1856 – Washing the lions
Crowds gathered outside the Tower of London on the 1st April 1856. Various people had received passes to witness the lions being washed at the historical building, but there was a catch. There were no lions at the tower and this joke had been running since 1698, when Londoners would offer the experience to naive out-of-towners.
1939 – Lions loose in Texas
A cheeky San Antonio newspaper reported that 13 lions had scaled the walls of their new open-air enclosures and were prowling around the town. The newspaper was inundated with phone calls and even when told the article was a hoax, hundreds remained convinced by the cleverly altered photograph.
1961 – Horse tail lights
A newspaper in Milan reported that it was mandatory for horses to wear signalling and brake lights while being ridden through the streets. Many citizens then took their horses into car mechanics to have them fitted with the necessary lights. Gotcha.
1972 – Loch Ness monster found
On April fool’s day in 1972, a research team from by a zoo in Yorkshire reported a grisly discovery on the shores of the famous loch. Reporters flocked to the waterside but the body that had been found was in the back of a van on its way back to Yorkshire. After being flagged down by police, the team admitted it was merely a hoax and the body belonged to an elephant seal that had sadly passed away.
1993 – Squirrel speed limit
A radio station in Cologne, Germany, reported that city officials were implementing a speed limit for joggers. The maximum running speed was said to be ten kilometres (six miles) per hour to prevent disruption to mating squirrels.
2008 – Flying penguins
The footage of flying penguins released in 2008 was allegedly captured as part of an upcoming documentary and fooled the world for a solid five minutes.
2010 – Butterfly attacks
Some of the most convincing prank footage of all time was undoubtedly the flood of clips showing seemingly innocent bystanders being attacked by swarms of butterflies. The pranksters were eventually found to have stolen technology that mimicked the reflection of light off butterfly wings, designed to make mobile phone displays more effective in bright sunlight. Very clever.
For the latest animal news, best facts and stunning images, get your hands on World of Animals magazine every month for only £3.99, or get a great deal by subscribing online or becoming a digital reader today.