A photo circulating online of what is being called the “world’s largest tortoise” is in fact a hoax.
The image of what seems to be a giant tortoise on a flatbed truck is in fact a still photo taken from the 2006 Japanese film “Gamera the Brave” in 2006. The photo, along with an article describing an 800-pound tortoise found in the Amazon River appears in at least two news outlets, and has more than 175,000 likes on Facebook.
“Its age around 529 years old / height-59 feet/ weight-800 pounds OR 362.87 kg,” the article on news-hound.net describes. The article goes on to label the species as the “red-foot or red-legged tortoise” that normally reaches up to 10 feet in length and adds, “this one is much larger.”
The article lists the tortoise’s diet, nesting habits and native habitat along the Amazon River.
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“It was first discovered by the modern world in 1892 by Haughton, who was the last person to had seen it in the century,” the article adds.
Another article on a satirical news website uses the same image and creates a different explanation behind the giant turtle. It calls the tortoise the “newest Fukushima mutant,” referring to the nuclear disaster where radioactive materials were released into the atmosphere.
“Some residents claimed at night its eyes would glow red as it emerged from the waters, usually hungry for small children or cattle, but its appetite knowing no true limit. Other residents say the great demon turtle could be heard wailing in the distance, bellowing out toward the heavens and speaking ancient Japanese, the words they say were a call toward the dark gods of ancient.”
The image began circulating in 2012. Hoax debunkers have proved the image comes from the Japanese film “Gamera the Brave,” which features a giant turtle creature that is transported on a military flatbed truck to a research facility.
The full-scale prop of the tortoise was brought to Wonder Festival in 2006 – an exposition dedicated to anime and monster figures in TV and film.
The Galapagos Tortoise is considered the largest tortoise in the world, measuring 5 feet long and weighing up to 550 pounds. Listed as an endangered species, they have an average lifespan of 100 years and nap nearly 16 hours a day. In 2012, the last remaining Pinta Island Tortoise, known as Lonesome George, died. He was considered one of the rarest creatures in the world.