Hollywood Animals and the Giant Rabbit of Tick Canyon

Hollywood Animals

Hollywood Animals rents all sorts of animals to the movie and television industry. It is located in Tick Canyon about 3/4 mile south of Davenport Road.

Their webpage is here. Although they are not technically open to the public they have seminars, private parties, corporate events, and animal training courses and classes. According to their website, the seminars cost $100 per person or $190 per couple and last for about 4 hours. You would be in a group of about 20 to 30 people and get a behind the scene look at the animals.

The Giant Rabbit of Tick Canyon

This story I found in a book called "Weird California" (by Greg Bishop, Joe Oesterle, and Mike Marinacci, Sterling Publishing Company, New York, 2006). Stephen Alpert was doing some geologic mapping in Tick Canyon in 1969 while a student at UCLA. Suddenly, he came upon an animal that looked like a giant rabbit.

Many years later, the Dean of geology Clarence Hall was also doing some mapping in Tick Canyon. He ran into an elephant being ridden by a lady in a bikini. Coming back a few weeks later, he needed permission to map on private property. That property was the location of Hollywood Animals. After talking to owner Brian McMillan he learned that years ago two wallaroos had escaped. Mystery solved.

Here is the above hard-to-read UCLA Geology Department alumni magazine article (from around 1997):
Filling out the ranks of venerable yet vague beings such as Yeti, the Abominable Snowman, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, we now have…

The Tick Canyon Rabbit

A special report from our correspondent in the field, Dean Clarence Hall

During the early seventies, Stephen Alpert (UCLA Ph.D. 1974, geology-paleontology) first chronicled the Tick Canyon Rabbit. It was never quite clear if Stephen was serious or if he had hatched an Alpertian Loch Ness Monster that inhabited the region near Vasquez Rocks, about 45 miles from Los Angeles. A number of us went along with the “gag,” an Instant Seminar was held on the subject, and every once in a while the story of the five-foot-tall Tick Canyon Rabbit was repeated during a lunchtime conversation with a new group of students. Thus, any sightings claimed by new students were suspect, even if the story had ostensibly not been related to them.

Curiously, the sighting of the Rabbit occurred relatively often, certainly once every two or three years. One smiled at the wily student and trudged on after a discussion of how tall the rabbit was. All sightings noted that the Rabbit was between three and five feet in height. For those who taught the Tick Canyon class, clearly Stephen Alpert was immortalized. This then is the background for the beginning of what I believe will be the final chapter in the saga of the Tick Canyon Rabbit.

Unable to resist the lure of that locale, I have been making a relatively detailed geologic map of the region between the crystalline basement rocks to the north of the Tick Canyon area mapped by UCLA students and the basement rocks bounding the southern flank of the Soledad basin along the Soledad fault. One hot spring day in 1991 I stumbled out of a tributary canyon to Tick Canyon, approximately two miles south of Davenport Road. I was startled, as I came into the Canyon, to see a large elephant being ridden by a bikini-clad young woman. She and I exchanged pleasantries, or else I stammered something inane, the elephant started throwing sand over his back and over me, and I went away thinking that this was not a story that I could tell for fear of confirming my frailties to students and colleagues.

A few weeks later, now the early part of summer, I returned to the southern reaches of Tick Canyon to map and to secure permission to enter private property. On this outing I discovered the home of the elephant. In the Canyon a few miles south of Davenport Road there is a wild animal farm: lions, monkeys, a camel, parrots and exotic birds, and an assortment of other animals which make a cacophony of wild noises as one approaches the owner’s house.

Said owner, Brian, and I chatted about what it was that I was doing, and he gave me permission to enter his property, “as long as you don’t get eaten.” I recounted the Tick Canyon Rabbit legend, to give him a good chuckle, and told him I now had a story about the Tick Canyon Elephant that was going to be just as farfetched, which could cause some to question my sanity. Imagine my surprise when he informed me that the students had seen a Tick Canyon Rabbit, just as I had seen an elephant. In fact, he said, the students had probably seen at least two Tick Canyon Rabbits.

So, I thought, here was the reincarnation of Stephen Alpert. But no, such was not the case. Brian informed me that several years ago two wallaroos (approximately three feet in height) had escaped from his animal compound, leading to those sightings of monstrous rabbits – the Tick Canyon Wallaroos!