Hoax Museum Blog: Animals

Man Catches Fur-Bearing Trout

Wisconsin-resident George Weber says he was fishing in the Menomonee River when he caught this unusual fish. He showed it to a wildlife official who first told him it was a fur-bearing trout. But then the official offered an alternative, scientific explanation. He said it could be a trout infected with an extreme case of Saprolegnia, or cotton mold, which is a fungal infection that can grow on fish and looks like white or grey fibrous patches. However, I'm not buying the Saprolegnia explanation. I think that's a genuine fur-bearing trout. [via Doubtful News]

Posted: Mon May 11, 2015.   Comments (0)

140-year-old Tortoise Wears Son As Hat

The Internet claims that this image shows a 140-year-old tortoise wearing her 5-day-old son as a hat. Is this true or false?

Posted: Thu May 07, 2015.   Comments (0)

Oomedoodle Bird

The Oomedoodle is a legless bird native to Australia. It is so named because of the distinctive cry it makes every time it lands on its exposed nether regions: "Oomedoodle! Oomedoodle!" They're said to be highly intelligent and make great pets because of their facility with language (even better than that of parrots). However, owners should be warned that their language tends to be vulgar.

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2015.   Comments (0)

Dachshunds listed in Social Directory

The publishers of the Social Directory of the United States were embarrassed when, in 1939, they were tricked into including a pair of dachshunds in their listing of prominent American families who "through culture, ancestry, tradition and aristocracy of achievement have risen and maintained the heights of social leadership." more…

Posted: Mon Jan 05, 2015.   Comments (0)


Konstant Kitten

The website KonstantKitten.com claims to offer a service that's like a Netflix for kittens, in that it allows customers to rent kittens through the mail and exchange them every 3 months for new ones. But rest assured, it's fake. more…

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2015.   Comments (2)

The Quahaug-Dropping Seagulls of Martha’s Vineyard

Seagulls have learned that they can break open quahaugs (hard-shelled clams) by dropping them from great heights onto hard surfaces such as roads or rocks. This is a well-documented behavior. But in 1932, the Vineyard Gazette reported that seagulls at Martha's Vineyard had learned an even more remarkable trick. They were killing rats by deliberately dropping quahaugs on them, and then feasting on the dead rats.

Posted: Fri Dec 26, 2014.   Comments (0)

Tijuana Pandas

From Italy comes news that authorities have closed a circus that was trying to pass off painted dogs as panda bears. Two chow-chows had been dyed black and white, and the circus was charging money for kids to pose with them. When called out on the deception, the circus owner initially claimed that these were rare panda/dog hybrids. Now the police have charged the owner with animal abuse and defrauding customers. more…

Posted: Wed Dec 24, 2014.   Comments (0)

True or False: Not all dogs can bark

In his 1930s newspaper column, John Harvey Furbay (aka The Debunker) wrote that it was a myth that all dogs can bark. But was he correct?

Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2014.   Comments (4)

3000 tarantulas for sale?

There's a bit of a mystery on Reddit. Redditor "tcatron565" claims to have come across a post on Facebook from someone trying to sell 3000 tarantulas because their owner "is away" and the spiders are starving. These tarantulas need to find a home fast! Definitely an unusual situation, but is it for real? Impossible to say since there's no contact info, and tcatron565 hasn't offered any more details. But just in case it's not a hoax, the moderator of the spiders subreddit has offered to go to "great lengths" to find a home for the tarantulas. [via Daily Dot]

Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2014.   Comments (0)

Birboon, Schnowlzer, Laughing Hamstyna, etc.

California artist Sarah Derememer creates hybrid animals, such as the "birboon" (a cross between a baboon and a sparrow) as a way to improve her photoshop skills. [telegraph.co.uk]

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2014.   Comments (0)

Rat Myth

According to myth, there's a 1:1 ratio of rats to people living in New York City. But Columbia University researcher Jonathan Auerbach determined that there's actually only 1 rat for every 4 people. [npr.org]

Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2014.   Comments (0)

