Society

Texas Man Catches Gigantic Bullfrog, Internet Explodes (Photos)

| by Erik Kindel

A Texas man's unusually large catch is still going viral after a hunting group shared his photo to its Facebook page. But while the photo might be real, not all of the facts shared are accurate.

Markcuz Rangel is the man who caught the large American bullfrog in a pond near Batesville Texas, according to Fox News. Rangel, excited with the size of his catch, had a friend take a picture, which was then shared on Facebook on May 25 by the South Texas Hunting Association. The post makes the claim that the frog weighed 13 pounds.

The post has been shared more than 260,000 times in six days.

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A spokesman for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department said the photo was real and not edited, but was still misleading.

The photo was taken using a technique called forced perspective, which creates an optical illusion that makes an object seem larger than it is. By placing the frog significantly closer to the camera, it appears to be about as large as a person, and the claim of 13 pounds seems plausible.

Except, according to Snopes, that's simply impossible for a frog. 

The fact-checking website has a full breakdown of everything misleading about that monstrous frog photo, why it's a phony and how it tricked the internet.

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The largest species of frog in the U.S., the American bullfrog, only gets to be about 1.5 pounds at maximum weight. Even the largest frogs in the world, African Goliath frogs, can only grow to 7 pounds. This makes the 13 pound claim false.

As for the forced perspective technique, it's a lot easier to pull off than you might expect -- any tourist who has been to Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa can tell you about it.

This isn't the first time a trick like this was pulled off, and it's not the first frog to pull the wool over the internet's eyes. A similar photo with the same composition -- a man holding a frog close to a camera -- made the rounds online in 2015, but with an even more exaggerated claim of 42 pounds.

Nevertheless, the photo is a testament to Texas' favorite saying: Everything's bigger in Texas. And while it's not a 13-pound behemoth, that's still one gigantic frog.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department spokesman Steve Lightfoot summed the photo up nicely. "It's not as bigly as it appears ... Still a big bullfrog though."

Sources: Fox News, Snopes / Photo credit: Alan D. Wils/Wikimedia Commons, South Texas Hunting Association, Snopes

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