The headlines are telling about a recent reptile video making the rounds on social media:
- WATCH: Hungry GODZILLA monster lizard comes face to face with panicked divers during feast
- Massive Godzilla-like monster bigger than a human causes panic
- ‘Humanoid Godzilla’ the size of a man spotted hunting along the bottom of the ocean
- Bizarre ‘humanoid Godzilla,’ the size of a grown man, is filmed viciously hunting off the coast of the Galapagos Islands
And what exactly was the Godzilla-like creature that got British tabloid writers into a panic? A mere marine iguana that grows to about 4 to 5 feet in length and feeds exclusively on algae that it rasps off rocks on the ocean bottom.
The British media, though, would have you thinking otherwise, what with the allusions to Godzilla terrifying the divers who captured the footage of this particular reptile at Cabo Marshall, a dive site off Isabela in the Galapagos island chain, the only known islands in which these lizards can be found.
The Daily Star was the biggest offender. It says the lizard caused panic among the humans who encountered the reptile, but the only “panic” the divers may have encountered would be either: 1. running out of air as they filmed this magnificent creature swimming in the ocean, or 2. running out of space on the video camera used to capture the footage. The Daily Star also reported the lizard as a 7-footer. At 7 feet in length, this particular iguana would be about the average size of a Komodo dragon, a reptile that can grow to 10 feet in length and has been documented to attack humans. Most reputable information outlets describe the marine iguana as averaging 3 to 5 feet in length, its size varying based on what island in the chain it is found.
“The hungry lizard was filmed by Steve Winkworth as it prowled like a cynical hunter before surfacing for air,” the Daily Star story reports.
Yes sir, that cynical hunter is 100 percent vegetarian. That’s right. The marine iguana is no more a cynical hunter than a cow.
The coverage of the reptile on another British news site, the Mirror, was a bit tame compared to the Daily Star. The writer did say the iguana was as big as the divers who were swimming near and next to it, but forced perspective of the video must be taken into account coupled with the fact that water tends to magnify imagery. But you have to give points to the Mirror for at least calling the marine iguana what it is, a herbivore.
Yahoo News Australia (‘Mini-Godzilla’ marine iguana filmed in incredible underwater feeding session) also got it right mostly. It, however, reported the reptile at 6 feet in length. But you have to love that headline, too.
The marine iguana is not a monster, though Charles Darwin apparently called them disgusting clumsy lizards. Nor are they “humanoid Godzillas.” They are just lizards that feed exclusively on algae. And, they are not the size of a human. The coverage of this Godzilla-Like Humanoid Lizard Bigger Than A Human Monster? Lame. Winkworth’s video, though, is absolutely brilliant!