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Reptiles occupy riviera (VIDEO) — Analysis

Thousands of alligators sunning themselves on a Brazilian beach were not an ‘invasion,’ fact-checkers insist

The viral video, purporting that it showed thousands of crocodiles being dragged out to a Brazilian beach, went viral last week. This triggered heated debates over who the large lizards are. Newsweek’s fact-checkers attempted to put the story to bed on Friday, declaring the marauding creatures were alligators and that they came in peace.

This clip has been viewed 10.3 million times. It shows brown caiman, a reptile that is more closely related than alligators, relaxing on the banks of the Pantanal. The Pantanal is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It was originally posted by sporting goods company Pantanal Pesca on Instagram with the caption “I think there’s a little water in this alligator, lol. I’ve never seen so many together…” 

Users of social media quickly unleash their imaginations. Twitter user @RAF_Valerie called the phenomenon an “Invasion by crocodiles” and claimed the local population was “Do not panic,” even suggesting the haulout was due to “Volcanoes and earthquakes” on the horizon. 

This version was also questioned by other users. “You can call it Reclamation,” one person argued. “Many thousands of crocodiles have invaded a beach in an attempt to seize their former home that was once overrun by human beings.”

Newsweek’s fact-checkers confirmed that the Pantanal was indeed the caimans’ rightful home, boasting “With approximately 10 million Caimans, this is the most crocodile population in the entire world.,” according to the World Wildlife Fund. Compared to that, only around 206,000 people live in this area.

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