An image circulating on social media has purported to reveal a shark swimming along a flooded highway in Houston, revealing the depth of the devastation endured in Texas. However, upon closer examination, the finned predator turns out to be little more than a carefully crafted illusion.
The shark image was posted on Facebook by a Texas man, according to the Bangor Daily News, making him an instant internet star when it began to go viral. In a short span of time, the shark image was shared by over 50,000 users on Facebook alone, and though its reach on other social media platforms remains unknown, the potential exists for it to be viewed by many more.
“It’s flooding so bad in Houston that there is a f***ing shark on the road,” the caption read.
This is a shark swimming in the street in Houston…. pic.twitter.com/HB49xlBGDq
— Gardooon (@CaseyGardon) May 31, 2015
A bevy of comments accompanied the shark image, including some by users who said “oh my God, this is so crazy!” and “This needs to be archived for future civilizations.” As Bangor Daily News’ Chris Shorr points out, however, the shark image is an abject study in the gullibility of social media users, and has its roots far from the Houston floodwaters.
Seen this photo of a shark swimming down I-45 in Houston? Yeah it’s fake. pic.twitter.com/7dNzsp5Mk1
— Kevin Jeanes (@KevinJeanes) May 26, 2015
A check of rumor debunking website Snopes reveals the true history of the shark image. According to them, this isn’t the first time this particular shark has reared its fin online. Though the image purports to show a shark swimming down a Houston area highway during Memorial Day weekend 2015, the exact same image previously circulated online, at that time accompanied by text that claimed it was from Puerto Rico and attributing the shark’s presence to the effects of Hurricane Irene from August 2011.
“This picture was taken in Puerto Rico shortly after Hurricane Irene ravaged the island. Yes, that’s a shark swimming down the street next to a car, and this is exactly why authorities in NYC are warning people not to go swimming in flood waters after a hurricane. Sharks go where fish go, and fish go where water goes, and if that water (and those subsequent fish) happen to be right outside your front door, then guess where that freakin’ shark’s going to be?!”
The shark image, however, proved to be a digitally crafted hoax in both cases. The picture of the shark was taken from a widely circulated photo which depicts a great white shark swimming behind a kayaker, which was originally taken in 2005, half the world away.
Great White Shark and Kayak, South Africa pic.twitter.com/kZOu5rnSri
— Earth Pics (@ThatsEarth) April 26, 2015
While the Texas floods have proven devastating, as the Inquisitr has previously reported, it appears that the citizens of Houston have little to fear from a rogue great white shark swimming along their highways.
[Photo via Snopes]