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.

Giant dog
A forced perspective example: the dog is actually not a giant.

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 a 7+ meters crocodile that weighs 1200 kg.

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.

7+ meters crocodile hoax - an example of forced perspective
7+ meters crocodile hoax – an example of forced perspective

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”.

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.

33-feet long Brazil anaconda
Giant anaconda: another example of the forced perspective technique.

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.”

Krys Crocodile
Forced perspective examples: the only known photo of the Krys

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.

Forced perspective - Camel spiders, Iraq
In 2004, an email started getting circulated, with the picture above attached, saying “From someone stationed in Baghdad… It’ll give you a better idea of what our troops are dealing with.” The story is a hoax and the photographer used forced perspective. Camel spiders cannot get that big.

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.

Monster pig
Monster pig

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.

Giant rat
Giant rat. Photo: AsiaOne

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.

Giant condor
Forced perspective examples: Giant condor hoax

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.

Forced perspective examples: A giant dead rattlesnake
Forced perspective examples: A giant dead rattlesnake

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.

Forced perspective examples: Yuki the wolfdog
Forced perspective examples: Yuki the wolfdog

10. Giant cats

A giant cat and a very strong dude, or…?

Forced perspective examples: Giant cat
Forced perspective examples: Giant cat. Photo: Reddit

Sources

M. Özgür Nevres

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