Photo Fakery: Animals and Insects
Image Gallery: Crazy Critters
A gallery of viral images depicting animals in a variety of credulity-stretching contexts: giant housepets, wayward predators, albino wildlife, and more. Some of these photos are authentic, others are fakes. See if you can tell which is which...
412-Pound Deer Killed
Emailed photos allegedly show a 412-pound deer killed by a hunter in Clarion County, Pennsylvania (or in Nebraska -- take your pick).
800-Pound Razorback Hog Killed in Arkansas
Emailed photo shows a hunter posing beside a dead razorback hog purportedly 8 feet long and weighing 800 lbs.
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.
Alligator with Deer in Its Mouth on Cross Lake
Emailed photos purportedly taken at Cross Lake, Louisiana show a gator moving through the water with a full-grown deer in its mouth.
Circulating via email, an unsettling photograph of what appears to be a half-human, half-animal creature suckling her hybrid offspring.
Bear vs. Combine
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.
Bighorn Sheep Climbing Buffalo Bill Dam
Viral images purport to show "big horn sheep" scaling the face of Buffalo Bill Dam near Cody, Wyoming.
'Black Lion' Picture
Circulating via social media, this viral image purportedly depicts a rare black lion.
Brown Recluse Spider Bite
Emailed photos purport to show the progressive deterioration of a wound caused by the bite of a brown recluse spider.
Bungee Jumper vs. Crocodile
Emailed video of a grizzly encounter between a bungee jumper and the crocodile awaiting him in the river below.
Emailed photos purport to show a 'calico buck' shot by a hunter somewhere in Wisconsin (or Michigan, Arkansas, West Virginia, or Georgia, depending on version).
Emailed photo taken by U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq shows a pair of huge, scary-looking arachnids known as camel spiders. Is it true the venom of a camel spider is deadly to human beings?
Catfish Eats Basketball
Emailed photos show a flathead catfish with a child's basketball stuck in its mouth.
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.
Cougar on the Porch!
Authentic / Mislabeled: Emailed photos taken through a screen door show a cougar (mountain lion) prowling the porch or patio of someone's home.
Crocodile Eats Golfer
Little did the Palm Beach golfer realize as he tramped off alone to the seventh hole that he was about to become Ol' Mose's last meal.
Cyclops, the One-Eyed Kitten
Authentic emailed image of a one-eyed kitten named Cyclops who lived only one day before succumbing to a rare medical condition known as "holoprosencephaly."
Deep-Sea Creatures Washed Up on Phuket by Tsunami
Set 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.
Dog for Sale
Viral email touts humongous dog for sale: "Owner cannot afford to feed him anymore, as there are no more thieves, murderers, rapists or molesters left in the neighborhood for him to eat..."
Deer on a Pole
Emailed photos document the discovery of a dead deer high atop a power pole in a remote area of Baltimore (or Winnipeg, Manitoba, depending on version).
Dog Starved in the Name of Art?
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. Attached photos appear to be authentic.
Freaky Fish Found on a Tampa Bay Beach
Emailed photos show the carcass of a very strange fish with monstrous teeth allegedly washed up on a beach in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Elephant Paints Self-Portrait (Video)
Viral video appears to show an elephant painting a "self-portrait" unguided by human hands.
Giant Cat #1
Direct from our inbox, the email tale of an 87-pound housecat named "Snowball." You won't believe the photo!
Giant Cat #2
Despite its resemblance to the infamous "mutant cat" hoax above, this 2004 image appears to be authentic.
Giant Catfish Caught in Lake Texoma, TX
Emailed photo - apparently real - of a huge, 140-pound catfish supposedly caught in Lake Texoma, Texas.
Giant Coconut Crab
Apparently authentic: Emailed photos of gargantuan specimens of Birgus latro - the coconut crab, named for its preferred diet of fallen coconuts and said to be the world's largest land-dwelling arthropod.
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.
Giant Snake Found in Red Sea
Viral images purport to show an unbelievably large snake found in the Red Sea and killed by a team of Egyptian scientists and divers. It is blamed for the deaths of 320 tourists.
Giant Snake Spotted in Delray, Florida
Viral image shows what appears to be a gigantic snake supposedly spot near Delray, Florida, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, or in NSW, Australia.
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 Spider in Manchester
Viral image purports to show a huge, long-legged spider lurking in the corner of a house in Manchester, England.
Giant Wild Boar Shot in Conroe, Texas
Mislabeled: Emailed photos of a gigantic, 1,800-pound wild boar allegedly shot and killed in Conroe, Texas by a radiology technician.
Viral image of Zoe, a rare golden zebra with brownish-orange stripes and blue eyes.
Authentic emailed images show several hummingbirds calmly feeding from a woman's outstretched hand.
Hercules the Liger
Authentic emailed photos of a 10-foot "liger" (a cross between a lion and a tiger) named Hercules.
Herman the Giant Bunny Rabbit
Authentic 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.
Man-Eating Catfish of Furong Reservoir
Emailed photos purport to show a giant, man-eating catfish caught in the Furong Reservoir of Huadu, China.
Maggots in Oreos
Emailed photos purport to show an infestation of maggots or insect eggs in the cream filling of an Oreo cookie.
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.
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
Emailed image purportedly shows a full-grown 'work moose' being harnessed to haul wood in a logging operation.
Moose on a Wire
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.
Emailed photos show an unusually large mountain lion (cougar) allegedly killed between Grantsville and Walker near Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Mouse Stuck in Printer Cartridge
Emailed images appear to 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).
Images circulating via email purport to show common housecats hand-painted in a variety of decorative colors and designs.
AUTHENTIC: Emailed pictures of an extremely rare albino dolphin with red eyes and pink skin taken on Calcasieu Lake, Louisiana.
Piranha on Steroids
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
Emailed images show the result of an unfortunate encounter between a "pit bull" and a porcupine.
Polar Bear Attack
Emailed photos authentically (and graphically) document injuries sustained by the survivor of a polar bear attack.
Polar Bear and Huskies at Play
Emailed images show a 1,200-pound polar bear playing with husky sled dogs in the sub-arctic wilderness of northern Canada.
Hoax photo purports to show a specimen of the exceedingly rare "Rainbow Owl," a vibrantly-colored species native to China and the western United States.
Photo: Shark Swims in Flooded Puerto Rico Street
Viral image purports to show a great white shark swimming freely in the flooded streets of Puerto Rico following Hurricane Irene (August 2011).
Puppy with a Heart
Authentic: Emailed photos show a chihuahua puppy born in Japan with a heart-shaped pattern in its coat.
Raccoon Holding a Cat
Did you lose a cat? This viral image purports to show a raccoon standing on its hind legs holding a kitten or cat in its paws.
Shark Attacks Helicopter!
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
Emailed image shows a massive shark looming behind two blissfully unaware scuba divers vacationing in Australia.
The Snake in the Computer
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.
Snake vs. Electric Fence
Various tales, some taller than others, accompany these authentic images of a python who tangled with an electric fence and lost.
A Snake Fishes for Its Prey
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
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.
Spider in Oreo Cookie
Viral image purports to show a spider found smashed inside an Oreo Cookie.
Snake Swallows Man!
This charming series of photographs purports to show a gigantic serpent killed and dissected in the process of swallowing a full-grown human being.
Emailed picture of a giant rattlesnake killed in Texas, allegedly measuring 9 feet 1 inch in length and weighing 97 pounds.
Tiger Nurses Piglets
Emailed snapshots taken at a zoo show a mother tiger nursing a brood of piglets costumed in tiger skins.