11 Pound Bullfrog: Real or Hoax?

A photograph claims to show an 11-pound bullfrog captured in Louisiana. Is this photo real or fake?

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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:

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

11 Pound Bullfrog (Cropped)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.
  • 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.

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 December 11, 2014
Originally published May 2013

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7 Comments on 11 Pound Bullfrog: Real or Hoax?

  1. 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.

  2. i live in lake charles louisiana , we catch frogs all tee time aun i anit never seen a 11 pounder ,we catch 5 aun 8 s all tee time man wish i had tat one in tee pot….

  3. 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

  4. I was on fb and seen this picture someone had posted. I started looking at it and just didn’t seem right with hand. I read the comments and this guy (not the one in photo) had a bunch of fools for friends. He had said he caught it with a net, weighed 18lbs and he set the record in Louisiana. Man he had them going. I started looking for the state record and easily found this. Thanks for the post. I dispize liars. Maybe he was just pulling their chain.

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

  5. When I was a kid we would go 2 the strip mine lakes & catch bull frogs at least 11#.We’d hold them down w/large rocks. Big legs! Yum!

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