A stomach-churning picture of a giant rat that was allegedly found in a Bronx, New York, Foot Locker store is making the rounds on the Internet a few months after it appears to have first been posted.
Gothamist posted the image after Twitter user @TheGoodfella_ tweeted it. But @TheGoodfella_ told The Huffington Post that he originally saw the picture on his friend's Facebook page, and it appears to have first been uploaded in the fall.
Still, the picture's origin is unclear.
What is clear, however, is that this is no ordinary subway rat.
"There's no way it's a common sewer rat," Dr. Robert S. Voss, the Curator of Mammals at The American Museum of Natural History in New York, told HuffPost after reviewing the picture. "I'm 90 percent certain that it's a a Gambian pouched rat."
Voss estimated the rat to be about two-and-a-half feet in length.
Another huge Gambian pouched rat made headlines last year when it was killed in Brooklyn's Marcy houses.
Voss said it's possible this rat was once a pet that could have escaped or been released.
Gambian pouched rats were once imported to the United States for sale as pets, but abc.net.au reports that an outbreak of monkeypox in the early 2000s caused the importation of African rodents to be banned.
Despite its size, Voss said the rat is harmless and docile, so there's no need to be worried if you encounter one. He did, however, recommend walking away and calling animal control immediately.
An employee at the Foot Locker on Fordham Road in The Bronx who was asked about the image said he was not authorized to speak on the matter.
Another representative from Foot Locker's corporate offices told HuffPost she was not familiar with the image but said she would be looking into it.
Click here for a higher-quality image of the critter.
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more