What’s the Hodag?

What’s the Hodag?


In the heart of the Northwoods near Rhinelander, Wisconsin, lucky visitors may come across a mysterious, mischievous beast known as the Hodag. This creature has plagued the Northwoods for more than a century, but still little is known about this legendary beast.


The Hodag was first discovered by timber cruiser, land developer and merry prankster Eugene Shepard in 1893. The Hodag was the centerpiece of the 1896 Oneida County Fair and has lived in Northwoods legend ever since.


Patching together eyewitness accounts, rumor, legend and speculation, several aspects of the Hodag’s appearance start to become clear:

  • Covered in fine, green fur
  • Height: 30 inches
  • Weight: 185-265 pounds
  • Length: 7 feet
  • Diet: Reports vary widely – mud turtles and water snakes, oxen, white bulldogs eaten only on Sundays
  • Reported to have the head of a frog, the face of an elephant, stout legs, a spiky, dinosaur-like back and a long tail
  • Smell is a combination of “buzzard meat and skunk perfume”

A larger-than-life representation of this fierce beast can be found outside the Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, 450 W. Kemp St.

Intrepid explorers can find Hodags throughout Rhinelander with the help of this interactive map. Or, you can become a Hodag expert by taking this Hodag-themed tour of Rhinelander.


Again, based on eyewitness reports and local legend, we know the Hodag is mischievous. He’s thought to be responsible for everything from lost golf balls to snatching fish off anglers’ lines.

Want to see what the Hodag gets up to in his spare time? Visit his Den.

And, if you’ve ever wanted to act like a Hodag yourself, you can download the free Hungry Hodag mobile game and chomp your way through Rhinelander.

Start planning your getaway to Hodag Country today!

view the infographic


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