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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Animals
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)

Hippo Eats Zookeeper (almost) — It's not a hoax, but I feel compelled to note any news story even vaguely similar to Hippo Eats Dwarf. From the Rocky Mountain News: A veteran worker at the Denver Zoo suffered a hand puncture today when a hippopotamus chomped down during routine dental training. The woman keeper was bitten about 9:45 a.m. in the outdoor hippo exhibit as she and colleagues were doing desensitizing training on Mahali, a 5-year-old male, to make dental work more comfortable for the hippo. "Mahali was…
Posted: Wed Jul 16, 2008.   Comments (4)

Horse Theft Scam — Horse thievery used to be a huge problem. After the American Civil War it became so rampant in the West that it inspired the creation of a vigilante group that called itself the Anti Horse Thief Association. This group had, at one point, 30,000 members. But horse theft is something I thought became obsolete with the widespread adoption of automobiles. Apparently not. Authorities in Tennessee are warning of a modern-day horse theft scam. People are showing up at farms claiming to be…
Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008.   Comments (4)

Two-Headed Pheasant — The BBC is on the hunt for a two-headed pheasant, after a photo of one, supposedly taken on the grounds of Himley Hall, near Dudley, was sent to them. The problem is, there are no one-headed pheasants living at Himley Hall, let alone two-headed ones. The BBC suspects a hoax: an artist from Birmingham said the bird looked remarkably similar one of her creations. Annabel de Vetten, who used stuffed birds for the works, gave one away as a present and another has gone missing. She said the…
Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2008.   Comments (4)

Sewer Horse 2 — I came across another picture of a horse in a sewer. I guess when it rains sewer horses, it pours. The previous sewer horse was pretty implausible. After all, you had a horse sticking its head out of a sewer, and no one was even looking at it. This sewer horse is more believable. I could imagine a horse wandering around in an open field, which happens to back into an open hole. And at least the firemen are looking at this horse. However, the shadows seem wrong. The angle of light…
Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008.   Comments (21)

What is it? — I was working in my backyard this weekend, when I turned over a rock and discovered this creepy-crawly. Anyone have an idea what it is? I wasn't about to mess with it. Looked like it had a stinger on its tail. Update: Thanks to Robin Bobcat for identifying it as a Jerusalem Cricket. According to the San Diego Natural History Museum: "this nocturnal cricket is actually non-aggressive and possesses no poison glands, although its jaws can inflict a painful bite." Even if it's…
Posted: Sun Jun 29, 2008.   Comments (24)

Sewer Horse — The latest internet meme is Sewer Horse: "Sewer Horse is Watching You" I have no explanation for the image. Is it real or fake? I haven't got a clue. It seems a bit unlikely that a horse would end up in a sewer, but then he could be in a large underground tunnel that has an opening he's looking out of. Sewer Horse is so popular that he even has his own website.
Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2008.   Comments (12)

Horse at School — I'm not sure if this is a prank, or just a case of bizarre willfulness. Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut warned a father and daughter not to bring their horse to school. They brought it anyway, so the school has charged them with breach of peace. From nbc30.com: Police were called Friday morning when a Westport man and his daughter walked a horse onto the campus of Staples High School, police said. School officials became concerned when a large group of students gathered…
Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008.   Comments (6)

Big Cow — He looks too big to be real, but apparently he genuinely is a giant cow. His name is Chilli, and he lives at the Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Somerset. From the Daily Mail: Chilli dwarfs most horses, is the same height as a small elephant and casts a shadow over his cattle companions who are about 5ft in height "He now stands at 6ft 6ins from the floor to the top of his shoulder and he is massive when he holds his head up. "We have made an application to Guinness Book Of Records and we…
Posted: Fri May 30, 2008.   Comments (21)

Malaysian Sea Monster — In an email with the subject "Giant Fish - Caught in Malaysia? Apparently...," Joshua Penley asks: "What the HELL is this?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!" This sounds like a question for Big Gary, the museum's Deputy Curator in Charge of Fish. I would simply note that the guys in the photos don't look particularly Malaysian, making it a case of "real picture, fake caption." The bottom picture reminds me of a picture of a (fake looking) sea monster, taken in 1906 on the beach at…
Posted: Thu May 15, 2008.   Comments (18)

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