Photos of a "giant" bullfrog are making the rounds on social media this week, and while the catch is certainly an impressive one, it's not all it's croaked up to be. The heavyweight you see below is mostly the result of camera trickery. Let's discuss.

Images: South Texas Hunting Association/Facebook 

This striking pair of images has racked up over 250,000 shares on Facebook alone in the days since the South Texas Hunting Association (STHA) shared the snaps to their page. According to STHA, the "13-pound" (5.8kg) frog was landed by local resident Markcuz Rangel at a Texas ranch.

Whether Rangel was after frogs or fish is unclear, but frogging is a popular sport in the area, and Rangel has snagged some sizeable bullfrogs in the past.

But here's the problem: at an average weight of just one pound, bullfrogs in North America don't even come close to the STHA's multipound claim. In fact, the largest frog in the world – the Goliath frog, which reaches about seven pounds – is still far smaller than Rangel's alleged catch.  

And why the long face? This amphibian's appearance is being distorted by forced perspective (the same optical illusion that turned a healthy wolffish into a "supersize Fukushima mutant" back in 2015). 

Bringing the frog closer to the camera lens ensures the creature looks far larger, especially when viewed with Rangel's more distant form in the background. This is actually the very same trick that was used to make Frodo Baggins appear small in Peter Jackson's Lord of The Rings trilogy.

So, is this a real, big bullfrog?

"It's still a big bullfrog," agrees Texas Fish and Wildlife in an interview with local news outlet Chron.

But we're calling "bull" on the 13-pound chart-topper.


Top header image: Mecki Mac/Flickr