Viral pic: Raccoon riding a gator raises questions

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Early Sunday, various media outlets in Florida received an email with a photo of a raccoon apparently riding on the back of an alligator.

Richard Jones of Palatka, Florida emailed WFTV and said he snapped a picture of a raccoon on top of an alligator in the Ocala National Forest on Saturday morning.

A portion of the email sent to WFTV read:

"Had a wonderful morning with the family in 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 or the area."

Since the release, the photo has become wildly popular reaching the number one story on such websites Reddit as well as news media outlets including WFTV in Orlando, Florida, who were among the first to publish a story.

>> ORIGINAL STORY: Raccoon rides on top of gator 

Despite the popularity of the picture, many are now questioning the authenticity. Many commenters and other websites have called into question if the photo was real or if it was faked.

The Ocala Star Banner reluctantly posted the photo after initially questioning the authenticity of the photo. Some concerns posed by included the size of the raccoon's tail as well as the proportion compared to the alligator. They also pointed out that the gator had an odd eye shape, color and placement.

The editors at Fusion, a joint venture website whose target audience consists mainly of millennials, also posed questions about the photo including the raccoon's stiff posture, suggesting it "looks like a taxidermy piece."

Mr. Jones has not responded to our request for an interview.

Be sure to comment on whether you believe the photo is real or fake. In the meantime, enjoy these confirmed sighting of "animals riding on other animals."