In June 2021, a picture supposedly showing a “hairy frog” turned up in our inbox (where you can send us tips and questions), along with a question about whether or not this photo shows a real-world animal:
This is not a genuine photograph of a hairy frog.
This image was created as part of a Photoshop contest on the website “Worth1000” (notice the watermark on the bottom left). Worth1000, which is now DesignCrowd, frequently hosted contests for digital artists to flex their creative muscles.
This image was created by Worth1000 user Todd1000 for the site’s 7th “Hairy” contest that was held in 2014. This hairy frog picture was awarded the contest’s first prize and was accompanied by the caption: “For a few short months each year, the snow melts revealing the abundant and unusual wildlife.”
The rules for the contest make it clear that this is an edited image.
“The rules of the contest are thus: Make it hairy – either add hair onto something or recreate an object out of hair. Anything. Living or inanimate. EXCEPT HUMANS. They will be forbidden in this contest.”
While the above-displayed image is an artwork, not a genuine photograph of a real-world animal, there truly is an amphibian known as the hairy frog. The male Trichobatrachus robustus, also known as the horror frog or the wolverine frog, grows hair-like protrusions during mating season. Here’s a genuine photograph of a taxidermied hairy frog from the Natural History Museum in London, England: