Are the photos of Borneo's monster snake real?


My unexpert analysis concludes that these photos of a 100-foot long river snake from Borneo are as phony as a politician's smile.

Grainy images of a large snake in Borneo's Baleh River have some locals afraid the mythical Nabu snake is back. Is Borneo's 100-foot river snake—reported yesterday by London's Telegraph and captured in photographs (one appears to the left)—real?

Like the Loch Ness Monster, countless UFOs and Bigfoot, it's hard to say, says Hany Farid, a computer science professor at Dartmouth University, because it's been captured in such low resolution. "It's as if you took a blood sample," he says, "threw away 99 percent of it and asked me to do a forensic analysis."

Are the photos of Borneo's monster snake real?

Picture 2-6 UPDATE, Feb 26: In the comments, Fromage used the excellent image search site TinEye to find the original snake-free photo (left). Congrats for exposing the hoax, Fromage!

UPDATE, Feb 27: Rhonda Roland Shearer says: Please see our recent post: We note that you credited Fromage with discovery of the source photo (judged from his Feb 26th comment) but Nuno of posted his investigation on Feb 25th.


  1. It’s completely obvious that it’s a boat.
    There is no need for any “analysis” Anyone who has ever looked out the window of a plane can tell that.

  2. Amazing how that snake looks just like the wake from a boat. Clearly we’re dealing with an extremely intelligent snake for it to be able to disguise itself like that.

  3. Video is an option on pretty much any camera these days. The tricky thing for forgers on a budget is all that travelling matte stuff on a moving camera for video jiggery pokery.

  4. The image file is not photoshopped, but edited by apple software in English US:

    Copyright 2007 Apple Inc., all rights reserved.


  5. To me it looks like scaled up tiny snake. The wake is too lively and far between for an animal that large. It would be straighter and calmer looking from this distance.

  6. Yes, there is a breeding population of 100-foot long, quarter-ton water snakes in populated areas of Borneo. No, they don’t leave corpses behind when they die, and no, no one has ever caught one. No, no one has ever accidentally killed one. No, no one has ever found one of their eggs. And yes, the entire breeding population of these snakes sustain their 100-foot, 500lb metabolisms on the small fish that swim in rivers.


  7. Yep, its fake – they don’t let the real pictures out because they don’t want you to believe. Wondering where the missing persons go, it eats the souls as well…

  8. If something that massive were propelling itself through the water in that way, it would be kicking up huge waves and disturbing the water a lot more than this.

    Think how heavy a snake that size would be, and how much water it would have to push to get moving.

  9. Obviously a fake. The second picture is just ridiculous. It’s like the snake is dead and floating on the water surface. The first picture looks like it had more thought put into it. The second one did not have the look of something alive.

  10. I’m saddened that the link went to Scientific American. I’m old enough to remember Sci Am as a magazine that didn’t suck.

  11. @# 7

    Grimshaw… as in the “huskies” hockey? As in mile zero motor inn? As in “hey lets drive to Fairview to watch the drag races?”

    And yeah – thats a boat. Or a photo-shop. But its not real.

  12. I think that’s a photo from the recent sewage leak into the San Francisco Bay. Let’s just say that I recognize that snake since it barely flushed.

  13. scale: the average tree in the forest is 40-60feet tall, this monster would be at least 500 feet long – it’s so pathetic – somebody pay someone good at this to really get us going would you?

  14. You guys remind me how gorillas used to be ficticious, just 150 years ago. I’m not saying I believe in the 100-foot snake- I don’t know. But I believe that some animals, reptiles, maybe squids and some plants, don’t have a DNA-defined adult size, and grow until they die. Maybe in remote Borneo a huge snake could feed on pigs and cannibals long enough to grow unbelievably huge. Probably not this one, tho. I, too, think it’s phony, but I’m not gonna pretend that I know.

  15. 150 years ago, there weren’t nearly as many people with cameras.

    Also, 150 years ago, gorillas weren’t 100 feet long carnivores.

  16. The number of conspiracy photos and videos is inversely proportional to the number of people with high definition cameras.

  17. You guys remind me how gorillas used to be ficticious, just 150 years ago.

    Fictitious to who?

    Gorillas definitely existed 150 years ago, and I’m certain gorillas were very real to any people living even somewhat near them.

  18. Why is this question even being asked? It’s obvious that the giant snake is real. It could have time traveled here from the past, when there were snakes like this. A spacetime rift must have opened, enabling a bit of the past to slip through. It was probably caused by an excess amount of chaos in the ethers. Or perhaps it’s an aspect of nature, like a river god!

  19. with all those high res military satellites snooping over the whole planet and thousands of bored spooks interpreting imagery, if we have mega-cryptofauna, someone would have talked by now.

