Hoaxing happening regarding South Carolina flooding

Historic, torrential rain and flooding has hit several U.S. coastal states this week. As we saw with Hurricane Sandy, hoax photos and tales run rampant across social media during a disaster. Don’t buy it! Please double check before passing on. There is no excuse for adding to panic.

Dr. David Steen warns readers not to fall for the hoax photos of crocodiles and sharks in the floodwaters.

Living Alongside Wildlife: An Alligator Swimming Through a South Carolina Neighborhood? Definitely Not.

A photo circulating of what looks like an alligator in the flood waters is from August 2015 but also only a piece of wood, not a live animal. While it’s not IMPOSSIBLE that animals are roaming the flood waters, this is NOT a true story. No additional cases of such have been confirmed. It was irresponsible of the news org to report this story without confirmation back then. It’s surging again now thanks to jokesters.

There is also a new story about a crocodile enjoying the high tides. Dr. Steen also debunks this one. There are no crocodiles in South Carolina. Carolina croc hoax

And, as with Hurricane Sandy, hoaxed photos of sharks in the streets are also being passed around. I know it feels like you are doing good to pass on what seems like a fair warning of a dangerous situation but it’s not. Even the Weather Channel is promoting these tales.

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Steen notes cottonmouths are always in the waters of S. Carolina, now is not the time to scare people about that. Just don’t touch them. You should not be around in such flooding conditions anyway. Get out.

TWC is saying do not get in the flood water, which is good advice for MANY reasons, but sharks, snakes or crocs are not the main ones.

The stories about animals may have been prompted by the very real occurrence of zoo animals that escaped during the Tbilisi, Georgia flooding. 

In a time of stress and crisis, it would be better if news orgs just stuck to the facts derived from experts and did not just repeat every yahoo story posted to Facebook and Twitter. That just makes things worse.

  6 comments for “Hoaxing happening regarding South Carolina flooding

  1. Lee
    October 4, 2015 at 10:36 PM

    Of course the news as it “IS” just is not enough to generate overwhelming emotions or illicit horror in people. I am awaiting news of the volcano that is on the verge of eruption there!

  2. Ryan
    October 5, 2015 at 12:54 AM

    Always a lot of scare mongering about cotton mouths down there. If all the stories were even partially true you’d still be talking about the deadliest snake in the world. Fond of living in toilets, capable of flying, with the most toxic venom imaginable. Prone to hunting humans for sport. And so aggressive that one snake miles away means your whole family is dead within the week!

    So that part doesn’t surprise me. But they’re fairly harmless snakes. I’ve run into them a few times mucking around creeks and rivers in that part of the country. Pretty docile, typically leave promptly when humans turn up unless cornered. Even then in my experience they’re pretty reluctant to strike. Unfortunately all the fear and “kill it now” mentality drives people to mess with them in exactly the sort of way that WILL drive them to strike. Stay calm, keep your distance (if you can), don’t corner it and definitely don’t poke or kick at it. It’ll be on its way promptly. Pretty much like any wild animal.

  3. Jan
    October 5, 2015 at 10:00 AM

    There may not be crocodiles in SC, but there are plenty of alligators in the coastal regions, and it is definitely possible they may be in areas not usually inhabited by gators due to the flooding. There should be caution. When we lived in SC, and friend’s dog died saving their child from an alligator that came out of a pond on their property. They should be treated with respect and not approached.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy
    October 5, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    And, as with Hurricane Sandy, hoaxed photos of sharks in the streets are also being passed around.

    One word: SHARKNADO.

    And, as with Hurricane Sandy, hoaxed photos of sharks in the streets are also being passed around.

    “BUT IT’S ON SOCIAL MEDIA! IT’S GOTTA BE TRUE!”
    (spoken without looking up from the smartphone screen — text text text text text…)

  5. October 5, 2015 at 10:32 AM

    For sure. But note the point of the post is that media should not be causing additional panic via false reports.

  6. jockmcdock
    October 5, 2015 at 2:00 PM

    There are regions in the world where large toothy reptiles do move when there are floods. When I lived in Darwin (Northern Territory, Australia), a young girl was taken by a croc while swimming in a small lake that had been deemed “safe” for years.

    So, these dangers are real in some parts of the world. But spinning hoax stories?? That’s just disgusting.

    And there’s a possible negative effect. If you put out hoax stories, people might not believe real warnings of danger.

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