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Current Netlore: Animals & Insects

Internet hoaxes, email rumors and urban legends

Hoax = False, deliberately deceptive information
UL = Urban Legend - a popularly believed narrative, typically false
Rumor = Anecdotal claims - may be true, false, or in between
Junk = Flotsam and jetsam of the Net
NOTE: You can also locate specific items by typing relevant words into the Search box at the top of any page.

Abandoned Black Lab Puppies Need a Home
September 2007 email flier of indeterminate origin purports to seek a home for six abandoned black lab mix puppies.

412-Pound Deer Killed (Photos)
Emailed photos allegedly show a 412-pound deer killed by a hunter in Clarion County, Pennsylvania (or in Nebraska).

Albino Fawn (Photos)
Emailed images of an albino fawn found near Stanley, North Dakota, the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas, or West Liberty, Kentucky, depending on which version of the story you believe.

Alligator w/Deer in Its Mouth on Cross Lake (Photos)
Emailed photos purportedly taken at Cross Lake, Louisiana show a gator moving through the water with a full-grown deer in its mouth.

Animal-Human Hybrid (Photo)
Circulating via email, an unsettling photograph of what appears to be a half-human, half-animal creature suckling her hybrid offspring.

Bear vs. Combine (Photos)
Emailed photos taken in a cornfield in Illinois, Minnesota, or Wisconsin (depending on version) show a black bear awakened from hibernation by a combine harvester.

Beneful Dog Food Warning
Email flier warns that pet owners in different parts of the U.S. have reported the sudden deaths of dogs who ate Beneful Dog Food purchased at Wal-Mart in December 2006.

'Bile Bears' in China (Petition)
This is a well-intended e-petition containing fairly accurate information, but "signing" it is a waste of time.

Blue Whale Produces 400 Gallons of Sperm
Ever wondered why the sea is so salty? This emailed "Fact of the Day" (complete with photo documentation) claims that a blue whale produces 400 gallons of sperm in a single mating session. I don't buy it.

Bonsai Kitten (Petition)
"What follows may be hard to believe. Please bare [sic] in mind that Dr. Mengele, the Nazi war criminal, once said: 'The more we do, the less you seem to believe it.'"

Brown Recluse Spider Bite (Photos)
Emailed photos purport to show the progressive deterioration of a wound caused by the bite of a brown recluse spider.

Camel Spiders Found in Iraq
Emailed photo taken by U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq show a pair of huge, scary-looking arachnids called camel spiders.

Car Wash Coin Thieves
Emailed images reveal the real, bird-brained culprits behind a series of coin thefts from a car wash change machine.

Catfish w/Basketball Stuck in Its Mouth
Emailed photos show a flathead catfish with a child's basketball stuck in its mouth.

The Chicken Cannon
Yankee engineers prove themselves superior once again.

Christian the Lion (Video)
Viral video tells the true, heartwarming tale of the reunion between Christian the Lion and the two men who adopted him as a cub in the 1970s.

Cockroach Eggs on Envelopes
Postal Service worker's tongue gives birth to live cockroach!

Cockroach Egg Tacos at Taco Bell
A fast-food horror story, as told in six different locations around the U.S.

Cocoa Mulch Can Be Lethal to Dogs and Cats
TRUE. Email warning about health hazards posed to pets - particularly dogs - by cocoa mulch is mostly accurate.

Copper Pennies and Bee Stings
Forwarded email claims that taping a copper penny over a bee sting (or hornet sting) will provide overnight relief from redness and swelling.

Cougar on the Porch! (Photos)
Emailed photos taken through a screen door show a cougar (mountain lion) prowling the porch or patio of someone's home.

Crocodile Eats Golfer
Just stopped for a little snack between the fifth and sixth holes...

Crocodile vs. Bungee Jumper
Emailed video of a grizzly encounter between a bungee jumper and the crocodile awaiting him in the river below.

