HomeOutdoorsViral‘Amazon Snake Cat’ Photo Takes off on the Internet: PIC

‘Amazon Snake Cat’ Photo Takes off on the Internet: PIC

by Caitlin Berard
Black House Cat, Alleged Relative of Amazon Snake Cat
(Photo by Westend61 via Getty Images)

A recent viral post of an “Amazon snake cat” left the internet bewildered. The cat appeared real enough, but could a feline with a serpent’s coat really exist? Like anything posted online, there’s no guarantee.

The animal kingdom is full of some truly unbelievable creatures. One look at a blobfish or goblin shark (two very real sea creatures) will have you questioning what planet you’re on.

But not every bizarre animal to surface on social media walks or swims among us. There’s nothing the internet loves more, after all, than a good hoax. So when a photo of a so-called “Amazon snake cat” surfaced on TikTok, internet users were right to question its veracity.

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The alleged rare feline is black with neon yellow stripes, the fur on its head strangely morphing into a coat more closely resembling snake scales further down its back. The various viral social media posts touted the cat as the “rarest species of feline on Earth.”

“Serpens catus is the rarest species of feline on Earth. These Animals live in hard-to-reach regions of the Amazon rainforest, and therefore they are relatively poorly studied,” one Twitter user claimed. “The first images capturing the snake cat appeared only in 2020. Weighs up the 4 stone [56 pounds].”

Is the Amazon Snake Cat Real?

Well, right off the bat, there are a couple of glaring red flags. Aside from the otherworldly fur/scales combo coating its skin, “Serpens catus” is a woefully incorrect attempt at a Latin name.

The first part of the name is meant to identify the genus to which the species belongs. In this case, that would be a cat, whereas “Serpens” is the Latin name for the constellation “the serpent.” In Greek mythology, it represents a snake held by the healer Asclepius.

The second part distinguishes the specific species, and “catus” is the name used for domestic cats or house cats. As this one allegedly lives “deep in the Amazon,” it’s safe to assume it is not a house cat.

Many users instantly pointed out the obvious errors in the post. “You can look at it and tell is a cat head copied to a snake’s body and colored to match. That’s a pretty big and long snake though,” one user wrote. “Ahh the Photoshopius maximus Serpens catus the rarest of the breed,” another snarked.

Zoology experts have yet to comment on the strange snake cat, but it’s fair to assume that the clever creator of the feline used photoshop to blend a regular cat with a gold-ringed cat snake. While Amazon snake cats might be fake, cat snakes are very much real.

Endemic to southeast Asia, the gold-ringed snake cat is a rear-fanged venomous snake. Among the largest of its species, it averages 6-7 feet in length and is considered mildly venomous. A bite can potentially cause pain and swelling, but nothing life-threatening.