The internet is a wild and tropical jungle, full of photos that may or may not be real. There are people who have photoshopping pictures down to a fine art, and in fact there are often internet competitions for photoshopping pictures with different themes that keen digital manipulators can enter to make money and win accolades. When most advertising campaigns use photoshopping and airbrushing to enhance the images they use for their campaign, the skill of being able to manipulate photos realistically and well is a marketable one. And what better way to work on your skills than make a fake ‘giant animal’ photo and have it go viral.
Everyone loves a photo of a giant animal. The idea that lurking somewhere ‘out there’, whether in the grim darkness of a swamp or the murky basements of suburbia lies the BIGGEST X EVER is very exciting.
But the truth is that animals, and people too, rarely stray much beyond the norm of size. Most wild animals are roughly within a size range, most domestic breeds of animal stay true to breed. Mammals (as long as they don’t have health complications) stop growing when they reach the age of maturity. Some reptiles, amphibians and fish can keep growing seemingly indefinitely, so that is why some of them can attain such a huge size.
Here are 15 photos of animals that are just huge. Are they real or fake? Let’s have a look to see if there really are monsters out there.
15 Giant Frog
Everyone has seen the photo of the dude and the big ol’ bullfrog. But is this a real frog, or is this all ‘fake news’?
Well according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Steve Lightfoot, the frog is legit.
Not QUITE as big as it looks in the picture though – the 13 pound Frogzilla is being held towards the camera so that it seems a bit bigger than it really is.
And I am ok with that. If you have to shoot a frog to kill it then its too big and it scares me.
The biggest frog in the world is the goliath frog, which lives in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
They eat snakes.
Blaugghhhhh. They can stay in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, as far as I am concerned. They are endangered because people want to buy them as pets and for zoo exhibits but they never reproduce in captivity.
14 Giant Rabbit
Meet Jeff, the Continental Giant Rabbit, who is the longest rabbit in the world.
Jeff is 4’5’’ long and weighs 42 pounds. His owner, Annette Edwards owns Jeff and the previous Guinness World Records Holder, Darius. Proving the giant bunny apple doesn’t fall far from the giant bunny tree, Darius is Jeff’s father.
Another of Darius’ babies, Simon, sadly died on a United Airlines flight. Had he lived to grow to his full size, Simon may have eclipsed both his father and brother.
Rabbits the size of dogs are popular pets, growing so in popularity as people realize the benefit of having such a big, cuddly herbivore who can help eat...well basically a LOT of rabbit food! Still, if you are a vegetarian or vegan and have ethical problems with feeding carnivore pets meat, then here is a pet for you!
Jeff is adorable though, and I know I am very, very happy about the verdict on this photo.
Verdict: REAL and Cute!
13 Monster Pig, Or When The Desire For Giant Animal Pictures Is Out Of Control
Pigzilla was presented as a giant feral pig who was allegedly shot by eleven year old Jamison Stone and measured at 1,051 points and 9 ‘ 4” long. This was not verified, but photos of young Jamison with the dead pig soon went viral.
It turned out that the hog was actually a domestic pig, a friendly, trusting creature named Fred who loved children and sweet potatoes (for different reasons). There was even a grand jury investigation of the killing of the pig, despite the investigation into cruelty being called off eventually. Accusations were made that photos of the pig were doctored.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding poor Fred’s death, it is sad to think of a friendly, sweet potato loving dude being chased around until he bled to death.
‘Canned hunting’ is a controversial topic on any occasion, and if there was anything good in Fred’s death, its that it opened up the conversation a little about releasing domesticated animals into enclosures specifically to kill.
12 Giant Goldfish
Goldfish are funny things. When I was growing up we had a small pond that would ice over the top in winter. The goldfish, far from being bothered by this, lived for 5-10 years on average. Other goldfish I have owned have died for no reason at all while in a lovely tank and getting the best of goldfish care. Capricious things.
Anyway, what is NEVER a good idea is to dump goldfish rivers and oceans. They very often survive and grow huge – it seems that goldfish (which are really just fancy carp) grow bigger when they are in bigger places.
Cue the giant goldfish.
