Fact Check

Does Video Show 'Starfish with Buttcheeks'?

Is it funny? Yes. Is it true? That's another story.

Published May 18, 2021

A video taken at the Seattle Aquarium shows a sea star with a noticeable "butt."

No, it's not Patrick, the cute sea star character from the cartoon series "SpongeBob SquarePants." And yes, we are here to ruin the party again.

A TikTok user posted the following video taken at the Seattle Aquarium. It showed a sea star motionless on a rock as the song "Anaconda" by Nicki Minaj played — specifically, the lyrics in the song that say, "He love this fat ass." A caption on the video read, "Seattle aquarium isn't messing around." As the video went viral, it sparked social media posts and headlines about a sea star with the "butt."

As funny as the post is, the image doesn't show a sea star butt. Seattle Aquarium spokesperson Tim Kuniholm told Snopes in an email that yes, the image was taken there, but also pointed out that because sea stars only have arms, not legs, it would be hard for one to have a "butt" as this video implies.

The image is reminiscent of another sea star photo that went viral in 2019. In that instance, a social media user found a similarly positioned star at the Aquarium of the Pacific located in Long Beach, California:

The Long Beach aquarium's staff at that time explained the "butt" effect was produced by the fact the animal was hanging from a vertical surface with its two lower arms relaxed.

"Since the sea star is oriented vertically, gravity is causing its internal components to slump," Aquarium of the Pacific's Nate Jaros explained to USA Today at the time.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more