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.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as satire because this is a trick photograph, which does not really show a giant rat, and may be intended as a joke.

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