Giant is pretty subjective though – according to experts, goldfish in the wild will grow to be the size of footballs and that’s kind of it. Koi Carp can grow bigger.
This goldfish in this picture – hmmm, I think there is a lot of perspective shifting going on. I’m going to give him half a point.
11 Giant Grasshoppers
There are definitely real giant grasshoppers and locusts. They are about the length of a man’s hand and they are heavy and fly in great swarms and mercilessly eat crops.
However in the early to mid 20th century there was a fashion for ‘trick’ photography in America and hundreds of silly photos were produced showing jackalopes, giant grasshoppers and other fearsome and freakish critters.
As well as being a bit of fun, these photos were made into post cards to be sent to friends and family from vacations in other parts of the country. What better way to show Uncle George that you are having a better time than he ever could be than by showing him pictures of giant insects!
It's like Instagram without the tagging, and people actually look.
So are these big old hoppers real or phoney?
Verdict: So FAKE
10 Giant Dog
Great Danes are a giant breed of dog that are sadly also known as the ‘heartbreak’ breed, because many of them have shorter lifespans and suffer from conditions caused by old age at a relatively young age.
Freddy the Great Dane is the biggest dog in the world, on his hind feet he is 7’6” tall and he weighs 203 pounds. But Don’t worry about Freddy – he has it made, his owner, Claire Stoneman (who he shares with his slightly smaller sister Fleur) lets him sleep in her kind sized bed and drink out of the kitchen sink!
Freddy likes roast chicken, peanut butter toast and destroying furniture.
Claire has to get up super early to walk him each day so that he doesn’t scare anyone.
At 4 years old, Freddy already looks grey around the muzzle. With an expected lifespan of only 6-8 years, he is already middle aged.
Still, I think he is a beautiful mature gentleman and I hope there are many roast chickens and yummy peanut butter toast slices to come!
Verdict: REAL but staged
9 Giant Cat
Samson the Maine Coon Cat is a very large and furry fluffykins who is the biggest cat in New York City. Samson lives with a regular sized human called Joseph Zurbel who is kind enough to help Sampson maintain his 60,000 strong Instagram following.
Samson is a ‘dream cat’, according to his owner, who is clearly under the spell of this 28 pound pussycat. Samson is 4 ft long and is being considered for a place in the Guinness Book of Records.
I am so glad that Samson is a sweet and loving cat because I grew up with a cat called Zac who was very large (not quite this large) and he was the most unpleasant creature I have ever encountered. He hated everyone equally and would attack you if you had bare feet or if you fed him too late, or maybe because he just felt like it. If he had been the size of Samson then maybe I would not be here writing this list today.
8 Giant Alligator
Gators like to hunt, people like to hunt, everyone likes to hunt. People like to hunt gators and in Okeechobee Florida, Lee Lightsy and Black Godwin caught an 800 pound alligator which they say had been eating local cattle.
The internet had a lot to say, what with some people being against hunting alligators, some people being against hunting this particular alligator, some people being against hunting in general and some people just loving attacking other people on the internet.
Alligators are protected in Florida, and people who want to hunt them need a licence. Apparently they used to be endangered, which is news to me because I always thought the ground was thick with them and if you went anywhere at all in the Everglades then you got immediately eaten.
The alligator was apparently stuffed and given to a local charity.
7 Giant Catfish
No, this has nothing to do with Max or Nev or anyone pretending to be a Nigerian Prince, and it has everything to do with actual giant catfish.
A nearly 9 foot long catfish was caught in Thailand in 2005 may have been the largest freshwater fish ever caught. It weighed 646 pounds and took fishermen an hour to haul in in their nets.
Despite the efforts of the villagers in trying to keep the monster alive, it died and became dinner for many.
Sadly these giant catfish are at great risk of overfishing, and need to be protected to scare future generations out of swimming in rivers.
There are a lot of ‘big fish’ photos that are doctored, just like there are many ‘big fish’ stories that aren’t strictly true.
This one came from National Geographic and seems to be pretty honest, however.
6 Giant Moray Eels
Moray eels are the things that nightmares are made of. They live in scary undersea crevices where they hide their huge bulk out of sight and then they pop out and eat things that go past.
