Eagles won't steal your baby: Animation students admit YouTube hoax

The Canadian students behind the viral "Golden Eagle Snatches Kid" video that took Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks by storm this week have 'fessed up on their 3D tomfoolery. The clip – which appears to show an eagle swooping in and attempting to snatch a toddler from a park, then dropping the child several feet above the grass – was the handiwork of four three students at media training school Centre NAD in Montreal. "Both the eagle and the kid were created in 3D animation" the school admitted, "and integrated in to the film afterwards."

Views of the much-shared clip have already exceeded 16m since it went live on December 18, though the authenticity of the clip was contested from the start. Even the species of the bird itself was questioned, with experts pointing out that it in fact looked like a eastern imperial eagle.

"Golden Eagle snatches kid" video:

Normand Archambault, Loïc Mireault, and Félix Marquis-Poulin produced the video as part of the Centre NAD production simulation workshop class, and are studying for a degree in 3D Animation and Digital Design. It's a class that already has a track record in creating hoax videos; a 2011 clip supposedly showing a penguin escaping a Montreal zoo also gained attention, though not to the same extent as the eagle clip.

"Escaped penguin" video:

The students have described their project to La Presse (in French), complete with demonstrating some of the 3D rendering processes that went into creating the eagle and the child. However, there has also been some criticism that the video itself still makes no official mention that it is a hoax, potentially worrying parents unduly of the risk of eagles.