Cyclops, the One-Eyed Kitten
Emailed image of a one-eyed kitten named Cyclops who lived only one day before succumbing to a rare medical condition known as "holoprosencephaly."

Daisy, the Canine Hero of 9/11
Did a brave guide dog named Daisy lead her blind master, James Crane, and over 900 other people out of the burning World Trade Center after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001?

Doctors Find Live Worm in Patient's Eye
Revolting photos show the surgical removal of a live worm from the eye of a patient who purportedly contracted the parasite from ordinary dust.

Dogs, Puppies, Cats Used as Shark Bait
News stories and petitions circulating via email claim rogue fishermen on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean use live dogs, puppies and cats as shark bait.

Dolphin Slaughter in Japan (Petition)
However worthy you may feel this cause is, the email petition is useless. Just delete it.

Elephant Painting Self-Portrait (Video)
Viral video appears to show an elephant painting a "self-portrait" unguided by human hands.

The Fatal Hairdo
The email variant of this very old horror story warns of what can happen when a mother doesn't wash her child's braids.

Febreze Warning
An email alert warns that the fabric deodorizer Febreze is toxic to pets.

Fish Contaminated with Deadly 'Zulican' Virus After Tsunami
Text messages and forwarded emails warn Asian consumers to avoid eating seafood because fish killed by the Indian Ocean tsunami are supposedly infected with a deadly virus called 'Zulican.'

Forest Fire! (2000)
This amazing photo of two elk cows surrounded by an awesome conflagration is authentic, snapped on a digital camera by U.S. Forest Service fire behavior analyst John McColgan on August 6, 2000.

Formosan Termites Spread in Mulch from New Orleans
Email rumor warns that Formosan termites from the New Orleans area are being spread to different parts of the U.S. in cheap garden mulch made from Hurricane Katrina wood debris.

Frog Found in Packaged Salad
Emailed image purportedly shows a live frog found in a bag of Florette brand packaged salad mix.

Gerbilling Mishap Injures Two
Not counting the gerbil, that is.

Giant Catfish Caught in Lake Texoma, TX
Emailed photo of a huge, 140-pound catfish supposedly caught in Lake Texoma, Texas.

Giant Gator Bagged in Texas (or Florida)
Emailed image of a large alligator allegedly shot in Texas or Florida (depending on version) by a game warden named Joe Goff.

The Giant Grizzly Bear
Are emailed pictures of a giant, 1,600-pound, man-eating grizzly bear allegedly killed in Alaska by a hunter or Forest Service employee real?

Giant Texas Rattlesnake (Photo)
Emailed picture of a giant rattlesnake killed in Texas, allegedly measuring 9 feet 1 inch in length and weighing 97 pounds.

Grapes, Raisins Can Be Poisonous to Dogs
TRUE. According to this forwarded email authored by an Ohio veterinarian, grapes and raisins are poisonous to dogs and can cause acute renal (kidney) failure.

Green Garden Snake Terrorizes Household
New, hilarious email version of a classic urban legend.

Hand-Feeding Hummingbirds (Photos)
Emailed images show several hummingbirds calmly feeding from a woman's outstretched hand.

Hercules the Liger (Photos)
Emailed photos of a 10-foot 'liger' (a cross between a lion and a tiger) named Hercules.

Hercules, World's Biggest Dog (Photo)
Emailed image of a gargantuan dog named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for World's Biggest Dog.

Herman the Giant Bunny Rabbit (Photo)
Emailed image of a very large 'German Giant' rabbit named Herman, held by his owner, Hans Wagner.

Humpback Whale Rescued by Divers
Forwarded email recounts the true story of the rescue of a female humpback whale trapped in a web of crab lines in the Pacific Ocean near the Farallon Islands.

'I Buy Strays' Website
Ibuystrays.com purports to offer cash for unwanted pets to be resold to companies engaged in animal experimentation.

