Growing up at the Jersey Shore, going on many camping trips as a Girl Scout, led to hearing many variations of the Jersey Devil legend.

This made me a pretty big fan. No, I don't believe the creature ever existed, but it doesn't have to be real for me to be a fan.

Before we uncover the animal that looks exactly like the Jersey Devil description, let's do a brief history lesson.

When Was The Jersey Devil Born?

According to legend the Jersey Devil, also known as the Leeds Devil, was born in 1735 to "Mother Leeds." The Mother Leeds in question has been attributed to either a woman named Jane or Deborah.

Mrs. Leeds already had 12 children and cursed the 13th child before he was born, saying that he would be a devil.

Shortly after the child was born he attacked everyone in the house before flying up and out of the chimney.

There are a few variations to the legend, but that is the basis of most of the stories.

What Does The Jersey Devil Look Like?

The appearance of the Jersey Devil is yet another thing that varies greatly.

Some people claim the devil looks more human-like. Others have reported the creature to have a kangaroo body with wings and a horse head.

The imagery I have most associated with my favorite cryptid is mostly horse-like with cloven hooves, a horse head, huge wings, and a long devil-like tail.

jersey devil philadelphia post
Vectorized by Kj1595, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What makes me chuckle most about the photo above, originally printed in the Philadelphia Bulletin in 1909, is that the hooves of the Jersey Devil have horseshoes on them.

I'm curious where he would have gotten them put on...

What was the Jersey Devil?

There are a lot of theories as to the origins of the Jersey Devil and its subsequent sitings over the years, but there is a real animal out there that looks just like descriptions.

The hammer-headed bat is native to West and Central Africa. It belongs to the megabat family, don't worry they're fruit bats.

This bat has a wingspan of around 3 feet.

Hammer-headed bat
Sarah H. Olson et al. (CC0 1.0 DEED)

The elongated head does slightly, or more than slightly, resemble a horse.

Is there a possibility that a hammer-headed bat was spotted around South Jersey around the time of the birth of the Jersey Devil legend?

Odds aren't in favor of that theory, but you can't deny that this bat looks just like New Jersey's favorite cryptid.

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