A tree frog became a viral social media star on Oct. 5. What did it do to achieve such fame? It looked really, really big in a video and devoured a banana. The video has been viewed at least 8 million times on Twitter and liked more than 1.9 million times on TikTok.
The video of the massive frog spread across Twitter thanks to a tweet liked more than 365,000 times that posted the video with the caption, “Please look at how big this f---ing frog is.” A number of tweets and TikTok videos showed people’s shock at the size of the frog, and people argued about the authenticity of the video.
Does a viral video show a real massive tree frog?
- TikTok and Instagram of Lucas Peterson, editor of the video and owner of the frog
- Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute
- Petco, a pet store and pet supply retailer
- Josh’s Frogs, an online frog retailer
No, a viral video does not show a real massive tree frog. The frog in the video has been enlarged with video special effects.
WHAT WE FOUND
The frog in the viral video belongs to Lucas Peterson, a videographer who frequently posts to TikTok and Instagram. He says the video is edited. Peterson owns the frog, named Dumpy, and it appears in several of his videos — both as its real size between 4 and 5 inches, and edited to appear larger like it does in the viral video.
Peterson originally posted the video to his TikTok account, @whatslucasup2, where he frequently posts video of him riding a BMX bike, painting and caring for a terrarium of animals that includes Dumpy, the Australian White's tree frog that appears in the viral video.
In the viral video, Dumpy appears to be about the size of a pet rabbit. He sits on a table in front of Peterson, who splits a banana in two to purportedly feed it to his frog. Dumpy appears to grab the banana with his tongue and eat it.
The caption to this video includes a “disclaimer” that explains the video is edited.
“This is not his real diet. This is just for fun and comedy. He typically eats 12 crickets a week in his terrarium,” Peterson wrote. “His real size is about 4-5 inches; he's enlarged with VFX perspective tricks. I did all my editing in Adobe Premiere.”
You can see some of the glitches caused by the editing most clearly if you zoom in on the video frames of the frog grabbing and eating the banana.
This isn't the first time that Peterson has used special effects to play with his frog's size. In a video about how Peterson cares for his terrarium, Dumpy appears massive at the beginning and end of the video, but is much smaller when he’s on screen about 24 seconds into the video. Peterson shows Dumpy’s actual size in an older video in which the frog fits into the palm of Peterson’s hand.
While the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute describes the White’s tree frog as “rather large,” it says the frogs range in size from 3 to 4.5 inches in length.
Both Petco and Josh’s Frogs say the White’s tree frog eats insects, with no mention of bananas or any other kind of fruit. Josh’s Frogs specify crickets, which is what Peterson says Dumpy really eats. Frogs do not eat fruit.
“Because frogs are strictly meat eaters, don’t feed your frog fruits or vegetables,” PetMD warns.
Even if it’s impossible for a tree frog to grow as big as the one in the viral video, there are other species of frogs that can reach that gargantuan size. The San Diego Zoo says the world’s largest frog, the goliath frog, grows up to 12.5 inches in length.
“The goliath frog is as big as some house cats!” the zoo says.