04/23/2013 10:53 EDT | Updated 04/23/2013 12:05 EDT

Dead Deer Photo Linked To Alberta Oilsands Carcinogens Not True (GRAPHIC)

An image of a dead deer that went viral on the Internet last week has nothing to do with the Alberta oilsands, according to wildlife experts.


The graphic photo shows a dead deer hanging out of the back of a pickup truck, covered in bloody boils and lesions.

The caption on the photo, which has been shared almost 11,000 times, reads:



Suncor has released an UNDETERMINED amount of carcinogens into Northern Albertans water supply.

The Alberta Ministry of the Environment has covered it up!

Share this with all Albertans ASAP!


However, the warts on the deer have nothing to do with oil, but rather a virus knows as cutaneun fibroma.

"Deer warts," as they are commonly known, are ugly to look at but generally do not harm the deer, according to Mississippi Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

Similar photos have been shared online in the past, linking the warts to the oil carcinogens, reports

According to Snopes, the urban legend began in January 2012 when the northeastern Pennsylvania village of Dimock Township came under contoversy over how much environmental impact the process of fracking for extracting natural gas may be having on water supply.

A photo of a deer with warts was circulated in connection with the story, with many claiming the deer was afflicted with cancer brought on by carcinogens found in the fracking water.

It is unclear the origin of the photo claiming to be in connection with Alberta's oil patch, although a person who said he took the photo in 2007 posted several others pictures of the same deer, which he said was shot during a hunting excursion in Tennessee.

"I killed this buck thursday (sic). It was the nastiest thing I have ever seen. I was told they were deer warts but nobody has seen any this bad. I walked up to him at 25 yards in a bean field, he just stood up and started walking towards me. I still had my climbing stand on my back," he posted on a message board.

When the photo was posted to a Government of Alberta Facebook page, the government responded to the post: "White-tailed deer are susceptible to a virus that causes cutaneous fibromas (warts). This is an extreme example. Deer are the only hosts for this particular virus."

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