Jeep owners know that owning a Jeep vehicle is about much more than just transportation from point A to point B. The Jeep brand started over 80 years ago with the iconic 1940s Willys Jeep, which has evolved into a diverse range of capable and stylish SUVs and trucks loved by millions around the world.
But what many people may not know is that Jeeps have a delightful secret – unique Easter Eggs hidden all around many models, waiting to be discovered. These Easter Eggs reflect Jeep’s fun and adventurous spirit through small hidden objects, symbols, silhouettes, and yes…even animals!
So do all Jeeps have hidden animal designs? The short answer is no, not every single Jeep model or trim over the past 80+ years has featured an animal Easter Egg. But many do! Over the years Jeep designers have embedded a variety of animal motifs into different locations across numerous models. From lizards to spiders, geckos to sasquatches, animal embellishments can be found across many classic and current Jeeps.
In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about Jeep Easter Eggs:
- What are Jeep Easter Eggs
- History of the first Easter Egg
- Popular animal motifs over the years
- Jeep models known for hidden animals
- Locations to look for the designs
- Purpose behind Jeep hiding Easter Eggs
- How to join the hunt for your Jeep’s hidden treasure!
So let’s get rolling and explore the mysterious and delightful world of animal Easter Eggs across Jeep models!
Table of Contents
What Exactly are “Jeep Easter Eggs”?
Jeep Easter Eggs are a series of small, unexpected elements deliberately hidden across Jeep vehicles in places like the wheels, badges, windshields or cowlings. Officially termed “design motifs” by Jeep, they often take the form of small symbols, logos, graphics or shapes.
Think of them as miniature treasures – small delights secrety embedded for Jeep owners to find. Easter Eggs reward curiosity, encouraging interaction between owners and their vehicles. They reflect the playful, discovery-oriented ethos of the Jeep brand.
Over 30 unique Easter Eggs have been catalogued over the years. And many of them are subtly hidden animals! Let’s explore some examples:
- The Jeep Renegade has a tiny black spider hidden on a rear taillight
- In 2007 the Jeep Wrangler featured a lizard/T-rex shape in its windshield cowling
- A faint outline of a dog can be found in the rear brake lights of 2019 Cherokees
For Jeep owners, finding your vehicle’s unique Easter Egg becomes a fun quest – for some it even sparks an obsession to collect them all!
When Was the First Jeep Easter Egg?
So when did this delightful tradition begin? Most Jeep historians trace the first Easter Egg back to 1997, on the Jeep Wrangler TJ. Designer Michael Santoro secreted a small Willys Jeep silhouette into the windshield cowling as an homage to the iconic 1940s origins of the brand.
This small hidden graphic proved so popular that Jeep made it a tradition. Since then, subsequent designers have created their own motifs for models under their pen. Through subtle hiddden motifs over the past 25+ years, designers quietly leave their mark in Jeep lore.
Over 30 known Easter Eggs now exist – and many more may still yet be undiscovered!
Popular Animal Motifs Over the Years
The Willys silhouette kicked off the tradition, but animals dominate many of the most loved Easter Egg designs since then. From lizards, spiders and snails to squirrels and sasquatches, a wide range of creature have covertly claimed their place in Jeep history:
Gecko: Perhaps the most famous Jeep animal motif is the clever gecko shape formed into the grille slats of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Look closely at the seven slats – the indented outlining traces the distinct shape of a gecko lizard body, complete with eyes and feet. Finding the “grill gecko” has become a badge of honor for Cherokee owners and fans.
Sasquatch/Bigfoot: In the 2019 Gladiator Rubicon, a faint Bigfoot silhouette lurks embossed into the rear tailgate Rubicon decal, mid stride as though ambling across the tailgate itself. Rifle slung over his shoulder, this might just offer proof of the mythical creature after all!
Lizard/T-Rex: Perched within the cowling of 2007 Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models is a small lizard-like shape – often claimed to resemble a Tyrannosaurus Rex!
Spider: Crawling on the edge of the taillight since 2013 resides a small but distinct black spider shape in the Renegade model line.
