Fake News Article About Large Man-Killer Snapping Turtle at Lake Monroe Goes Viral; No, It’s Not True!!

Update: The DNR photo of a turtle wasn’t a snapping turtle, so it’s been deleted.

Update: Monroe County Coroner Joani Stalcup posted the following:

“I am making this post public so that anyone who wants to share it can.

The story about a supposed 300 year old 9 ft snapping turtle taking a life at Lake Monroe in Bloomington, IN and the remains being found is a totally fabricated story. There have been no remains found, no giant snapping turtle found and I am only assuming someone wanted to get their 10 mins of Facebook fame by making up such a story. There is no Purdue Forensic specialist named Dr. Paddlejack either.

If you cannot find a reputable source to confirm a post made by an individual chances are, the post is just a hoax. Just because someone puts it out on social media does not make it true.

Joani Stalcup – Monroe County Coroner”

The Indiana DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife also responded,

“Things we never thought we’d need to post…

Rest easy, there is NOT a giant man-eating snapping turtle in Monroe Lake. The hoax Facebook post claiming a man had died from a snapping turtle attack is completely false and had over 16,000 shares – emphasizing the importance of checking sources when reading something shocking or out of ordinary.

Luckily with these kinds of wildlife related stories, you can always directly ask us! Feel free to reach out about any tall tales you may hear regarding Indiana’s fish and wildlife.

While we’re here – nope, we did not release rattle snakes from helicopters.”

Staff report

Bloomington, Ind. – July 17, 2023

A fake news article claiming that a person was killed by “the world’s largest snapping turtle” quickly went viral on Facebook Monday, and included fabricated details that caught the attention of concerned readers. However, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) swiftly dismissed the claims as a hoax.

In response to the circulating article, Jet Quillen, a public relations official for the DNR, issued an official statement, unequivocally stating, “This post is a hoax and there is no truth to any of the claims it makes.” The DNR emphasized that the misinformation was purely fabricated and lacked any factual basis.

The fake news article asserted that the snapping turtle responsible for the alleged attack measured an astonishing 9 feet in diameter and was purportedly 300 years old. These falsified details were attributed to a non-existent Purdue professor, further highlighting the article’s lack of credibility.

Contrary to the fabricated claims, there have been no reports of any deaths at Lake Monroe in the past week, let alone one caused by a turtle. Quotes falsely attributed to the Monroe County Coroner’s Office and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office added an air of authenticity to the fake news article.

The article, posted under the name Kevin Goodman, gained significant traction on social media, amassing 10,000 shares by 1:05 p.m. on Monday. Additionally, it attracted 356 comments, further fueling discussions surrounding the supposed incident.

Goodman later said the article was meant to be an “Onion” style satire piece. However many in the Facebook comments took it at face value, while others saw it as a hoax.

As misinformation continues to spread rapidly on social media platforms, it is crucial for users to remain vigilant and verify the authenticity of news articles before sharing them.

The article illustrates how Facebook still operates, despite the assurance by Facebook that the site doesn’t spread misinformation as it has in the past.

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