KFC Uses Mutant Chickens
Ever wonder why it's not called Kentucky Fried Chicken anymore?

The Lion Cut
Actually, we think these photos of a "seriously pissed-off cat" just back from the groomer are real, but the accompanying story is too good to be true.

Listerine as Mosquito Repellent
Forwarded email claims spraying an outside area with Listerine mouthwash repels and/or kills every mosquito in the vicinity.

Man-Eating Catfish (Photos)
Internet photos purport to show a giant, man-eating catfish caught in the Furong Reservoir in Huadu, China.

Mermaid Found in the Philippines (Photos)
Emailed photos allegedly show the carcass of a dead mermaid found in the Philippines. P.T. Barnum would be proud.

Merman / Mermaid Carcass Found on Beach (Photos)
Emailed photos purportedly show the carcass of a merman (or mermaid) washed up on a beach variously said to be located in Venda, South Africa; Cebu, The Philippines; Malaysia; and Fort Desoto Beach, Florida.

Mermaid Washed Up by Tsunami (Photos)
Emailed photos allegedly show the carcass of a dead mermaid washed up on a beach at Chennai, India by the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2005.

Monster Crocodile Found in New Orleans
Emailed pictures of a gigantic crocodile purportedly captured in the flooded streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

The Monster Crocodile of Pointe-Noire
Emailed photos of a huge crocodile fished from the sea in the port of Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo.

Moose Harnessed for Hauling Wood (Photo)
Emailed image purportedly shows a full-grown 'work moose' being harnessed to haul wood in a logging operation.

Moose on a Wire (Photo)
Emailed image shows an unfortunate moose accidentally strung up on power cables by a utility crew near Fairbanks, Alaska.

Mountain Lion Killed in West Va. (Photos)
Emailed photos show an unusually large mountain lion (cougar) allegedly killed between Grantsville and Walker near Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Mouse Stuck in Printer Cartridge (Photos)
Emailed images document one of the more unusual causes of a printer jam - a mouse stuck in the printer's ink toner cartridge.

Mule Attacks Mountain Lion
Emailed photos purportedly show a mule attacking and killing a mountain lion in Arizona (or Wyoming, depending on version).

Painted Cats (Photos)
Images circulating via email purport to show common housecats hand-painted in a variety of decorative colors and designs.

Pensacola Shark Attack - The Untold Story
A cynical, unsubstantiated account of events surrounding the July 6, 2001 shark attack on 8-year-old Jessie Arbogast of Pensacola, Florida.

Photo of Giant Cat
Despite its resemblance to the infamous "mutant cat" hoax of 2000, this image appears to be authentic. Information on its origin is welcome.

Phuket Deep Sea Creatures
Series of emailed images purports to show rare deep-sea creatures washed up on the beaches of Phuket, Thailand by the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004.

Pink Dolphin (Photos)
Emailed pictures of an extremely rare albino dolphin with red eyes and pink skin taken on Calcasieu Lake, Louisiana.

Piranha on Steroids (Photos)
Emailed pictures of fishermen holding a large fish with a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth, variously captioned: "Piranha on Steroids" or "World Record Piranha."

Pit Bull vs. Porcupine
(Warning: graphic images) Emailed photos show the result of an unfortunate encounter between a "pit bull" and a porcupine.

Polar Bear & Huskies at Play (Photos)
Emailed images show a 1,200-pound polar bear playing with husky sled dogs in the sub-arctic wilderness of northern Canada.

Polar Bear Attack (Photos)
Emailed photos graphically document injuries sustained by the survivor of a polar bear attack.

ProMeris Safety Warning
Forwarded email warns pet owners of possible health hazards associated with using ProMeris flea and tick treatments based on the author's personal experience with adverse reactions.

Puppies Found in Trash Bin Need a Home
Er, not anymore. This forwarded email seeking homes for nine puppies found abandoned in a trash bin is outdated. All the puppies have been adopted by new owners.

