World’s Largest Crocodile? (7+ meters/23+ feet)

A widely circulated photo over the internet which shows a giant crocodile with a bunch of villagers sitting behind. A story next to the photo saying “the people in a village on the Niger River in Africa were losing fellow villagers at a rapid rate, and called in the army, which shot a 7+ meters, 1200 kg crocodile.

Crocodiles often suffer from a prevalence of “big fish” stories and over-exaggeration. The picture below was first shared on Reddit, and it started circulating rapidly since then. When I first saw the photo, I tried to guess the length of the crocodile, because it didn’t seem to me 7+ meters. I thought it was not more than 5 meters.

Largest croc hoax
A 7+ meters crocodile? Definitely not.

The story, also, is a certain hoax. The real story is: the crocodile was found in extreme north of Zimbabwe, on the border of Mozambique and is reported to have attacked and killed a number of fully grown cows (unlike mentioned in the hoax story, not humans). It was shot and killed by an animal control officer. Circumstances did not allow the measurement of this beast, but several estimates put it to be around 15-16 feet (4.57-4.87 meters), considering a 25 mm cigarette filter lying slightly in the foreground. The crocodile looks much bigger in the picture because of “forced perspective”.

Forced perspective is a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. It is used primarily in photography, filmmaking and architecture. It manipulates human visual perception through the use of scaled objects and the correlation between them and the vantage point of the spectator or camera. (wikipedia)

Giant dog
A forced perspective example: the dog is actually not a giant.
Potemkin stairs
Another forced perspective example: the Potemkin Stairs in Odessa extend for 142 meters, but give the illusion of greater depth since the stairs are wider at the bottom than at the top.

Follow the link to see the real biggest crocs: Top 10 largest crocodiles ever recorded.

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