How (and Where) to Find Unicorns

Since the Bronze Age, humans have hunted a legendary, horse-like beast. Feared by men and adored by women, it prances around the world’s forests and has no concept of personal space. This rare creature is none other than the common unicorn (Equus unicornus). In this post, I will discuss how to find and attract them.

The gentle and pensive maiden has the power to tame the unicorn, Domenico Zampieri, c. 1602

Unicorn Physiology

For the most part, the common unicorn resembles a horse; however, there is one major difference. The unicorn has a single, spiraled horn, which is fused to the rostrum. This makes positive identification of unicorns in the field slightly less challenging.

Unicorn woodcut featured in The history of four-footed beasts and serpents (1658) by Edward Topsell.

According to 13th Century explorer Marco Polo, unicorns are “scarcely smaller than elephants. They have the hair of a buffalo and feet like an elephant’s. They have a single large black horn in the middle of the forehead… They have a head like a wild boar’s… They spend their time by preference wallowing in mud and slime. They are very ugly brutes to look at. They are not at all such as we describe them when we relate that they let themselves be captured by virgins, but clean contrary to our notions.Source.

Professional Tip: Unicorns are very self-conscious animals, so we must consider their feelings. When Marco Polo published his travel memoir in 1300, the unicorns were outraged, and since then, they have scarcely been sighted. So, if you want to see a unicorn, you should never, ever offend them.

Where to Find Them

Unicorns come and go as they please, so it’s difficult to pinpoint their range. They prefer temperate, forested areas, so you will probably not have much luck finding one in the tropics or polar regions. If you see a rainbow, there is a very good chance a unicorn is nearby.

Wild woman with unicorn, c. 1500–1510

How to Attract Them

Traditionally, attracting a unicorn required a virgin woman. Famed artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci wrote in his notebook: “The unicorn, through its intemperance and not knowing how to control itself, for the love it bears to fair maidens forgets its ferocity and wildness; and laying aside all fear it will go up to a seated damsel and go to sleep in her lap, and thus the hunters take it.” Source.

Today, with our modern technology, we can replicate the scent and sounds of a virgin and use trailcams and camera traps to monitor unicorn activity. Prior to this, only a handful of unicorns had been documented in the wild. Now, scientists have learned more about unicorns than ever before.

Professional Tip: As a secondary method, you can also attract unicorns with freshly baked cupcakes and pumpkin spice lattes. They are the unicorn’s favorite prey items.

Unicorn Exploitation

If you find a wild unicorn, I recommend keeping its location a secret. Historically, unicorns have been hunted and exploited for various purposes, and that is part of the reason they are so rare today. Whenever hunters and poachers hear about a unicorn, they will not hesitate to capture it for a zoo or kill it and mount it as a trophy. A cage or pen is no place for these mystical beasts and neither is a rack over someone’s fireplace.

The Unicorn Is Penned, Unicorn Tapestries, c. 1495–1505

In case you didn’t get the hint from the beginning, this was all just an April Fool’s joke. I will note, however, that Marco Polo and Leonardo da Vinci did actually say those things, but Marco Polo was talking about rhinos in India, and da Vinci was talking about the symbolism behind unicorns. Thanks for reading!

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