Forced perspective, also known as the “trick angle” 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.
The forced perspective technique is also widely used to fool people on the Internet to get shares: giant snakes, impossible big crocodiles or alligators, huge rats, etc. Here are 10 examples of forced perspective and why you shouldn’t believe everything you see on the Internet.
1. 7+ meters crocodile? (23+ feet) Sorry but no…
A widely circulated photo over the internet 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
Crocodiles often suffer from a prevalence of “big fish” stories and over-exaggeration. The photo below was first got 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.
The story, also, is a certain hoax. The real story is: the crocodile was found in the 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 the “forced perspective”.
Related: The largest crocodiles ever recorded
2. 10-meter (33 feet) snake hoax – another forced perspective example
According to some websites including iflscience, a giant 10-meter (33 feet) long anaconda was found at a construction site in Altamira, Pará in northern Brazil. The monster snake is also said to be 1 meter (3.2 feet) in diameter and weighs 400 kg (881.849 lbs).
If it’s true, it would be the largest snake ever recorded in history. But, obviously, it is a hoax. The snake hasn’t been properly authenticated, and it is much larger than any other accurately reported sighting. Another example of the forced perspective technique.
Related: The largest snakes in the world
3. Krys, the “Savannah King”
According to a story, a giant crocodile was shot near Normanton, Queensland, Australia, in the Norman River. It was shot in July 1958 and nicknamed Krys after the person who shot it. It was claimed at 28 foot 4 inches (8.64 meters). There is a life-size replica of it at Normanton, Queensland, Australia.
Zoologist Adam Britton says: “I’ve never counted “Krys” because it’s just a story – there’s no evidence at all to back it up, and it just seems so far outside the maximum possible range for this species that I’d need some pretty solid evidence to believe it. That’s why it never appears in any official statistics. The minimum acceptable criteria for recording-breaking crocs should include a tape measure along their back because “big fish” stories outnumber accurate estimates by several orders of magnitude.”
4. Foot-long camel spiders in Iraq
Yes, solifugae, also known as camel spiders can be quite large: the largest species can grow up to 15 cm (5-6 in), including legs.
But, the story about foot-long (33 cm) camel spaders in Iraq is a hoax and the forced perspective is again used in the attached photos when it was shared.
Those in the picture below were around 4 cm (1.6 in) long according to a correspondent who knows the sergeant in the photo.
5. Monster pig hoax
This 2007 photo below was distributed by the Associated Press (AP). According to the story, an 11-year-old Alabama boy hunter killed a wild 1051-pound (476 kg) beast. It was also measured at 9 feet 4 inches (2.84 m) in length.
The image turned out to be fake, created with forced perspective. Many tabloid publishers including New York Post and New York Daily News swallowed the bait and published the photo as it was authentic, without any mention of forced perspective.
6. Giant rats
This is how you make a normal rat look like a giant. In the photo below, you can see the actual size of the animal and its “giant” size created with forced perspective.
7. Giant “South American” Condor
The photo of a giant “South American” Condor was also widely circulated.
First of all, there’s no condor called the “South American” Condor. It’s “Andean Condor”, and yes, it’s one of the largest bird species in the world. But the photo below is obviously fake.
Related: Top 15 Largest Birds in the World
8. Giant dead rattlesnake
I think, at this point, there’s no explanation needed. No rattlesnake can get that big.
As a rule of thumb, in a photo, if the “giant” thing is in front of the human who is there to scale, the forced perspective technique is most probably used.
9. Yuki the wolfdog
The photograph of the famous wolfdog Yuki. People who care for Yuki assure it isn’t photoshopped.
Yes, it isn’t photoshopped, and Yuki was quite large, but still, the photo is deceptive, since the forced perspective technique is used. Yuki weighed 55kgs (121 lbs) and was only slightly shorter than the five foot four carer (162 cm) in the photograph.
Unfortunately, Yuki died in November 2020 at the age of 13.
As a side note, I’ve seen bigger dogs than this.
10. Giant cats
A giant cat and a very strong dude, or…?
- “World’s Largest Crocodile – Facts Analysis” on HoaxOrFact.com.
- Forced Perspective on Wikipedia
- Trick Angle (forced perspective) on hoaxes.org
- “Myth: Too many ‘camel spider’ tall tales” on the Burke Museum website
- “Move Over Balloon Boy, Remember Monster Pig Hoax? Forced Perspective Photo Tricks on Flickr” by Molika Ashford on the iMediaEthics website
- How to fake a giant rat (and why you shouldn’t trust pictures on the Internet) on The Guardian
- “About that giant dead rattlesnake e-mail you got” on the Living Alongside Wildlife website