Hoaxes & Rumors

11 Pound Bullfrog: Real or Hoax?

11 Pound Bullfrog: Real or Hoax?
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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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