Dubbed the “gorilla crow,” the video has been shared over 115,000 times on Twitter, prompting a deluge of reactions and remarks—even fan art.
The footage, captured at the Parco shopping center in Nagoya, Japan, shows the big-beaked bird appearing to prop itself up on its folded wings, resembling an ape.
— LIWJATAN (@keita_simpson) June 20, 2019
The video was posted by Keitaro (@keita_simpson), who told Newsweek that he was shocked by the sight of the crow, which he said initially reminded him of a “zombie.”
In response, one Twitter user posted a collage of photographs showing animals in various poses, implying perhaps that ordinary animals can look extraordinary based on the timing and angle of the snapped photo or captured video.
Another user posted a photo of a bird of prey sitting on the ground with its wings folded in, looking like it’s waving around stumpy arms.
— LED🌛 (@LED_000) June 22, 2019
Still another posted a photo of a famously muscle-bound kangaroo named Roger, who lived in The Kangaroo Sanctuary Alice Springs in Australia’s Northern Territory, but died last year.
— RUMI😻 (@rumi_boy) June 22, 2019
Keitaro’s video of the crow was later shared by @LlamaInaTux:
therapist: you don’t need to be afraid of gorilla crow. gorilla crow isn’t real.
me, looking out the window: pic.twitter.com/5Yz8rkIikU
— llama (@LlamaInaTux) June 22, 2019
The video sparked thousands of comments and some bizarre fan art.
“This makes my brain hurt,” commented one Twitter user.
Another posted a gif showing a bird flapping muscular wings, with the caption “This guy did not skip wing day!”
This guy did not skip wing day! pic.twitter.com/90xEiNy3aS
— Dr. Chaussette Rouge ♔ (@ChaussetteRouge) June 23, 2019
Kaeli Swift, a University of Washington bird researcher, reposted the video with commentary to the effect that there was nothing particularly unusual about the crow’s behavior. She suggested the bird may simply have been sunbathing.
“Sunning like this is a common behavior among birds,” she wrote in a comment. “Sometimes it’s about warming up but a lot of times you’ll see them do it when it’s hot out. In these cases it’s about feather care. Sun exposure can reduce feather degrading bacteria and mites.”
There’s a very strange (uncredited) video of crow making the rounds on reddit. Here’s the deal. First, this is a large-billed crow, which is why the face is looking a little out of proportion. pic.twitter.com/LUYuMimvAp
— Kaeli Swift, PhD (@corvidresearch) June 22, 2019
Swift also explained that “this bird is not missing its legs and propping itself up with its wings, that would be physically impossible.” She added, “also, not that it’s relevant to the answer, but a crow without legs couldn’t fly, because it couldn’t generate any lift. So legless crow is a dead crow.”
“What it’s actually doing is sunning itself,” Swift continued. “When birds sun they drop their wings and cock their tails. At the right angle that could obscure the legs and tail making it look like they’re missing.”
“Usually the mouth is open and the body is closer to the ground, making the behavior more obvious, but perhaps the videographer caught it in a moment of transition.”
Bird researcher Dave Slager commented on Swift’s posts, suggesting an alternate theory: “The bird might be emaciated. The keel looks highly pronounced here, which could indicate loss of breast muscle. Tired or hungry birds also often droop their wings down like this.”
Sunning is a possibility. Another is that the bird might be emaciated. The keel looks highly pronounced here, which could indicate loss of breast muscle. Tired or hungry birds also often droop their wings down like this.
— Dave Slager (@dlslager) June 23, 2019
Swift also told Newsweek in an email that upon further scrutiny of the bird’s posture, it could reasonably be argued that the crow may have been starving: “If you look at the bird’s chest you can see it’s more V-shaped than round, that indicates that it is emaciated.”
“But they two aren’t mutually exclusive,” she added, “so it could have been a malnourished bird that was trying to sun.”
The Infamous Raccoon Dogs of Britain
The story of “gorilla crow” recalls the case of raccoon dogs that were on the loose in England, terrorizing a village.
The strange animals terrified residents in Clarborough and police were called in to handle the situation, according to reports. Police subsequently issued a warning, calling on residents to “be vigilant.”
The animals reportedly attacked the livestock in the area, according to SWNS.
Villagers recounted their experience with the animals.
Mandy Marsh said she was woken by a “blood-curdling scream” earlier this week before her husband, Dale, spotted the animal confronting the couple’s goat and pony, reported Fox News.
“He came back and he said to me, ‘You are going to have to come and see this, there is something in the field attacking the pony and I have absolutely no idea what it is,’” Fox quoted Marsh as saying.
“This raccoon was absolutely crazy. It was hissing and screaming and snarling,” Marsh said. “It was going absolutely mad.”
Raccoon dogs are not actually raccoons and are distantly related to dogs. They are native to parts of Asia including countries like northern China, North Vietnam, Korea, and Japan. They are also known as the tanuki, mangut, or neoguri in other parts of the world.
They can weigh between 8 and 13 pounds and reach between 19 and 26 inches in length. They eat rodents, lizards, birds, frogs, fruit, and sea creatures.
The animals are known carriers of rabies and tapeworm. Meanwhile, they threaten certain species of birds.
Jack Phillips and Janita Kan contributed to this report.