Puppy with a Heart (Photos)
Emailed photos show a chihuahua puppy born in Japan with a heart-shaped pattern in its coat.

The Purloined Penguin
In an unusual press conference held last week at Boston's New England Aquarium, officials assured the public that all of the aquarium's 61 penguins are present and accounted for, scotching a rampant rumor that a 12-year-old autistic boy had made off with one of the birds in his backpack.

The Queen, the President and the Flatulent Horse
During a state visit to England, President G.W. Bush goes on a fateful coach ride to Buckingham Palace with the Queen of England and a farting horse.

Rat Droppings/Urine Cause Hawaiian Man's Death
A plausible scenario, but did this incident really happen?

Rat Urine on Soda Pop Cans Is Lethal
Three variations of a cautionary tale making the email rounds since 1998.

Rats Served as Food in Atlanta Restaurant
Email hoax claims an 'Asian/Chinese' restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia was recently closed by authorities for offering dishes made of rats, mice, kittens and puppies.

Return of the Butt Spiders
Five women have died in North Florida after being bitten by a deadly Indonesian spider that migrated to the U.S. under the toilet seats of airliners.

Robby the Military Dog (Petition)
A sincere but misinformed effort to save a Marine Corps attack and detector dog from euthanization.

Save the Puppies!
Forward this message and save a puppy's life... or make a buck, it's unclear which.

Wherein it is claimed that a cute, fluffy bunny named Toby will be cooked and eaten unless his owner receives $50,000 by June 30, 2005.

Shark Attacks Helicopter! (Photo)
Dramatic still photo shows a great white shark lunging out of the water towards a diver dangling precariously from low-flying helicopter.

Shark Sneaks Up Behind Divers (Photo)
Emailed image shows a massive shark looming behind two blissfully unaware scuba divers vacationing in Australia.

The Snake in the Computer (Photos)
Has your computer ever hissed at you? Here's a tale, complete with shocking photos, of a woman who probably wishes she'd called Animal Control instead of Tech Support when her PC began making strange noises.

A Snake Fishes for Its Prey (Photo)
Emailed image shows a very large snake (evidently a python) pulling its prey (evidently a wallaby, though some have labeled it a "cow") out of a body of water in Western Australia.

Snakes in a Potted Plant (Photos)
Emailed photos purport to show a nest of baby copperhead snakes found in the bottom of a plastic flower pot purchased at a grocery store.

Snake Swallows Man! (Photos)
Series of photos purports to show a full-grown man being devoured by a large snake.

Snake vs. Electric Fence (Photos)
Various tales, some taller than others, accompany shocking images of an unfortunate python who tangled with an electric fence and lost.

Snakes Kill Child in Burger King Ball Pit
Email warns of baby rattlesnakes hiding in restaurant playgrounds.

Snowball, the Giant Mutant Cat
Photo of an Ontario man showing off his 87-pound housecat born near a nuclear reactor site.

Starving Dog as Art (Photos)
Forwarded email urges recipients to sign a petition preventing artist 'Habacuc' Guillermo Vargas (aka 'Habakkuk') from participating in the Central American Biennial of Art because he created an exhibition in which a stray dog was allegedly starved to death in the name of art.

Swiffer WetJet Toxic to Pets
Forwarded email claims that the Swiffer WetJet disposable floor cleaner contains a substance toxic to dogs and cats.

Tiger Nurses Piglets (Photos)
Emailed snapshots taken at a zoo show a mother tiger nursing a brood of piglets costumed in tiger skins.

'Toilet Spiders' Kill 5 in Chicago Airport
The deadly "arachnius gluteus" rears its ugly head across the U.S.

Ultra Clorox is Dangerous to Pets
It contains lye, says the email rumor, and therefore is more hazardous than regular Clorox.

What to Do in Case of Snake Attack
Forwarded email purports to share instructions from a U.S. government Peace Corp manual on what to do if an anaconda or python attacks you in the wild.

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