The Weirdest Critters on the Internet

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Golden Zebra

Via Facebook

bes·ti·ar·y noun : An illustrated compendium of beasts, real and imaginary.

Meet Zoe, a rare gold-striped zebra born with a melanin pigment deficiency known as amelanosis. Zoe the zebra is quite real, if a bit digitally enhanced.

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An Internet Bestiary: Strange Creatures

Image created by R.J. Mataleone,

"His parents, posing in their scuba gear for an underwater picture, had no idea why he suddenly panicked and swam away... but not before taking the vacation snapshot of a lifetime."

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Angolan Witch Spider

Angolan Witch Spider
Image credit: Paul Santa Maria

Some say this critter is native to Texas, others claim the photo was taken in Australia, and still others refer to the giant specimen pictured above as an "Angolan Witch Spider." If you see it coming, keep your pets inside.

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Shark Attacks Helicopter

Shark Attacks Diver

Whoa! Is that a great white shark lunging out of the waves to attack that unarmed scuba diver dangling from a helicopter rescue ladder? (Hint: Yes, it is a great white shark, but...)

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Piranha on Steroids

In this viral image, fishermen display a dangerous-looking fish with a mouthful of razor-sharp teeth. Caption: "Piranha on Steroids."

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Found online, this unsettling image appears to document the existence of a bizarre half-human, half-animal hybrid creature with identical offspring. What is it really?

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Dead Merman


This curious photo documents a rather unattactive merman carcass supposedly washed up on a public beach. The location of this find has been variously identified as Venda, South Africa; Cebu, The Philippines; and Fort Desoto Beach, Florida. The truth of the matter is that it was cooked up in someone's garage.

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Black Lion

Black Lion
Image originated on ©2012 ~PAulie-SVK

As shared on Facebook, this image purports to show a rare black ("melanistic") lion found in Africa. If true, it would be the first and only photograph of a melanistic lion known to exist.

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Giant Mutant Cat

Image credit: Cordell Hauglie

A classic viral image. The photo shows a gargantuan house cat named Snowball in the arms of his alleged owner, one Roger Degagne. Rumor has it they found one another at an abandoned nuclear site.

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Freaky Fish

This is but one of several photos circulating online of an exceedingly strange sea creature with a wicked smile allegedly washed up on a beach in Tampa Bay, Florida.

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Puppy with a Heart

Photo by Koichi Kamoshida / Getty Images

Here you see a chihuahua puppy born in Japan with a heart-shaped pattern in its fur. This is not a hoax!

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Giant Catfish

A forwarded email says these gentlemen landed this mighty fish in Lake Texoma, Texas in 2004. We don't deny that world-record catfish have been caught in that body of water; just not this particular catfish.

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Dam Sheep

These are supposedly bighorn sheep (ibex, actually) perched on the face of Buffalo Bill Dam (Cingino Dam in Italy, actually). Despite the inaccurate caption, this photo is real!

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Dead Mermaid


We are asked to believe that this is the carcass of a mermaid washed up on a beach near Chennai, India after the tsunami of December 26, 2004. We are skeptical.

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This image was sent to me by a reader who wrote: "I received this pic of an alleged strange-headed lizard found in Malta, Europe. Does such a strange-headed creature really exist?" I don't think so.

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Gator Aid

Image source: unknown, circulating via social media

According to the caption accompanying this viral Facebook photo, a large "alligator" was seen circling a stranded motorist during flooding caused by Hurricane Isaac in 2012.

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Long, Long Snake

This extra-long specimen was purportedly photographed on the Morganza Spillway near Baton Rouge, Florida; and in New South Wales, Australia; and in Delray, Florida; etc.

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Tiger Adopts Piglets

This snapshot taken at a zoo in Southeast Asia allegedly shows a mother tiger caring for a brood of piglets costumed in tiger skin.

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Giant Mutant Cat #2

The standard caption accompanying this viral image reads: "Why You Don't Feed Your Cat Table Scraps!" Was this big fellow raised near a nuclear power plant too?

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Camel Spiders

Look carefully and you'll see this is actually a pair of giant insects known as camel spiders in a snapshot taken by a U.S. soldier in Iraq. Legend has it they eat human flesh!

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Monster Crocodile

Viral photo of a monster croc fished from the sea in the port of Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo in 2003. It's real.

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Monster Crocodile 2

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Giant Coconut Crab

A gargantuan specimen of Birgus latro, the coconut crab, named for its preferred diet of fallen coconuts and said to be the world's largest land-dwelling arthropod.

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The Lion Cut

This image captures the reaction of "one seriously pissed off cat" after its groomer misunderstood the owner's instructions and gave her a "lion cut" instead of a "line cut."

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The Snake in the Computer

A computer user calls tech support after her computer begins making hissing sounds. Upon opening the housing of her PC they found a real, live snake coiled around the machine's innards.

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The Snake in the Computer 2

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Black Fawn

Photo ©2010 Richard Buquoi

A set of images circulating online show a "melanistic" fawn covered head-to-toe in dark, black fur.

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Albino Fawn

Emailed image of an albino fawn found near Stanley, North Dakota, or the Bolivar Peninsula in Texas, or West Liberty, Kentucky, depending on which version of the story you choose to accept.

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Catfish Bites Basketball

"A guy saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange like," reads the caption of this photo, "and when he went to investigate, it was a flathead catfish with a child's basketball stuck in its mouth."

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A Snake, Fishing

Look closely at this image and you can discern a very large snake (a python, evidently) fishing its prey (a wallaby, evidently) out of a pond in Western Australia.

