Steve October 14, 2021
fungi-growing-‘out-of’-dead-possum’s-hand-is-staged

14 October 2021

What was claimed

A picture shows mushrooms growing out of the hand of a dead raccoon.

Our verdict

The photo is staged, and shows a type of fungi (which does commonly grow around decaying corpses) which has been placed in the paw of a dead possum.

A photo on Facebook claims to show “mushrooms growing from the hand of a dead raccoon”.

According to the picture’s photographer, the photo is staged. Noah Siegel said on his Facebook page that the fungus pictured is Laccaria masoniae, which often grows around decaying animal corpses. He took the picture in New Zealand, and said the dead animal was a possum rather than a raccoon.

Mr Siegel wrote: “In the case pictured here, it was a trap line to try to control the invasive Brushtail Possum; a species native to Australia, which has become a major pest in New Zealand after its introduction for the fur trade. Seven carcasses were left to decay in the forest, 5 had a large fruiting of Laccaria around them (the other 2 were too fresh).

“The famous ‘claw’ can be seen in photo 3. While photographing this amazing fruiting, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for the claw to be offering up a bouquet of mushrooms, in a circle of life moment.”

A picture from another angle clearly shows the fungi are not growing out of the possum’s hand, but have instead been pulled up and placed there.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because the photo is staged.

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