This is just a sampling – dogs, snakes, birds and more animal Easter Egg motifs continue to be discovered across Jeep models and years, awaiting sharp-eyed owners.
Which Jeep Models Are Known For Hidden Animals?
As we can see, Jeeps love of animals has meant Easter Eggs featuring unique creature motifs have found their way across many models throughout all generations, from the vintage classics to the latest high tech models. While not every single one features an animal, models known for their hidden creature embellishments include:
Jeep Wrangler: The birthplace of the very first Easter Egg back in 1997, the iconic Wrangler continues the legacy with a new animal motif often included with each generation. Gecko outlines, lizard silhouettes and more dot the history of this flagship 4×4.
Jeep Cherokee: The aforementioned “grill gecko” lies etched within the slats of Cherokee grilles since its reintroduction. Plus other motifs like dogs and lizards hide throughout brake lights and badges over various model years.
Jeep Grand Cherokee: Like its namesake model, animal shapes in the grille continue in the Grand Cherokee line. Plus deer, mice and more make appearances in places like headlights and taillights.
Jeep Renegade: Perhaps the best known current Easter Egg, a small black spider hidden in the Renegade’s taillights has already sparked joy in countless new owners.
Jeep Gladiator: As the Jeep truck line continues to expand, so too do Easter Eggs. The recent Bigfoot cameo is likely just the start for this capable truck family.
So while not every single Jeep contains an animal design, models from across the entire spectrum of 80+ years of iconic Jeeps have been found to contain their own versions of hidden creature motifs!
Where Are Animal Easter Eggs Usually Hidden?
Given their small, unexpected nature, where oh where do these sneaky Easter Eggs tend to lurk? Designers have proven rather creative when embedding their motifs over the years! But popular hiding places tend to include:
Windshield Cowlings: The exterior rubber trim bordering windshields has proven a favored spot, including the famed Willys silhouette on the Wrangler TJ and lizard motif on later Wranglers. Cowlings provide obscurity while allowing easy embedding.
Wheels & Badges: No need for owners to lay on their back to search the undercarriage. Small creatures also like to hide within alloy wheel stampings and the etched decorative badges that adorn exteriors.
Headlights/Taillights: What better hideaway for a nocturnal creature? Animal etchings, shapes and silhouettes have been discovered subtly designed into the lamps both fore and aft on models like the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Renegade.
Grille Slats: Creatures continue to lurk within the iconic seven slot grilles since the grill gecko first proved it a perfect habitat. Slats tend to provide shadows and angles to obscure hidden motifs.
Half the fun becomes both looking in expected places – and discovering new obscure or even one-of-a-kind locations no owner has documented finding before. With over 30 known Easter Eggs and counting, animal embellishments could be hidden just about anywhere!
Why Hide Easter Eggs & Animal Motifs?
Jeep leadership has been quoted that they don’t even know the full extent of Easter Eggs across models or just how many exist. So why all the secrecy around these hidden motifs? A few top reasons include:
Heritage & Legacy: Since the very first Willys silhouette, Easter Eggs have allowed designers to leave their unique imprint by celebrating Jeep’s rich iconography and history. Animals motifs in particular connect to ruggedness and nature inherent to the brand. What better way to quietly become part of the legacy than by adding a new distinctive creature to the lineup?
Owner Experience: Finding Easter Eggs creates engagement between owners and vehicles, building pride and community. Their obscurity means those-in-the-know feel rewarded when discovering something new about their Jeep that most passersby would never notice. The hunt itself – and sharing finds with fellow owners – helps build the Jeep community.
Encourage Exploration: Easter Eggs exemplify the adventurous spirit of going off the beaten trail which lies at the heart of Jeep branding. Like venturing into nature, owners never know what they might discover when poking around little-seen interior crannies or shining a light behind a tail lamp housing. Easter Eggs help maintain excitement about anticipation of the next great find.
So whether to connect new models with an 80 year legacy or build engagement across generations of loyal enthusiasts, animal motifs and Easter Eggs throughout the model line help drive the excitement, connection and conversation around the iconic American brand we know as Jeep.
