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Dumpy, the TikTok-famous giant frog, is fake — well, kinda


A video of a massive, banana-guzzling frog, easily the size of its owner’s head, garnered over 20 million views on TikTok. But it was all thanks to movie magic, according to its creator.

The video inspired shock and amazement. Posted to TikTok on Thursday, the clip shows videographer Lucas Peterson touching and feeding a huge amphibian named Dumpy.

But, as the Minnesota-based content creator explained to CNN, Dumpy, a 4-year-old Australian green tree frog, is actually only about the size of his palm. Peterson edited the video in Adobe Premiere to make him appear much larger.

There are also a “whole lot of perspective tricks going on” to help the video appear realistic, Peterson said.

He said he hoped to inspire debate over whether or not the clip was real – this kind of ambiguity increases engagement on his content. “It causes a question and more interaction, debate over whether it’s real or fake,” he said. He previously posted a similarly edited video of the supersized frog.

But still, he was surprised by the massive reach of Thursday’s enlarged Dumpy video. “I didn’t expect people to go that wild over a giant frog,” he said.

Peterson explained that the video was edited in the description of the original TikTok, writing: “His real size is about 4-5 inches he’s enlarged with vfx perspective tricks. I did all my editing in adobe premiere.” However, his disclaimer was buried around halfway into the video description – and as Peterson told CNN, copies of his original video without the caption also began circulating on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram, leading many viewers to believe the clip was real.

But the video’s viral fame has given Peterson an opportunity to share information about his semi-aquatic pets, he said. He maintains a “paludarium,” a kind of enclosed terrarium with aquatic features, that is home to Dumpy and two salamanders.

“This opened the door to help educate people about how great tanks and amphibians are,” he said. “It’s kind of a niche hobby.”

In the future, he plans to release more content starring Dumpy and his other amphibians. “Dumpy is still the same loveable frog you see on the screen, the only thing that’s different is he was enlarged,” he said.

So, while you don’t have to watch out for oversized frogs anytime soon, you might want to watch out for some editing in the next unbelievable viral video you see.

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