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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Animals
Halloween Animal Myths Debunked — Late for Halloween, but still an interesting three-minute diversion. On this Good Morning Yahoo video, a zoo educator from Connecticut's Beardsley zoo debunks some Halloween animal myths: Can the horned owl turn its head all the way around? (No) Are tarantulas deadly? (No) Do bats get caught in your hair? (No, but they do fly close to people's heads to catch mosquitoes.) Are black widows deadly? (No, but they do have strong venom) Do scorpions glow in the dark? (Yes) (Thanks, Big Gary!)
Posted: Tue Nov 03, 2009.   Comments (2)

The Montgomery Animal Shelter Isn’t Closing — From nj.com: If you want to bombard a township with calls from angry people, start a rumor that cats and dogs are going to die. That's exactly what happened Tuesday and today, when an Internet rumor claiming the local animal shelter in Montgomery was going to close and all cats and dogs remaining there would be euthanized. And it happened across the country, too, as a viral rumor with countless incarnations made similar claims about shelters in communities named Montgomery. Only one…
Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2009.   Comments (3)

Is this fish a world record or a cheat? — From Wired.com: On September 5, Saskatchewan fisherman Sean Konrad caught a 48-pound, world-record rainbow trout. The fish came from Lake Diefenbaker, where trout genetically engineered to grow extra-big escaped from a fish farm nine years ago... Technically known as triploids, they’re designed with three sets of chromosomes, making them sterile and channeling energies normally spent reproducing towards growth. In 2007, on a message board of the International Game Fish Association, the…
Posted: Mon Sep 21, 2009.   Comments (14)

The Phantom Dog Poisoner — Dog owners in the town of Basildon are concerned that someone may be trying to poison their pets. They've organized meetings to discuss the danger. Not that any dogs have been poisoned so far. No one has even seen any signs of poison around. But an email rumor has everyone spooked.
Posted: Tue Sep 08, 2009.   Comments (4)


Barbecued Cats? — After receiving a complaint that some residents of a Houston apartment complex were barbecuing stray cats, the Bureau of Animal Regulation and Control investigated but determined the complaint was a hoax. But their conclusion isn't that reassuring, because after analyzing bone fragments from nearby dumpsters, the bureau did find that "There are animals that have been consumed that are similar to the size and structure of a cat." So, if not cats, what were these animals that were…
Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009.   Comments (11)

The South American Reetsa Expedition — If you're well-versed in hoax lore, you might have heard the story of the South American Reetsa Expedition. It's a hoax attributed to the New York City prankster Brian G. Hughes, who was active as a hoaxer from around 1895 to 1910. (He died in 1924.) He pulled off quite a few hoaxes. Around 1895 he submitted a cat to the New York cat show, claiming it was a rare breed known as the Dublin Brindle. After it won a prize, he revealed it was just an alley cat. A few years later he tried a…
Posted: Wed Jun 10, 2009.   Comments (6)

Dolphins vs. Pirates — China's official news agency, Xinhua, is claiming that thousands of dolphins spontaneously decided to protect a fleet of Chinese merchant ships that were being attacked by Somali pirates: The Chinese merchant ships escorted by a China’s fleet sailed on the Gulf of Aden when they met some suspected pirate ships. Thousands of dolphins suddenly leaped out of water between pirates and merchants when the pirate ships headed for the China’s. The suspected pirates ships stopped and then turned…
Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009.   Comments (4)

Enforcer Skunks — There's a lot of speculation in the town of York, New Hampshire Maine about the skunk signs that were placed on many traffic-enforcement signs on April 1st. The signs feature hand-painted, smiling skunks wearing yellow sashes with the word "Enforcer" painted on. The signs also have a drawing of a zebra with the statement, "Whoever says they did it, didn't do it." When asked if the police were going to be contacted, Community Development Director Steve Burns said, "They're our No. 1…
Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2009.   Comments (4)

Mystery Lamb Prank — Why did pranksters steal a lamb from Jim Dufosee's field on Salisbury Plain and leave it on a doorstep of a house in Pound Street. Nobody knows. However, the picture of the lamb being held by the farmer should provide you with your daily dose of cuteness. [wiltshire.co.uk]
Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2009.   Comments (0)

Animals That Lie — A NY Times article about the biology of deceit notes that among primates there's "a direct relationship between sneakiness and brain size." It offers this story: chimpanzees or orangutans in captivity sometimes tried to lure human strangers over to their enclosure by holding out a piece of straw while putting on their friendliest face. “People think, Oh, he likes me, and they approach,” Dr. de Waal said. “And before you know it, the ape has grabbed their ankle and is closing in for the…
Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008.   Comments (10)

