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Giant Snake on Digging Machine Image

Outline
Circulating message claims that an attached photograph depicts a massive 700 lb snake hanging on the boom of a digging machine. According to the message, the snake was pulled from a lake in Proctor, North Carolina.

Python

© Depositphotos.com/Anna Lotowska



Brief Analysis
The photograph is genuine, but the snake almost certainly did not weigh 700 lb and it was not found in Proctor or anywhere else in the United States. The snake was found and killed by construction workers in Indonesia in 2012. Forced perspective makes the snake look considerably larger than it really is.

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Example
700lbs snake pulled out of a lake in Proctor , NC.
Explains any missing persons reports in the area .

Giant Snake on Diggger

Detailed Analysis


This photograph depicting a large snake draped over the boom of an earth-moving machine is rapidly going viral via Facebook and other social media websites. Several different captions have been added to the image. This version claims that the snake was pulled out of a lake in Proctor, North Carolina and weighed in at a whopping 700 pounds (317 kilograms). Alternative versions place the snake in various other locations around the world, including the new Panama Canal.

The image itself is genuine and does depict a real snake. However, the snake was almost certainly not 700 lb as claimed and it was not found in Proctor, North Carolina (or the Panama Canal). And the photographer has used a technique called forced perspective to make the snake look considerably larger than it really is. Because the snake is much closer to the lens than the machinery and the tip of the boom is not shown, an optical illusion is created in which the snake appears gigantic.

According to an Indonesian news report, the snake was found and killed by IT construction workers on a project in Indonesia's Bangka–Belitung Islands during 2012. The report explains that the "fairly large snake" was found silently coiled in a tree and killed by workers using heavy earth moving equipment.

According to National Geographic, the title holder for world's heaviest living snake goes to "Baby", a Burmese Python that weighed in at 403 pounds. In 2004, some news reports claimed that a snake at an Indonesian zoo weighed almost 990 pounds, and was close to 49 feet long. However, later reports suggest that the snake's height and weight were greatly exaggerated.

Accurate statistics for the snake in the above picture are not available. However, when the forced perspective trick is factored in, it seems reasonable to suggest that the snake, while certainly large, was well within the normal size range of snakes found in the region and would have weighed much less than 700 lbs. It should be noted that earlier versions of the message made no such claim for the snake's weight. The weight figure seems to have been added on by whoever made the false Proctor, NC claim. As python expert Richard Shine sagely noted to The Guardian's John Aglionby "these giant pythons always shrink whenever a tape measure turns up".

Giant snakes are a common subject of circulating Internet stories and it is certainly not the first time that a prankster has played fast and loose with the truth when describing a snake's vital statistics.

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Last updated: June 12, 2013
First published: June 12, 2013
Research: David White, Brett Christensen
By Brett M. Christensen
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References
Forced perspective
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49-foot python captured in Indonesia
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