Viral Snake Cat

For the last couple of weeks, an image of a cat with reptilian black and yellow splotches on its body has been doing the rounds on social media. Its accompanying text states that it is a ‘snake cat’, the ‘rarest feline species on Earth’ which lives in the ‘difficult-to-access regions of the Amazon rainforest’. Posts on Facebook, Twitter and TikTok have thousands of shares, with users battling it out in the comments over whether it is real or a hoax.

Well, it turns out it is very fake, as confirmed by the creator of the original post, a Russian Facebook user called Alex Vasilev. ‘As far as I understand, an artificial intelligence system was used to create it, which one I don’t know, because I could not find the author of the drawing.”

Mr Vasilev discovered the image of the so-called snake cat when he was clearing out photos from his phone, and uploaded it to Facebook on March 8 with a caption reading: ‘Serpens catus (snake cat) is the rarest species of feline on Earth.

Mr Vasilev concluded that, while his fake post was relatively harmless, it shows how easily misinformation can spread using AI image generators.


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