A surprisingly large rat is really just surprisingly close

23 February 2021
What was claimed

A photograph has been taken of a giant rat.

Our verdict

The photograph appears to be an illusion, which makes the rat look larger using forced perspective.

A widely shared picture of a “giant rat” actually shows a rat being specially photographed to make it look bigger.

The text accompanying the picture says the animal was caught in Tooting, south London, and adds: “they are back in Tooting the Giant rats.”

The image shows a man holding what appears to be a dead rat in the jaws of a litter picker. Because the rat is some distance in front of the man’s body, it appears to be about half the size of the man himself.

This is a common trick, known as “forced perspective”, which has been used many times before. Forced perspective is a kind of optical illusion which can make an object seem smaller or larger, or nearer or further away, by changing the position of the camera.

Pranks about giant rats in Tooting are also not new.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.