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There’s something fishy about these giant frogs and rats 

Last week, the entirety of the Internet came across photos of what looks like a massive frog being held up by a Texan hunter.

As reported by IFL Science, that frog wasn’t the only apparently huge animals to be found in recent times. You may also remember this one from last year, of a “dog-sized rat” that was allegedly found in London.

Unfortunately, although perhaps large than usual, these animals are not the giants that people claim.

What’s going on here is “forced perspective”, an illusion in which objects appear larger, smaller, farther away or closer depending on their placement in the visual field.

Steve Lightfoot, spokesman for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department told the Houston news site Chron that the frog photo is real, but pointing out the visual chicanery at work.

“It’s not as bigly as it appears,” [It’s an] optical illusion created by extending frog toward the camera — similar to what you see with fishermen holding up fish to make them appear larger. Still a big bullfrog, though,” he said.

I know what you’re thinking. Did he just say “bigly”? He sure did, my friends.

And Oliver O’Brien, a data scientist at the University College London, gave a gloriously geeky account of what was going on with the rat:

The rat was found in the Hackney area of London, and the Hackney Council later confessed that the rodent was “probably not that big.”

Forced perspective pops up in all kinds of places. It is used in movies, for example, in The Lord of the Rings series, it was cleverly used to make the hobbits appear small.

I hate to tell you this, everything is not as it seems at Disneyland either. There, the floors of each building get progressively smaller so that they can appear taller than they actually are. Sleeping Beauty’s castle may look massive, but it’s only about 23 metres tall, folks. Childhood ruined.

Forced perspective is also a staple of those douchey tourist photos that everyone takes. You know, the ones where they push the Leaning Tower or grab Big Ben.

The visual illusion has some pretty cool applications in art too. Rich McCor, a London-based artist known as paperboyo on Instagram, travels the world and uses forced perspective with paper cutouts. The results are pretty interesting:

But frogs and rats just can’t get that bigly, sorry.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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