All this goes back to my personal agreement that I don’t swim in the ocean and the ocean doesn’t come in my house.
Anyway, not everyone is a chicken like I am, and some people go diving and swimming around into and under the ocean like they are born to it. These people often swim past frightening sea life like it's ok to do that, and more power to them, but these people are the ones who are going to get eaten by a Giant Moray Eel, not me.
Giant Moray Eels can be three meters long and they attack scuba divers.
That’s enough for me! I am noping right out of there!
Verdict: I think the size of the eel is very exaggerated by perspective, but swim for your lives! REAL.
5 Greater Adjutant Stork
This large and endangered bird lives in India and Cambodia. It looks like one of your nightmares come to life and lives amongst rubbish.
They fly high in the air with vultures and, like vultures, they mostly scavenge.
Due to better sanitation there are now less of the birds. They spend their lives wandering around, flying high or sitting still for hours. In captivity they can live into their 40’s.
One of the problems with the Greater Adjutant Stork is that they don’t seem to be very good at birding, and they often fall out of their nests and have to be rescued by humans. Aside from that, and their love of human made rubbish heaps, they are quite harmless to humans.
That said, would you let your kid wander around those things?
The photo shows a poverty stricken child looking through rubbish for things of value while being watched carefully by a group of storks.
4 Giant Crab
The Japanese Crab is one of the many reasons I do not swim in the ocean or eat seafood – it is part of my bargain with the denizens of the ocean that we do not bother each other.
The Japanese spider crab is enormous, crabby and apparently tasty.
Living in deep vents in the ocean, the Japanese spider crab is protected for the parts of the year that it breeds in shallower water.
These crabs walk around the bottom of the ocean on their long legs, like something out of a Salvadore Dali dreamscape. They are known for being dangerous and having very strong front claws with which they can deliver a painful nip. Their numbers are declining due to overfishing, and measures are being taken to protect them and make sure that they are there to menace future generations.
Verdict: I don’t know why the man is hugging the crab like that, but whatever, love is love. REAL.
3 Giant Tortoise
Giant tortoises are pretty cool. They live on the Galapagos and Seychelles islands. They are huge, and can live to be 100 years old.
What people don’t necessarily know was that tortoises used to be everywhere and the biggest ones were the Siwaliks giant tortoises from India which were twice the size of the current ones.
Giant tortoises are also quite intelligent. And they can float. But the reason that there aren’t that many of them around is that people (our ancestors) ate them all. You see, tortoises are very slow and easy to catch, they have useful shells and they can be stored alive for a long time without going bad or needing to eat or drink. Very helpful when you don’t have refrigeration!
Turtles are very big and much bigger than squashed up humans like the one in the photo.
Verdict: REAL (but with a good use of perspective)
2 Giant Sea Lamprey
Oh. My Goodness.
I did not even know that this thing existed because I thought that the world was a better place than this, but it seems that Giant Sea Lamprey’s exist. Something that I thought was like a leech turns out to be a kind of fishy type eel thing that swims around and bores into you with its tongue, distributing an anticoagulant and drinking their blood until they die.
SOUNDS LIKE FUN!
Apparently they don’t specifically target humans, but they aren’t opposed to sucking us to death, they just don’t get much of a chance to do so.
Well that is just fine, you do you, lamprey boo. I wish I had never heard of you and your cylindrical messed up teeth mouth and your boring holes in flesh tongue.
Verdict: I’m not even looking at the picture. Figure it out for yourself.
1 Giant Sunfish
Now here is an ocean dweller I can get behind. Weighing up to 2,200 pounds and spanning up to 15 feet high, the sunfish is the world’s biggest bony fish. They are happy big floaty blobs that swim around making everyone’s day better and mostly living on jelly fish, who generally suck as a species so hashtag team sunfish.
This particular sunfish was merrily swimming its way in the warm waters near Portugal, as you do, when it was found by a group of divers who swam around taking pictures of it without any sort of permission from the sunfish or its agent.
Like all good giants should, it politely ignored its human companions and continued on its search for jellyfish, which brings me to another point – don’t leave plastic bags on the beach! You don’t want marine animals eating them thinking they are yummy jellies.