The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Animals
Tsunami Fish — An email has been going around showing photos of bizarre, supposedly never-before-seen deep-sea creatures that have been washing up on beaches because of the tsunami. Photos of the creatures can be seen on this Russian website. It's obviously a hoax since these photos have been floating around the internet for ages. One of them has even appeared on my site before. But the Practical Fishkeeping site has done everyone a service by identifying what all these sea creatures actually are.
Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005.   Comments (7)

Rats a la Carte — The latest gross-out food email going around involves a Chinese restaurant in Atlanta supposedly caught accepting shipments of rats and mice. These rats would, I guess, be served to people who enjoy rodents as a delicacy. Some photos accompany the email (rats1, rats2, rats3). The email says that: After a full search of the kitchen, authorities found, packaged rats, mice, kittens, puppies and a large frozen hawk... The restaurant has locations off Peachtree Road and Alpharetta near…
Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005.   Comments (13)

Coydogs — Coydogs. Are they real creatures, or just the stuff of urban legend? As the name implies, a coydog would be a cross between a coyote and a dog. But according to Chrissie Henner, a biologist at the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, they're an urban legend. She says that "there has never been any physical evidence of a half-dog, half-coyote animal." Not that it would be impossible for the two species to mate and produce an offspring, just very unlikely. Though Henner also…
Posted: Tue Dec 21, 2004.   Comments (230)

Find Bailey — Bailey is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. On November 8, 2004 he was stolen from a locked car located in a Beverly Hills parking structure. Bailey's owner, Elizabeth Hart, is desperate to get him back. And to aid in this effort she's created the most elaborate, slickly designed website you'll ever see for a lost dog. She's also issued a press release about Bailey, and is doing radio and TV interviews. I feel bad being suspicious about all this. After all, the poor woman probably…
Posted: Thu Dec 16, 2004.   Comments (46)


Bonsai Kitten Christmas Tree Ornaments — Sure you can get a Bonsai Kitten in a glass jar... Or, you could be the envy of all your friends by getting your very own Bonsai Kitten Christmas Tree Ornament. "Notice the splendid use of the tail to form a hanger. Imagine how this will look gracing your yule tide tree. Kids love to watch em blink when they poke at them. And no mess to clean up! The ornament is its' own kitty litter box." If someone were to actually make these (you know, minus a real cat inside... just a picture of…
Posted: Fri Dec 10, 2004.   Comments (37)

Mister Marbles — It's Mister Marbles, the life-size prop dead cat. The attention to detail that's gone into the creation of this thing is amazing: "Mr. Marbles is a cat who turns up dead, floating in a swimming pool. The prop is a jointed cloth construction, with pieces of plastic tubing to keep the limbs rigid, and filled with small air bladders to make it buoyant. The skull was cast in insulation foam in a silicone mold of an actual cat skull. The eyes and teeth are from a taxidermy supply company."
Posted: Wed Dec 08, 2004.   Comments (11)

Santa’s Female Reindeer — David Emery has posted an intriguing piece of netlore concerning the gender of Santa's reindeer. Here's the text of the email that's going around: According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year (the only members of the deer family, Cervidae, to have females do so), male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid December. Female reindeer retain their antlers…
Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004.   Comments (17)

Jasper and the Yeast Rolls — This story (author unknown) has been 'floating around' the internet for a few months. I found a discussion of it on alt.folklore.urban. There's an easier to read version of it here. It involves a fox terrier named Jasper who eats twelve uncooked yeast rolls that a woman leaves out to rise before baking. The yeast begins to rise in the dog's stomach, causing him to swell up like a balloon: "He looked like a combination of the Pillsbury dough boy and the Michelin Tire man wrapped up in…
Posted: Sun Dec 05, 2004.   Comments (13)

Cannibalistic Cats — I've recently discovered a good blog named The Rambler that delves into a lot of hoaxy material. Recently Mark (who writes The Rambler) posted a disturbing entry about some relatives of his who let their cats run out of control: They never cleaned the litterbox so the cats defecated all over the house. They particularly liked shoes and closets so getting dressed must have been like camping in Africa. My wife's cat makes so much noise when he's hungry that I can't imagine anyone not…
Posted: Mon Nov 29, 2004.   Comments (54)

Diplocaulus Found — Professor Patrick Schembri, writing in the Sunday Times, reports of a new photo that's been making the email rounds showing a very strange looking animal captured in a bucket. Versions of the email variously claim that the animal was found either at Il-Maghluq in Marsascala, or in Bahrija. Schembri identifies the animal as none other than a Diplocaulus, extinct for 270 million years, which means that the photo almost definitely must be a hoax (either that or it's a major scientific…
Posted: Mon Nov 22, 2004.   Comments (19)

