Man claims to have taken a picture of a raccoon standing on top of an alligator in Florida's Ocala National Forest

‘Definitely the photo of a lifetime’ the photographer said, though many have called the picture a fake

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The Independent US

A man has managed to take a picture of a raccoon stood on top of an alligator while he was talking through Ocala National Forest this weekend with his family, though the legitimacy of the image has already been questioned.

Richard Jones, of Palatka, Florida, told WFTV that he and his family had been watching the alligators in the Oaklawaha River, when his son walked through some palm fronds to “catch a different angle,” frightening a raccoon.

Jones said he thought the raccoon must have been asleep, because it “stumbled” towards the water and hopped on top of the alligator.

“I snapped a lucky picture right when the gator slipped into the water and before the raccoon jumped off and scurried away,” he told the broadcaster.

Without the context of what happened, the picture looks as though the raccoon was taking a ride on the alligator, Jones said, adding: “Definitely the photo of a lifetime”.

But many have questioned the authenticity of the photograph, with users on Reddit suggesting the raccoon looks like a taxidermy animal, while the Orlando Sentinel has questioned the tail on the raccoon and the appearance of the alligator.

“As any native Floridian knows, gators generally lay pretty low to the point where you really only see their beady green eyes just above the surface,” Adrienne Cutway wrote, adding: “And what about that stumpy little tail? I’ve seen many raccoons through the years and all of them had fluffy, striped appendages”.

The Ocala Star Banner also picked the picture apart, reiterating the possible taxidermy theory, adding that the picture shows an “unusual pose for a raccoon,” adding that the raccoon appears “out of proportion” and too big when compared with the alligator.

Jones emailed the image to several news outlets in Florida over the weekend, but does not appear to have responded to subsequent requests for comment.

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