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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Animals
The Great Emu Scam of 2012 — Indian newspapers are reporting the exposure of a major scam involving emu farming. Thousands of people were promised that in return for a modest investment in an emu farm, they soon would be earning thousands of rupees every month. They were led to believe this on the basis of the supposedly massive demand for emu meat and emu-oil cosmetics. The scam was exposed when investors realized that their monthly payments were failing to materialize. [thehindu.com, indiatimes.com]
Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2012.   Comments (2)

Angry Koala — When I saw this photo online a few days ago, I thought, "that koala looks pretty vicious." It didn't occur to me that the image might be fake. But the reality, I now know, is that the image is fake. Koalas don't have wolf-life jaws. The original photo (below) was taken in January 2009 by Flickr user Oz_drdolittle, who explains that the koala was wet because he had sprayed it with water: The poor thing was really hot. (We had a long heatwave recently). I had 3 hanging around the…
Posted: Fri Jul 27, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Giant Egg Hoax of 1986 — On April 13, 1986, at 5:15 AM, Douglas Arling of Warwick, Rhode Island went out to the chicken coop in his yard and checked on his 9-year-old Araconda chicken. To his astonishment, he found she had laid a massive egg measuring 5x3 inches, and weighing half-a-pound. As he watched, the chicken tumbled to the floor, apparently exhausted by the effort she had just gone through. Ruth Arling (Douglas's wife) with the giant egg and the chicken she thought laid it When word of the giant egg…
Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Cat That Crossed 3000 Miles To Come Home — In August 1951, a wire-service story appeared in numerous newspapers about a six-year-old cat named Tom that found its way back to its owners by walking across the entire United States. Mr. and Mrs Charles Smith lived in St. Petersburg, Florida, but in 1949 they had to move to San Gabriel, California. For some reason, they couldn't take their cat with them, so they made arrangements for the man buying their house to adopt him. Two weeks after the move, they got a call from the new…
Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2012.   Comments (11)


Photo of a Black Lion — A picture of a black lion has recently been circulating online. Black lions are not biologically impossible. In fact, there have been scattered reports of black lions over the centuries. However, the lion in this picture is actually a white lion colored black through photo manipulation. The original image of a white lion was posted at cutehomepets.com. It was then transformed into a black lion by "PAulie-SVK" and posted at deviantart.com earlier this year. From there it spread to…
Posted: Tue Jun 05, 2012.   Comments (5)

Bonsai Kittens available from ThinkGeek — Nettie has informed me that ThinkGeek is selling Bonsai Kittens. They're stuffed toys. Therefore, "No cats kittens or kittehs were harmed in the creation of this product." Still, it's seems to be like waving a red flag in PETA's face. They must figure that enough time has passed so that all the furor over bonsai kittens has calmed down. In fact, ThinkGeek also seems to have acquired the bonsaikitten.com domain name. I guess no one else wanted it. The last time I checked it had become…
Posted: Mon May 07, 2012.   Comments (7)

Does this cat really have a cat-shaped mark on its back? — Several pictures of a cat with a cat-shaped mark on its back have circulated online for a couple of years. There's also a version of the image with arabic writing on it, that's currently doing the rounds on facebook. I don't know the cat's name, but the cat has a Japanese owner who keeps a blog, ameblo.jp/usousopp, devoted to posting pictures of it. There are hundreds of pictures of the cat up there. And here's the strange thing. In the two pictures of the cat that are circulating,…
Posted: Fri May 04, 2012.   Comments (4)

Get Goated — Imagine you're going about your day, minding your own business, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, there's a goat! That's the premise of the goat prank that's become a tradition in Spokane, Washington. The link includes a video of a Spokane anchorwoman who keeps repeating excitedly, "I've been goated! I've been goated!": Surprise! You Have Just Been 'Goated!' khq.com Spokane community members have the opportunity to play a great practical joke by having a real baby goat delivered to…
Posted: Fri May 04, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Case of the Leaping and Mating Giraffe — When I first saw this image, I immediately wondered whether giraffes can jump. I did some googling and eventually found Giraffes by Nicole Helget in which she addresses this question: A giraffe can also jump, clearing heights of up to five feet (1.5 m). This capability is important, now that many cattle fences have been built in Africa. The neck helps propel the giraffe over obstacles. To jump, the giraffe first pulls its neck back, putting most of its weight over the hind legs. Then…
Posted: Tue May 01, 2012.   Comments (2)

Bouncing Bear — This is one of those photos that looks so surreal you'd think it has to be photoshopped, but it's real. It was taken earlier today in Colorado. Although it looks like the bear might be bouncing on a trampoline, it's actually falling onto a thick mat: Bear tranquilized in tree near Williams Village cuindependent.com The bear managed to climb up a tree near the dorms where it stayed for about two and a half hours. Wildlife officials were able to safely tranquilize the bear at 10:17 a.m.…
Posted: Thu Apr 26, 2012.   Comments (3)

