FACT CHECK: Snake sporting sunglasses? Check out the facts…

Environment Misleading Social Wildlife

Wildlife photos, especially those that are considered rare and unusual often get shared by social media users enthusiastically. But, sometimes the stories that are shared along with these images are not authentic or sometimes exaggerated. 

Factcrescendo Sri Lanka team came across one such miscaptioned photograph of a snake which went viral among Sri Lankan social media users.

Viral Posts on Social Media.

The caption of the post in Sinhala “අහල තිබුනට දැකල තිබුනෙ නෑ නේද? මේ තමා කණ්නාඩි පොළඟා” meaning in English as “Have you ever seen a snake wearing the glasses ? Here is the viper snake who wears spectacles”.

Facebook | Archived   Facebook | Archived

The image was shared with similar narratives widely as it can be seen in the screenshot of search results given below.

Some users had pointed that the snake even had a moustache, referring to the close up images. Others had questioned whether this was a natural but rare incident or not, and others were puzzled whether this was a snake or a python.

Fact Check

We started our investigation by running a Google Reverse Image search which led us to several results from the United States dating back to 2016.

We found the images published by the Texas State Parks on their twitter handle which was similar with the viral social media photos in Sri Lanka.

Caption of the Tweet read as “We mustache you to #lookclose -have you ever seen a snake with sunglasses?!Thanks to Karlie Gray for the great pics!”

Twitter | Archived

Below is Facebook post by Karlie Gray from 2016 after she had spotted this unique markings of this western rat snake. 

Facebook | Archived

And a few days of this post, the news about the snake with sunglasses and moustache was published on a few news websites as well, seen  here, here and here.

These news reports clarify that the images of a snake sporting shades, is actually a natural condition which the snake had got from its birth and not artificially shaped as many had assumed. And this animal had been identified as a western rat snake, a nonvenomous species of snake found throughout North America.

Below is a video about this remarkable creature and some of the other animals with unique markings.

Conclusion:

Fact Crescendo found out that the images viral among Sri Lanka social media users claiming to be a serpent wearing spectacles is not a digitally manipulated image nor the snake is wearing a ‘special kind of sunglasses’. The viral images captured by Karlie Gray from Texas in 2016, shows a western rat snake, a nonvenomous species of snake found throughout North America. The snake had got these unique markings by birth, which makes it look like a snake with sunglasses and moustache.

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Title:Snake sporting sunglasses?

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: Misleading

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