A photo that’s going viral appears to show a “two-headed alligator” is probably just a hoax.
A local Tampa Bay-area tabloid ran a photo of the alleged gator on its front page, but according to Poynter.org, it’s likely just a hoax.
The image was posted by Justin Arnold on his Facebook page. He writes that he “was walking my dog yesterday and noticed a few people gathered by the Hillsborough river in Seminole Heights. When I went closer I was amazed to see this two headed alligator. According to Florida Fish and Game it has been reported by several people and they explained it as a failed separation of monozygotic twins and that it is common in reptiles. Please share this picture so others can keep their eyes out for it.”
— ABC Action News (@abcactionnews) June 30, 2014
A few other local broadcasters and media companies picked up the photo and story.
WTSP reported that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission “received no reports of a two-headed alligator in the area.”
But skeptics told ABC Action News that it’s fake.
“I don’t know about this,” ABC producer Cary Williams said in the report. “I’m pretty dubious.”
“I don’t know,” said the broadcaster’s Social Media Manager Misty Rogers. “This doesn’t seem quite real but um I will keep searching and see what we can find.”
“Two-headed animals do exist on snakes and turtles and certain exotics,” Bob Potts of the Herp Hobby Shop told the station. “They are quite rare though.” He added: “My only doubts are that for an animal to go undetected for so long is highly doubtful.”