Hoaxes & Rumors

11 Pound Bullfrog: Real or Hoax?

11 Pound Bullfrog: Real or Hoax?

A photograph allegedly shows an 11-pound bullfrog captured in Louisiana. Is this photo real or fake?

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The photo is real, but the frog’s size is an optical illusion.

This photograph is apparently real, but demonstrates forced perspective, and it wasn’t captured in Louisiana as claimed. Due to “forced perspective,” the frog is much closer to the camera than the man, giving the illusion of being a very large frog. Let’s take a look at the claim being circulated online along with the picture:

BIG!!! Bullfrog!
11 pound bullfrog caught in a ditch near Sulphur, LA WOW!

Considerations

In examining this image, there are several considerations to make:

  • Too Big – According to National Geographic, “The largest of all North American frogs, this giant (bullfrog) can grow to a length of 8 inches (20 centimeters) or more and weigh up to 1.5 pounds (750 grams). ” Given this information, it is unlikely to find a specimen weighing 10 times this size.
  • Photo Hints – You don’t see the man’s hand. In fact, the frog is being held at the end of a gig (a multi-pronged spear) several feet closer to the camera than the man, giving the illusion that the frog is quite large.
  • Largest Frogs – The largest frogs in the world are the Goliath frogs of West Africa which can weigh up to 7 pounds.
  • Wider photo – The uncropped version of the image (see below) reveals the shadow of the gig being held by the man.

Frog Gigging

Gigging is a form of hunting that utilizes a multi-pronged spear called a gig. As mentioned above, this photo shows a frog at the end of a gig, thus the name of the sport called “frog gigging.”

Origin

The image appears to have been posted on the SaltyCajun.com message boards back in April 2012. The person posting the picture stated that a friend had gigged the frog out of a pond in Ponca City, Oklahoma. (Also see this discussion). The original image is a wider shot than the version that is typically circulated, and this wider angle clearly shows the shadow of the gig in the man’s hands.

11 Pound Bullfrog

The un-cropped image shows a shadow of the gig being used to hold the frog close to the camera.

This is a frog being held on a gig from a different angle.

This is a frog being held on a gig from a different angle.

Bottom Line

This snapshot featuring a large frog is a case of forced perspective. The photo actually shows a frog being held close to the camera at the end of a gig.

Sources

Updated April 12, 2015
Originally published May 2013

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  • #aerospaceorbust

    listen here, i was a boy in ontario, and in 1985 i caught a bullfrog that was twice the size of an average house cat. this photo is deceiving but i myself can vouch that sometimes anomalies or flukes happen, and bullfrogs can exceed 20 pounds. specially if they live in a polluted ditch for the majority of their lives.
    i remember catching the monster of all mutations, a giant bullfrog, when i was 7, as i said. i had to two arm the thing, and i had to literally push myself on my back out of a ditch while i wrestled to keep the thing in my arms. i was covered in much reddish and other coloured, multi coloured grimes, i had little worms and other larvae crawling all over me too, by the time i was on the side of the road again.
    i caught that frog in a city is was living in, near the warf, on church street.
    that whole area has been reconstructed though, and it no longer is the kind of place that could support a lush polluted marshland. a shame. i’ll probably never see a frog that size ever again in my lifetime. i honestly wish i had a picture to go with it, but i wasn’t that bright until i was like 11 or 12, when i took a picture of a crayfish that was over 40 cm long. that picture and the rest were lost in a house fire i had over 20 years ago, unfortunately. but the fact remains, i know what i’ve seen in the world, and i’m telling you, flukes/mutations exist.

  • barry

    My grandmother has a picture of two of my uncles each holding a giant bullfrog like that. I’ve caught a 5 pounder before. I live in mississippi and when i was a kid there were still some giant bullfrogs left around here. Herbicide and disease have about wiped them out.

  • Ernest

    Have you ever been in southern Louisiana in Chauvin, Dulac, point a chan, du large, Houma in the swamp, these bull frogs are huge weighting over 8 pounds plus.
    We go bull frogging and catch these frogs with our hands. This guy that in the picture with the bull frog is friends with my girl and that frog is real, we seen it with our own eyes.
    That front is nothing we see frogs like that all the time. We might catch 30 frogs in one night or more each weighting over 5 pounds with our hands a fill up a nice size ice chest.
    These frogs are alive until we clean them and fry um up.
    Please come check out these frogs and come to Chauvin and ask around in the summer, someone most Likely will bring you frogging. You should go to a place in Chauvin called Vietnam or behind the piggly wiggly and ask people

  • waffles

    It’s one thing to joke around, but it’s also nice to know the truth behind such images. Thanks for your comment!

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