The Taxidermied Zoo — This is a bit like something out of a Philip K. Dick novel -- The Dream Park El Janoob Zoo in the Gaza Strip can no longer afford to display live animals. And it's difficult to import animals into Gaza. So the zoo owner has decided to display taxidermied animals. An advantage of this is that zoo visitors can pet the animals, without having their limbs torn off, as might happen with live animals. Link: Al Arabiya
Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012.   Comments (3)

Breast-Sucking Turtles of Namibia — If you happen to be a young woman in Namibia, watch out for a middle-aged Indian man who may try to strike up a friendship with you. Before too long, he may whip out his breast-sucking turtle. It happened to Lina Sames (link: informante.web.na): Sames, a domestic worker, related how the mysterious man suddenly produced a live turtle, no bigger than the average grown up's hand and pressed the reptile against the victim's right breast. "It proceeded to suck, while at the same time…
Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012.   Comments (1)

The Annual Overland Whale Migration — I received an email from Peter Barss recounting a 1985 April Fool's Day hoax he was involved in. It's a great story, so I'll let him tell it in his own words: In 1985 the Bridgewater Bulletin had an April Fool's front page. Turn over the bogus page and there was the true front page with the day's news. One reporter created an image of a twelve foot starfish climbing out of the sea and up the side of a fisherman's building. Another wrote a story about an international airport that would…
Posted: Tue Apr 03, 2012.   Comments (3)

Post-Rapture Pet Adoption — For over three years, Eternal Earth-Bound Pets has been offering peace of mind to Rapture believers. Should the Rapture come, and the devout are whisked away up to Heaven, this service will take care of their pets that are left behind — for a small fee of $135 per pet. But now Bloomberg News is reporting that the business was all just a hoax concocted by Bart Centre, a retired retail executive in New Hampshire, in order to promote his book, The Atheist Camel Chronicles. Bloomberg…
Posted: Sat Mar 17, 2012.   Comments (2)

A Bullfighter Repents — The following photo and caption has recently begun to circulate online. It's all over Facebook. "And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence... that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer - because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth."
 This photo shows the collapse of Torrero Alvaro Munera,…
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012.   Comments (4)

Woman-Turns-Into-Snake Rumor — Social networking sites in Nigeria have been ablaze with the rumor that a woman turned into a snake at the Hotel Excel in Warri. The proprietor of the hotel, Chief Moses Odeh, has been doing everything he can to put out the rumor, but once these stories get started, they acquire a life of their own. (informationnigeria.org) African rumors still have true strangeness to them. Here in America, the majority of twitter and facebook rumors are fake reports of celebrity deaths... which get…
Posted: Tue Feb 21, 2012.   Comments (7)

The Buxton Mermaid — An old mermaid was recently found, stored in the archives of the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, and a research team from the University of Lincoln decided to examine it. So far they've discovered that its hair is human, its upper body is constructed of wood and wire, its teeth are carved bone, and its eyes are mollusc shell. Future tests will determine what fish its tail came from. (link: BBC News) At first I thought it looked like the Bloomsbury Mermaid (pictured below). But no,…
Posted: Thu Feb 16, 2012.   Comments (6)

The Case of the Spray-Painted Bird — Back in 2009, bird watchers in New Zealand began reporting sightings of a red harrier hawk. There was speculation it was a new species. But in 2010 a hawk was found dead (hit by a car) that had been spray-painted red. So bird watchers realized there was no new species. There was just someone going around spray-painting birds. Suspicion eventually focused on dairy farmer Grant Michael Teahan after a video was uploaded to youtube showing Teahan beside a bird trap covered in red spray…
Posted: Mon Jan 23, 2012.   Comments (3)

Texas Roof Tiger — Add this to the 'Things on Roofs' file: Police in Houston, Texas received reports of a tiger sitting on the roof of an abandoned hotel. The animal was causing a bit of a traffic jam as drivers stopped to look at it. But upon investigation, it turned out to be a toy tiger. I'm assuming it was the work of a prankster, who's now out a pretty nice stuffed animal. Link: BBC News.
Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2012.   Comments (7)

The Fake Death of Cheetah the Chimp — As far as death hoaxes goes, this is a strange one, both because it involves a chimp and also because it's a fake death report of someone who died long ago. The story began last week, around Christmas, when it was reported that Cheetah, the chimp who played Tarzan's sidekick in the 1930s Tarzan films, had died at the ripe old age of 80. He had apparently spent the last decades of his life at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Florida. The cause of death was kidney failure. I remember…
Posted: Sun Jan 01, 2012.   Comments (1)

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.