tree might work, but then again rhinos are powerful enough to pulverize trees.
• If all else fails, lie down, with your feet facing the rhino, and try rolling out of the way at the last second. At the very least, you can avoid getting gored by its horn.