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7 Bizarre Cases of Mistaken Animal Identity

How would you feel if you purchased a big, fluffy dog and it turned out to be a big, fluffy bear?

Beautiful Tibetan Mastiff.Tatyana Kuznetsova/Shutterstock

Paddington the... puppy?

A family in China bought (what they thought was) an adorable Tibetan Mastiff puppy at a pet shop. The “puppy” was raised on fruits and noodles, and when the family began to notice its colossal appetite (more than two buckets of noodles per day) and size, they were learned that their beloved dog was actually an Asiatic black bear. While we’re skeptical about this mix-up, we’re glad to see the family moved the bear to a wildlife shelter so it could receive right care and attention.

Wonderful one white Japanese Spitz dog in nature background. Animals life. Family fun puppy pet. Close up.ERainbow/Shutterstock

The fox is the hound

A woman purchased a sweet little Japanese spitz puppy from a pet shop in China, but after three months, she noticed a few abnormalities: it stopped eating dog food and didn’t bark (sounds kind of like our dream dog, if we’re being honest). This prompted a little investigation at the zoo, and it turns out, this spitz was actually a fox. Yikes! If you're thinking about intentionally buying a less-than-typical pet, read this list of not-so-ordinary pets that turned out to be heroes.

German shepherd puppies outside next fencelegenda/Shutterstock

Pups or kits?

Hampton Animal Control in Hampton, Virginia, received a call about three abandoned “puppies”. Animal Control headed to the scene, only to find out this was a very cute case of mistaken animal identity––the pups were actually baby raccoons. They were taken to a rehabilitation center until they were strong enough to be released back into the wild. And if you wish your "puppies" could just let you know when you've got it all wrong, check out the 50 secrets your pet won't tell you.

Coyote walking in the winter snowJim Cumming/Shutterstock

The boy who cried puppy

The Bartlett, Illinois Police Department got an interesting case when a resident brought in a cute puppy after they found it alone on the side of the road. Later that day, the puppy turned out to be a coyote! It was given to a wildlife sanctuary where it could be given proper care.

White Persian cats on the floorrukawajung/Shutterstock

More than just a bad hair day

We all have bad hair days, but Snookie the Persian cat has a bad hair life. She has a condition called hypertrichosis (or “werewolf syndrome”) that gives her this fluffy, mangly coat. Passers-by often mistake Snookie as a Shih-Tzu puppy, and, if she’s like any normal cat, she’s definitely not amused. Cats have bad hair days just like us! Check out these 12 stories about animals acting like humans to really feel related to your pet.

Brown poodle dog on rockAnna_Bondarenko/Shutterstock

A ferret walks into a hairdresser...

Speaking of hair, check out this “poodle.” An Argentinian man bought ferrets, injected them with steroids, gave them special grooming so they resembled toy poodles, and sold them as such for hundreds of dollars. Dog lovers were dumbfounded when they went to the vet and found out their beloved purebreds were actually the long-bodied rodents. (And if you’re wondering, ferrets sell for $75, while you could be shelling out an average of $700 for a toy poodle!) Find out the 26 secrets your pet store won't tell you––fingers crossed they don't say your "poodle" is actually a ferret.

India Bengal Tiger head looking direct to cameradangdumrong/Shutterstock

A tiger in the concrete jungle

We can imagine mistaking a raccoon for one of Manhattan’s gargantuan subway rats, but a tiger? We’re skeptical. But according to NBC New York, a concerned resident did just that. Reporters flocked to the scene and warned residents to stay away from the area. But later, the "tiger," which was spotted in Harlem, turned out to be one of the trash-scouring mammals. Someone get the caller to a LensCrafters! Next, see if you can tell the difference between these nearly identical animals.