How Can I Find My Jeep’s Hidden Creatures & Easter Eggs?
Convinced that a furtive graphical gecko, smooth sasquatch silhouette or timid spider etching lurks somewhere across your own trusty Jeep steed? Luckily, entire owner communities exist around the hunt to locate and document new Easter Egg finds. A few tips to embark on the quest for your own mini beastie motif:
Do Your Research: Not sure exactly what creature might be subtly hiding out on your model year Cherokee or Wrangler Unlimited? Head online to sites like EasterJeepSafari.com or even the Jeep subreddit here on Reddit. Reference what years, models or trims tend to feature certain Easter Eggs. Owners often post helpful photos or videos revealing hidey holes you may have overlooked!
Go Prepared: Armed with clues on where to seek out potential animal motifs, head to your garage or parking lot ready to channel your inner private detective! Bring a bright flashlight, magnifier, and either a lift, ladder or set of creeping Ropunzel-length hair (kidding). Many nighttime motifs only reveal themselves under directed light. Search bumpers, badges, wheels, rubber cowlings and grille slats for anything that might resemble an outline of a floppy-eared bunny or scuttling spider.
Enlist Help: Stumped trying to tell if that light reflection on the headlamp lens is a play of light or actually a devious gecko outline? Ask fellow enthusiasts online to help interpret your find. Jeep owners always love snooping out a suspected new sighting of sasquatch! Crowdsource whether your blurred blob might fit the Easter Egg mold.
Share the Joy: Did you finally uncover a furtive fennec fox hiding behind the trailer hitch caps? Snap some photos to immortalize your mini discovery! Post proudly to Jeep forums and Reddit to continue cataloguing motifs. Some still-undiscovered lurker might just be quietly waiting to hitch a ride home with a sharp-eyed new owner like you!
However you embark on the quest to uncover your Jeep’s hidden graphical motifs, enjoy channeling adventure, curiosity and exploration – key hallmarks of both Easter Egg hunts as well as the Jeep brand’s 80+ year legacy. Just like kids hunting grassy yards or wayward adults tearing apart the couch, sometimes the real joy comes not from the finding, but the spirited seeking itself!
Do Other Car Brands Have Hidden Items Too?
Jeep may have perfected the Easter Egg implementation, but are they the only automaker known for hiding special motifs or embellishments?
The answer is: sure, why not! Jeep designers don’t hold an exclusive license being sneaky and crafty with graphical décor. Eagle-eyed owners have been known to spot a few covert special edition references or even pop culture icons subtly added to models across manufacturers.
Rumors indicate collectors have found secret decoder clues in special Ford Mustang markings. Rolls Royce is said to have hidden iconic symbols within wheels and crests as marks of quality. Range Rover and Land Rover are both reported to make covert references to their lineage with clever insignias. And James Bond fans suggest traces of 007’s fame may even hide in disguise within certain high end vehicle interiors.
So the next time you peek inside the wheel well, under the hood or behind tail lamp housings, who knows what conspiracy what might unfold! While Jeep clearly leads the pack for integration of Easter Eggs into their mainstream models, some suggest other brands can’t resist subtly sneaking in key icons here and there when they think no one is looking. Like any great cryptid or conspiracy, it often pays to stay curious!
An Integral Part of the Jeep Journey
For over 80 years, Jeeps have stood out as vehicles characterized by capability, authenticity and adventure. And the tradition of small – yet meaningful – hidden design motifs has only grown over time as a core part of the Jeep experience across models and generations.
So whether climbing behind the wheel of your first new Jeep model or peeking into the tailgate handle recess of a well-loved and worn Trail Rated workhorse, always bring a sense of wonder and spirited search for the next might-be-if-you-squint discovery.
Easter Eggs and animal motifs may be small in size, easy to overlook on first glance. But they loom large as integral artifacts reflecting core facets of the iconic American brand so many have come to love. Happy hidden creature hunting!
Do you have a favorite Jeep animal Easter Egg we didn’t highlight? Have you discovered motifs in other vehicle brands? Share your tales, tips and finds in the comments below!