Jackalope Sausage — From Cabela's you can buy actual Jackalope Sausage: The jackalope is nearly impossible to find, yet, we've successfully located the elusive animal and captured its wonderful flavoring. Jackalope (i.e. antelope, rabbit and beef) are mixed together and smoked slowly for mouth-watering results. An amusing gift for the skeptic and believer alike. Contains three 6-oz. "jackalope" summer sausages. Eating this would be kind of contrary to the idea of trying to Save the Jackalope.…
Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2008.   Comments (2)

Black Dog Syndrome — Black Dog Syndrome is defined as "the propensity of dark-coated animals to be passed over for adoption [at animal shelters] in favor of their lighter counterparts." Reasons why the syndrome may exist: the age-old association of light with good and dark with evil; "Black dogs often don't photograph well. Facial features disappear, and animals can appear less expressive"; "black dogs sometimes fade away into the kennel shadows". And apparently black cats face the same problem as black…
Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2008.   Comments (10)

The Hypoallergenic Dog Myth — When the Obamas recently announced they were searching for a dog to have in the White House, they noted that one of the criteria was that it would need to be hypoallergenic, since Malia is allergic to dogs. The media quickly raised the possibility of a White House poodle, since poodles are supposedly a hypoallergenic breed. Skeptics have quickly pointed out that the idea of a hypoallergenic dog breed is a myth. Individuals dogs may produce less of the protein that causes the allergic…
Posted: Mon Nov 17, 2008.   Comments (9)

Giant Lobster — Darren asks, is this real? I can't name the species (any ideas, Big Gary?), but it doesn't look implausible to me. So I'm going to say, Yes, it's probably real. But I won't upgrade that to definitely real until someone can identify the species. Source: acreditesequiser.net Update: It's a model of an ancient sea scorpion (a eurypterid from the Ordovician era) made by Crawley Creatures for the BBC show Sea Monsters. The man posing with the model is the founder of Crawley Creatures,…
Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2008.   Comments (9)

A fake horse dressed in PVC — Problem: the Cleveland Bay, the breed of horse used to pull the Queen's Royal carriage, was dying out. Solution: a fake horse dressed in PVC clothing which is being used to seduce the few stallions that remain. The fake horse is named "Doris." "The scientists who designed and built Doris quickly discovered her partner - much like certain humans - performed better if she wore PVC." That's another factoid to add to my ever-growing fund of useless trivia.
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2008.   Comments (3)

Cat Hoaxes — Axonoid.com promises that they'll eventually have a list of 11 cat hoaxes. In part 1 they have five: Elvis the Robo-Cat Bonsai Kittens The one-eyed kitten (which was real!) Painted Cats Snowball the Monster Cat The article is worth a look if only to rewatch the video of Elvis the Robo-Cat.
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2008.   Comments (3)

Lost Dog — Most people, when they lose their dog, put up flyers around the neighborhood. When Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel, lost his dog recently, he placed two billboards at Sunset and Alvardo in LA to let people know. The billboards showed his dog, HedKayce, dressed in American Apparel fashions. This made everyone suspicious that the billboard was some kind of publicity stunt. In fact, there were rumors that his dog may have been missing since April. But as of yesterday, the…
Posted: Thu Aug 14, 2008.   Comments (4)

Killer Whale vs. Penguin — Killer whales do eat penguins, but I'd say this has been photoshopped. For a start, if you look closely it appears that the killer whale already has something in its mouth. I have no information about who created the photo or where the original images came from.
Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2008.   Comments (16)

Doggy Condoms — The internet was already home to dogcondoms.com, which I posted about back in 2005. But for someone out there, one version of the joke was not enough, because there is now also doggycondoms.com (registered in May 2008). It's the exact same joke, just more elaborately fleshed out. It looks like it's the creation of the humor website DailyContempt.com, which is also responsible for a slew of other hoax sites including (but not limited to) puppybeef.com, puppyprofits.com, and
Posted: Fri Aug 08, 2008.   Comments (1)

The Fishing Lures of Faith — Not to be outdone by Christian fundamentalists, Islamic fundamentalists have come out with their own anti-evolution treatises. Among the most prominent of these is the Atlas of Creation by Harun Yahya. It's a long work (and more is on the way) consisting primarily of page after page of examples showing that modern-day species can be found in the fossil record. This is supposed to demonstrate that evolution hasn't occurred. Volume 1 contains the example of the Caddis Fly. The…
Posted: Thu Jul 24, 2008.   Comments (6)

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