That Viral Video of a Hawk Throwing a Snake is Totally Fake

By Matt Novak on at

Have you seen this video of a hawk crashing a picnic in Australia? The bird picks up a snake and tosses it at some people minding their own business. The poor folks then run off in horror. The video has gone viral, with nearly 1 million views in the past day. But it’s totally fake.

How do we know this video is fake? There are a few really strong clues.

1) “Oh, there’s a hawk...”

The video is suspicious from its opening seconds. The person taking the footage opens with a shot of the food, which itself looks very stage-managed. The cameraman then immediately points his camera up to the sky and proclaims in an awkward tone, “Oh, there’s a hawk....” What happened to the food? Tell us the story of the food! I want to learn more about those two sausages on the plate? What’s their story!?!?!

2) The pointing

Typically when everyone is looking at the same thing, you don’t have to point to draw everyone’s attention to it. Maybe this guy just points as a natural reaction to seeing something in the sky, but if you were planning on making a fake video of a computer-generated bird flying around, pointing in the sky is basically mandatory—even if it’s not what people naturally do. If we had better angles on the people I’m sure they’d be pointing at the computer-generated snake at the end as well.

3) No reflection in the water

And perhaps the strongest evidence that this video is fake as the day is long? There’s no reflection of the bird in the water. Watch the video again. Or check out the gif below. Nothing. No reflection. Could it be a vampire snake? That’s certainly a possibility. And I assure you that Gizmodo is working night and day to look into that possibility. But for the time being we’re going to have to declare this video fake.

That Viral Video of a Hawk Throwing a Snake Is Totally Fake

GIF capture of the fake viral video, clearly showing no reflection in the water (YouTube)