On April 26, 2023, accounts on Twitter and Facebook shared a viral video supposedly showing a newt or an axolotl, a type of salamander found in Mexico, rapidly changing its color.
Another Twitter user asked: "These are Newts no? Anyone know how they change colors like this?"
Rather than newts, the video showed what appeared to be two axolotls in a dish with water. The most striking feature of the video is that only one of the creatures changed its color. The black one remained the same color throughout.
Some users on both social media platforms commented that the video, which had garnered over 2 million views, appeared fake and computer-generated.
The video was indeed digitally created.
That particular clip was originally posted to Twitter by Research From Human, which described itself as a parody account, and its timeline contained a number of fake videos. Snopes reached out to the tweeter who originally had posted the clip to ask about the source of the video, but we have not heard back yet. We will update the report when – and if – we get a response.
A similar video with the description "Changing color salamander. Viral!!" – but with different audio – appeared on YouTube in 2019.
An analysis of the Research From Human video showed it to be computer-generated. First, all research on newts, salamanders and axolotls show they have some spots on the skin. In the video, the two creatures appeared to have sleek and spotless skin. Moreover, axolotls are known to have quite noticeable gills near their head. Neither of the two creatures in the video had them. Additionally, at about the seven-second mark in the video, the legs on the lower part of the creature that changed its color go missing.
Given that the creatures in the video did not appear to be real and the video itself originated with an account marked as "parody," we rate the claim as "False."