That’s exactly what happened at one Chinese zoo, where zookeepers also tried to pass off foxes as leopards, rats as snakes, and itself as a real zoo.
“A clearly-marked sign claimed an animal in one of the cages was an African lion but visitors became infuriated when it was clear a Tibetan mastiff dog was inside instead,” Metro reports. (The image above is a Tibetan mastiff, but not the particular one in question.)
Spectators discovered the beast wasn’t a lion when it barked. Someone has to teach that dog how to do better impressions.
A zoo manager claimed the dog was the lion’s friend, a theory that works if “friend” is Chinese for “lunch.” She also asserted that the zoo’s real African lion was sent away to another facility for breeding. Hopefully that was true because it definitely sounds like they could use more lions.
A spokesman added that the zoo is doing its best in tough economic times, and that people who were unhappy could get refunds. Unfortunately, the zoo can’t throw its detractors to the lions, because… you know… that would just be adorable.