For a couple of weeks now, an image of a cat with black and yellow reptilian spots on the body has been circulating on social networks.
The accompanying text states that it is a “snake cat”the “rarest cat species on Earth” living in the “hard-to-reach regions of the Amazon rainforest”.
The posts on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have thousands of shares and users argue in the comments about whether it is real or a hoax.
Now, it turns out to be very fake, as confirmed by the creator of the original post, a Russian Facebook user named Alex Vasilev.
“From what I understand, an artificial intelligence system was used to create it, I don’t know which one, because I couldn’t find the author of the drawing,” Vasilev told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.
“An ordinary cat and an image of a mangrove snake were apparently used to create the Amazon cat,” he added.
The mangrove snake, also known as the “golden-ringed cat snake,” is native to Southeast Asia. It is black for the most part, but has transverse yellow bands along the body, giving it the same coloring as the cat in Vasilev’s image.
It is the largest of the feline snakes, so named for its vertical pupils, which resemble the eyes of cats.
Dr Andrew Kitchener, Senior Curator of Vertebrates at the National Museums of Scotland and expert on wildcats, confirmed that the animal in the viral image was not real.
“The snake cat does not exist and has not been scientifically classified,” he told the Daily Mail.
‘The “photo” probably shows a South American cat of the genus Leopardus (possibly a margay, Leopardus wiedii), which has had its “dress changed”.
“Of course there may be new cat species waiting to be discovered in South America, but this is not one of them’, added.
Vasilev discovered the image of the so-called snake cat while deleting photos from his phone and uploaded it to Facebook on March 8 with a caption that read: “Serpens catus (snake cat) is the rarest feline species on Earth.”.
“These animals live in hard-to-reach regions of the Amazon rainforest, so they’re relatively understudied.”
He then cited a Telegram channel called ‘Unknown Planet’ as the source. Now it has been learned that everything was actually a fabrication, both by the image and by the person who posted the photo.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.