  20. I think the funniest thing about this thread is the people posting about how the picture obviously shows a boat, rather than being a fairly straightforward (and in my opinion obvious) Photoshop (or a real monster snake). I can appreciate solid skepticism, but posting complete nonsense just because it’s more “logical” than the first theory is almost as lame as being taken in by the lazy ‘shop in the first place.

  21. @mdh
    ME: “You guys remind me how gorillas used to be ficticious, just 150 years ago.”

    MDH: “Fictitious to who?”

    ME: “Europeans.”

    MDH: “Gorillas definitely existed 150 years ago, and I’m certain gorillas were very real to any people living even somewhat near them.”

    Me too! But if they catch a 100-foot snake tomorrow, I’ll just say “what do you know about that!” while you “science minded individuals” eat crow, because you’re so sure it was fake. Like the gorilla. Cameras didn’t make the gorilla real.

  22. “MY unexpert analysis concludes that these photos of a 100-foot long river snake from Borneo are” undetermined in a world that is neither black or white nor true or false. Sometimes it is remains gray forever!

  23. Geez, you’re all suckers. Obviously the giant snake has been ‘shopped *out* of the image at TinEye.

  24. I wish the internets had been around when Nessie and Roswell were big.

    It just goes to show how far we’ve evolved skeptically in just 50 years. There’s hope for humanity.

  25. Troofseeker, the other people are willing to make a series of conclusions based on what we know of megafauna and other information. Not making a conclusion that’s likely from the evidence simply so you won’t be at risk of being shown to be wrong isn’t productive.

  26. I love tineye.

    I know a guy who swears many hundreds of people have stolen his image of the full moon thanks to tineye – never mind the different clouds and slightly different phases.

  27. JoshuaZ, my handsome friend,
    I’m just trying to pry open some minds to the concept that just because they’ve never seen something doesn’t mean it can’t be. Like a giant snake. Many of these guys believe that there used to be some very large reptiles. Isn’t that something you “know” about megafauna? I used the example of the gorilla earlier, whom scientists were once quite sure was a mere myth.
    I turn a lot of stones, and most of them have nothing more than salbugs under them. Dude, I’m not afraid of being wrong. You learn a lot more when things go wrong than when they go right. Note that I don’t call myself truthKnower. All we really have is our perceptions of what our senses bring us.

  28. Man, you guys are so gullible. It’s patently obvious that the photo Fromage ‘found’ had been doctored to remove the snake. They don’t want us to know about our evil reptilian overlords! David Icke was right all along!

  29. ssssssstops sss taking my sss picturessss and posting on netssss I sss only tell you oncessss I not sssssign releasssssse formsssss

  30. Troofseeker, you are correct that it isn’t necessarily true that it “can’t be.” It is however, vanishingly unlikely. Moreover, the gorilla example as already explained to you is bad because we have a much more detailed understanding of the world now then we did 200 years ago, and the claimed snake is orders of magnitude larger than a gorilla.

  31. Josh Z,
    Maybe I watch too much sci-fi. I even write it. But there were such giant snakes in the Jurassic period, right? And snakes survived the last extinction. Borneo being one of the least explored regions on Earth, and looking at the density of that jungle, and the huge volume of life that it would support, I can see the possibility of snakes larger than any we’ve ever seen. 100 feet? I have the same doubts as you. But I’m not gonna pretend to KNOW about things in places I’ve never been to.
    Thank you for being polite.

  32. Sure, nobody ever finds new stuff anymore. Our superior technology has found every animal bigger than a breadbox. ^-^

    Eyeballs and indexing again…

    On a related note, there are two different birds living on my property that officially do not live this far north. I have mentioned this to local authorities of this, and they have told me that I am wrong… without checking …because the books say so… I informed the birds of this, but they don’t seem to care!

  33. Ok ok.
    Nuno of posted the same conclusion, about the Congo river picture, one day before I did the same.
    Numo is the first. Bravo.

  34. Hey Fromage, your ways still nuked the hell outta mine so kudos for the SMARTER way of debunking this :). At least I know about TinEye now!

    So… why are people still saying this isn’t fake after you gave a TinEye link?!?


  35. I would venture that giant snakes could be the product of hybrid vigor and would of course have to have ample food stock which does exist in Borneo.They would also need a warmer climate as that has to due with them being active year round and being able to digest food more quickly.A very real requirement of a truly large snake.
    Local legend also is universal among isolated primitive tribes.These pictures being fake does not discount the very real possibilty that gigantic pythons did and could still show up under the right conditions.

  36. i took this picture while with my 7th wife, Trudy. we were on a sight seeing flight over the river that u see. and they light aircraft that we were in suffered a complete engine failure. that left us with no choice but to bail out…luckily we had chutes. after both my wife and i opened our chutes i took this picture. unfortunately my wife was caught be a sudden updraft and took further downstream and landed about 30 meters from the snake. and that was the last i saw of dear Trudy…im happy to say i have remarried twice since that. my wife number 9 and i will be climbing Mt Everest nxt month…hope we dont bump into the abominable snowman.

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