Woman Breastfeeds Puppy — If this story was in some other paper, like the Weekly World News, I'd dismiss it as a tall tale, but the material on stuff.co.nz is usually fairly reliable. They report about a (human) mother who has taken to breastfeeding her puppy. What I find interesting is that the reporter took the initiative to interview an anthropology professor about what this woman is doing (or claiming to be doing), and got this interesting nugget of information: "Victoria University associate professor of…
Posted: Wed Nov 17, 2004.   Comments (25)

Robotic Cockroaches — The Times reports on a group of European researchers who are developing a robotic cockroach. This tiny robot, dubbed InsBot, will infiltrate cockroach communities, assume a leadership role, and then lead the insects out into the light (and to their doom). The researchers hope that someday people will use these robo-roaches as a way of controlling roach infestations. This all sounds so bizarre that I'd assume it was a hoax if it wasn't reported in The Times. But I've got to assume…
Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2004.   Comments (7)

Dog in a Shell — At first I thought these were real dogs... like some kind of mutant copy-cat version of Bonsai Kitten. But no, the dogs appear to be models. Still, it's a rather odd idea. I can understand buying a model of a dog (I've bought a few myself). But why stick it in a Philippine Tonna shell? On the other hand, if you're looking for a unique gift, this has unique written all over it. Could make a good wedding gift. (via Sect of Rama)
Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2004.   Comments (29)

Glow-in-the-Dark Deer — Genetiate is a biotech company working on that one thing the world has been crying out for: glow-in-the-dark deer. It's such a bizarre project, that it screams hoax. The amateur quality of its website reinforces this impression. But I think it's real. Genetiate is a division of Geneticas Life Sciences. Those are the same people who, through yet another division, are creating the hypoallergenic cats. But why create a glow-in-the-dark deer? So that it will more easily be seen by…
Posted: Tue Nov 16, 2004.   Comments (20)

Phone-Eating Dog — From The Register comes a news report about a dog who swallowed a mobile phone. The owner of the phone only realized what happened when the phone started ringing... inside the dog's stomach. Now it seems to me that a) most dogs would not swallow something as large as a mobile phone, though it could happen; and b) the acid inside a dog's stomach would pretty quickly short-circuit a phone. Oh, and c) The Register says it got the news report from Ananova. And everyone knows how reliable…
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (10)

Wolf Howls at Auroral Lights — I was going through old email when I came across this image of a wolf howling at auroral lights. The person who sent it to me wondered whether or not it's real. A photographer would have to be pretty lucky to catch a scene like that, but that doesn't mean the picture isn't real. My guess would be that it's a composite image... that the images of the sky and the wolf were pasted together for dramatic effect. But that's only a guess.
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (14)

Catproof Your Computer — This software sounds like a joke, but I'm pretty sure it's real, in the sense that it's a product you can actually buy (whether or not it works is another question). It's PawSense, the software utility that catproofs your computer. "PawSense analyzes keypress timings and combinations to distinguish cat typing from human typing. PawSense normally recognizes a cat on the keyboard within one or two pawsteps." If it senses cat typing, it'll automatically block any further keyboard input…
Posted: Tue Nov 09, 2004.   Comments (9)

Dog Thong Flatulence Filter — I realize that flatulence filters are real products (though I have had a lot of people tell me they thought they were a hoax). But I suspect that the Dog Thong Flatulence Filter has to be a joke. I mean, how well could it possibly work? It just doesn't seem large enough to fully contain and filter all the gas a dog can produce. And imagine having to strap it back on Fido every time he comes in from the yard.
Posted: Fri Oct 29, 2004.   Comments (7)

Hypo-Allergenic Cats — I've been getting a lot of emails about Allerca, the company that claims it will start selling genetically engineered hypo-allergenic cats in 2007. It may be that they never manage to do what they claim they will do. Or at least, they never manage to do it in commercially viable quantities. But I'm pretty sure they're very serious about trying to do it. But I think they should lower the price a bit. At $3500 a pop, these cats are only going to be for the very rich, considering that you…
Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004.   Comments (15)

Killer Whale Meets Dog — The picture below, which has been spreading around via email, looks like one of those things that's too fantastic to be true. But it's real. The whale is Luna, a killer whale that showed up in Nootka Sound, Canada back in 2001. Luna had lost contact with his pod and didn't seem to know what else to do besides hanging out in the sound, interacting with all the people there. This picture was taken at the docks off Gold River. Scientists want to reunite Luna with his pod, but this is being…
Posted: Thu Oct 28, 2004.   Comments (22)

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