That viral photo of a giant rat in London may not be what it seems

The photo of a man holding what appears to be a huge rat has gone viral, but it turns out the rodent may not be as massive as first believed.

Tony Smith, 46, claims he found the rat near a playground while performing work as a gas engineer. Poison had been set out to get a handle on a rat infestation in the area. Before disposing of it, Smith posed for a photo with the rodent, which he claims was the largest rat he'd ever seen in his life, at 4 feet long and weighing about 25 pounds, according to ITV News.

The image quickly went viral, earning sensational headlines comparing the size of the rat to a dog or 4-year-old child.

But skeptics immediately questioned the authenticity of the photo, claiming that the rat is not nearly as big as first suggested, but is made to look that way through the use of forced perspective.

The staff at The Guardian went so far as to record an experiment where they demonstrated the camera trick.

The BBC also provided examples of other objects that were made to look larger than they really were.

The BBC consulted Jane Hurst, a Liverpool University professor, who agreed that the dimensions of the rat are greatly exaggerated. One Internet user claims that the rat is likely "only" 2 feet long.