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World's Biggest Dog

Say hello to a gargantuan specimen named Hercules, purportedly the Guinness Record holder for World's Biggest Dog.

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412-Pound Deer

Allegedly, this forwarded image shows a 412-pound deer bagged by a hunter in Clarion County, Pennsylvania (or perhaps Nebraska, depending on which version you believe).

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Piranha on Steroids 2

fish urban legends,viral images
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Rainbow Owl

The exceedingly rare "rainbow owl" pictured below is supposedly known for its bright, multicolored plumage and an inordinate fondness for disco music.

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Snake Hiding in Wreath

Photo by Jill Jones

From a set of photos showing a 5-foot-long rat snake coiled around a floral wreath on the front door of someone's home near Slidell, LA.

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Cougar on the Porch

Image attributed to Dave Rodgers (circulating via email)

Amateur photos taken through a screen door show a cougar (mountain lion) prowling the porch of someone's suburban home. Not yours, I hope.

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Cougar on the Porch 2

Image attributed to Dave Rodgers (circulating via email)
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Pit Bull vs. Porcupine

First things first. This poor pooch isn't really a pit bull. She's a bull terrier named Inca. She did have an unfortunate encounter with a porcupine, but her owners say she's doing fine.

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Work Moose

Work Moose

This widely shared image purportedly shows a full-grown "work moose" being harnessed to haul wood in a logging operation. Be skeptical!

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Urban Shark

This photo, supposedly taken at the height of Hurricane Irene in August 2011, purports to show a great white shark prowling flooded city streets in Puerto Rico.

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Crocodile Eats Golfer

Not for the squeamish: "The impatient golfer was not located, but his clubs were found on the hole. Three days later, Ole Mose was spotted on the seventh hole and was an immediate suspect."

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Did You Lose a Cat?

Here we see a fully-grown raccoon standing upright in a doorway and cradling a small cat or kitten in its arms. Believable? Real? Or a hoax?

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Sneaky Mountain Lion

This viral image purports to show a mountain lion stalking a hunter as he poses with his freshly-killed elk in North Dakota. Shhhhh...

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800-Pound Razorback Hog

"The hog was reportedly killed in Arkansas. The man in the picture killed him. The afternoon before, he saw this hog eating on the side of the road. He weighed 800 pounds."

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Why the Ocean Is So Salty

According to an Internet urban legend, your typical blue whale produces over 400 gallons of sperm when it ejaculates. And you wonder why the ocean is so salty?

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Alligator's Lunch

"This was taken by a KTBS helicopter flying over Cross Lake! (For those of you who aren't local, Cross Lake is in Shreveport, La.) That has to be a HUGE gator to have a whole deer in its mouth!"

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Texas Rattlesnake


"Next time you're out in the tall grass, remember this one. This snake was recently found at the J & S Quik Mart located just south of RR 3014 Turnoff on Highway 281 south of Tow, Texas."

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Texas Gator

Image attributed to Val Horvath

Viral image of a reptilian behemoth allegedly shot in Texas (or Florida, depending on which version you believe) by a fearless game warden named Joe Goff.

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Polar Bear and Huskies at Play

Photo by Norbert Rosing

One of a series of images showing a 1,200-pound polar bear apparently playing with husky sled dogs in sub-arctic northern Canada.

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Moose on a Wire

This unfortunate moose was apparently strung up on power cables by a utility crew, entirely by accident, near Fairbanks, Alaska.

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Deer on a Pole

This viral image documents the discovery of a dead deer high atop a utility pole in a remote area of Baltimore (or Winnipeg, Manitoba, depending on version). Predominant theory: struck by a train.

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Mule Attacks Mountain Lion

Viral images purport to show a mountain lion receiving an ass-kicking (quite literally!) somewhere in Arizona, Wyoming, or Montana, depending on version.

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World Record Grizzly Bear

World Record Grizzly Bear
Photo by James Urban, as circulated via email

One of a set of pictures showing an ordinary guy who works for the forest service in Alaska who was out deer hunting one day when a massive,world record grizzly bear charged him from 50 yards away.

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Calico Buck

Image source: unknown, circulating via email

Hunter's snapshot of a "calico buck" shot in Wisconsin. Its head and hide were allegedly sold for $13,000.

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Man-Eating Catfish

"Each year, a few people will drown mysteriously in Huadu's Furong Reservoir. It was not until recently when the son of a certain official went swimming in the reservoir with his friend and drowned that the secret was unraveled!"

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Another Giant Dog

From a viral email touting a humongous dog for sale: "Owner cannot afford to feed him anymore, as there are no more thieves, murderers, rapists or molesters left in the neighborhood for him to eat."

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Humongous Snake

Viral image via Facebook

"Amazing giant snake found in the Red Sea that killed 320 tourists and 125 Egyptian divers, has been killed by a professional team of elite Egyptian scientists and qualified divers."

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Winged Spider

Viral image

If this newspaper clipping is real, no arachnophobe will ever sleep again. Can it possibly be true that a scientist discovered a spider that can fly?

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Flying Panda

Flying Panda
Viral image

Viral image purports to show a real giant panda cub sitting next to a human passenger in the business class section of an airliner. Is this what the Chinese call panda diplomacy?

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Giant Wild Boar

Viral image

"Over 1800 lb. wild boar shot and killed in Conroe, Texas near the County Airport, East of I-45 and near the community of Cut and Shoot. Killed by a medical radiology worker. What would you do if this beast was coming at you? Run for dear life?"