Crabzilla

A photo of what appears to be a gigantic crab lurking in the waters of Whitstable harbour in Kent recently went viral, after first appearing on the Weird Whitstable website. Quinton Winter, who runs Weird Whitstable, asks, "Does this satellite photo of the harbour reveal a giant crab or unusual sand formation?" Unfortunately, the answer is neither. The correct response is that it's photo fakery. The original satellite image of the harbour, minus the crab, can be found on Bing Maps. So evidently someone (I'm assuming Winter) added the crab in. For the record, there are some…

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2014.   Comments (0)

The Chicago River Hippo

The mystery of the Chicago River hippo has been solved. The hippo first came to the public's attention on September 15, when a video of it swimming in the Chicago River was posted to YouTube by "Chris O" (who had never posted anything to YouTube before). Two weeks later, this was followed by a second hippo video, now uploaded by "Matt ZB80." Again, it was Matt's first and only video. Pretty much everyone was skeptical of the idea that there really was a hippo loose in the Chicago River. The police noted that there were no reports of a wild animal in the river. And a…

Posted: Sat Oct 11, 2014.   Comments (0)

Making It Pleasant For The Horse, 1884

A recent article by Barry Smith in the Elko Daily Free Press delves into the tall tales and hoaxes that were the hallmark of Nevada journalism in the late 19th century. Mark Twain is the best known of these Nevada journalist hoaxers. But another master of the art form was Sam Davis, creator of the apocryphal Wabuska Mangler, as well as inventor of a horse-raising horse cart. Smith explains: You may have passed through Wabuska on your way from Weeks to Weed Heights without realizing this tiny hamlet once had a feisty newspaper called the Mangler. Well, it didn’t. The Wabuska…

Posted: Wed Oct 08, 2014.   Comments (1)

Self-Castrating Beavers

As part of his ongoing "Fantastically Wrong" series at Wired.com, Matt Simon investigates the ancient legend that beavers will chew off their own testicles when pursued and throw them back at their pursuer, in this way making their escape. The legend was mentioned in Aesop's Fables and popped up in various works of natural history, until it was debunked in the 17th century by Sir Thomas Browne who pointed out that the testes of beavers don't hang outside their body. They're internal. So it would be difficult to chew them off, even if the beaver wanted to.

Posted: Thu Oct 02, 2014.   Comments (1)

Fake Pigeons

Brooklyn artist Tina Trachtenburg has created over 100 hand-sewn fake pigeons. She places these pigeons around town, creating "flashflocks". Apparently the real feral pigeons are dumbfounded by the fake ones. [boweyboogie.com]

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2014.   Comments (0)

Are decapitated snakes still deadly? — True or False? Decapitated snakes can still inflict lethal bites. Unfortunately it's true. [Huffington Post]
Posted: Wed Sep 10, 2014.   Comments (1)

Shark in Lake Ontario — A video released last week showing a group of fishermen having an encounter with a shark in Lake Ontario has proven to be a hoax. The video was created by a company called Bell Media using a prosthetic model shark, as the company has admitted in a recent press release. It was "the first step of a multi-stage marketing campaign" to promote the Discovery Channel's Shark Week. Nissan is also involved in the hoax, since they're the ones sponsoring Shark Week. Apparently Nissan will have…
Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2014.   Comments (0)

Missing: Pregnant Tarantula Named Penelope

On Thursday, someone posted flyers around Brooklyn alerting everyone that their pregnant red rump tarantula named Penelope had gone missing. "I know she looks crazy scary," the flyer said, "but she's mostly harmless." (Tarantulas definitely do look scary, but their bite really isn't that dangerous. It's comparable to a bee sting.) Anyway, Penelop's owner asked that if anyone found her, to put her in a "tupperware bowl" with holes and phone him. Naturally, these signs attracted quite a bit of attention. Someone even started a Twitter account in Penelope's honor. But last night,…

Posted: Sat Jul 12, 2014.   Comments (0)

Gigantic Tortoise Found on Mt. Etna — A video circulating on Italian news sites shows what appears to be a gigantic tortoise being transported on a truck. An accompanying story explains that this tortoise "of colossal dimensions" was found recently at the base of Mt. Etna. A helicopter full of Japanese tourists spotted the creature. At first they thought it was a large, dark rock, until they noticed it was moving. The helicopter pilot alerted the earthquake authorities, who arrived and discovered that it was a gigantic…
Posted: Wed May 14, 2014.   Comments (0)

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