Real or Not? Raccoon Catches Ride on Alligator’s Back

raccoon alligator

Photo Credit: Rich Jones/Cox Media Group

You’d think for sure this one was photoshopped, but this past weekend, Richard Jones of Palatka, Florida captured this phone of a raccoon catching a ride on top of an alligator in the Ocala National Forest. He emailed the pic to WFTV in Orlando with a note that read:

“Had a wonderful morning in the Ocala National Forest and took an equally wonderful photo! We were walking along the Oaklawaha River watching some gators warm up in the morning. My son went through some palm fronds to catch a different angle and freighted (sic) a raccoon. It must have been asleep because it stumbled toward the water and hoped (sic) on top of the gator we were watching. I snapped a lucky picture right when the gator slipped into the water and before the raccoon jumped off and scurried away. Without the context you’d think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river. Pretty amazing. Definitely the photo of a lifetime. Included a second one my wife took of the area.”

Since the release, the image has become wildly popular reaching the No. 1 story on a number of websites, including WFTV.

While some may be skeptical, the U.S. Forest Service told Today that it’s actually not unlikely. Denise Rains told the long running TV show in an email: “Truth is often stranger than fiction! The story that was told with the picture seems plausible to us. Also, both animals seem to be distressed and that would indicate that the story is true as well.”

Lucky for the raccoon, he didn’t end up as the alligator’s lunch!