A photograph claims to show an 11-pound bullfrog captured in Louisiana. Is this photo real or fake?
The photo is real, but it is an optical illusion.
This photograph is apparently real, but demonstrates forced perspective, and it wasn’t captured in Louisiana as claimed. The frog in the photo is much closer to the camera than the man, giving it the illusion of a very large frog. Let’s take a look at the claim being circulated online along with the picture:
11 pound bullfrog caught in a ditch near Sulphur, LA WOW!
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.
- 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 – Looking at the uncropped version of the image (see below) which shows the shadow of the gig being held by the man.
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.”
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.
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.
- Frog Gigging (Bass Pro Shops)
- Gigging (Wikipedia)
- Frogs provide some summer fun (Prairie State Outdoors)
Updated December 11, 2014
Originally published May 2013