Hoaxes & Rumors

Classic Viral Hoax: 50-Foot “Crabzilla”

Classic Viral Hoax: 50-Foot “Crabzilla”

An image of a 50-foot crab, dubbed “Crabzilla” was reported in Whitstable harbour in Kent in October 2014. The photo went viral before being exposed as a fake.

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Let’s first take a look at the story which went viral in October 2014.

The image showed an aerial view of Whitstable harbour, and what appeared to be a massive crab lurking just under the water. The story first appeared on the website Weird Whitstable, a web collection of odd sightings. The website curator Quinton Winter told the Daily Express that the photo was sent to him by a follower, but he believes he has also seen the giant creature.

The story was repeated by The Daily Mail, which brought greater attention to the odd story.

(c) Weird Whistable

(c) Weird Whistable

Bing Maps

Some savvy internet users were quick to point out that the photo was likely taken from a “Bird’s Eye” view on Bing Maps. The original photo, however, did not depict a giant crustacean lurking in the waters.


Largest Crab in the World

The largest crabs in the world do not attain the size suggested in the photo above. Japanese Spider Crabs, for example, may reach a span of 12 feet across, which is primarily attributed to the creature’s long legs.

It has been suggested that the crab depicted in the “Crabzilla” photo is that of a cancer pagurus, an edible crab which typically only reaches 24 cm in size.

Daily Mail Follow-up

Mail Online posted a follow-up article on “Crabzilla” in which a marine biologist was asked to respond to the story. Dr. Verity Nye echoed our initial analysis above, noting that the largest crabs do not reach the size claimed in the story. She concluded, “Unfortunately, I think this is a hoax,” and noted that she laughed when she saw the photo.

Bottom Line

Crabzilla was a viral hoax in late 2014, created from a Bing Maps photo. Crabs do not attain the size depicted in the ubiquitous photo.

Updated March 4, 2016
Originally published October 2014

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