A Family Raises a Pet Dog, But After 2 Years, Shockingly Discovers it's an Endangered Bear
It was just keeping growing.
A family in China got the shock of their lives when they discovered the dog they thought they were raising was actually an endangered bear. According to Chinese media, a woman named Su Yin adopted the dog, which she thought was a Tibetan mastiff, in 2016. Her first clue that something was unusual was the animal's tremendous appetite. It ate "a box of fruits and two buckets of noodles every day," she said. Read on to find out how the family realized they were harboring a wild bear, why it's endangered, and why cases of mistaken pet identity are more common than you'd think.
"Dog" Grew to 250 Pounds
The animal kept growing. Eventually, it started to walk on its hind legs. "The more he grew, the more like a bear he looked," Su Yin told China News. After two years, the animal was tipping the scale at 250 pounds. While Tibetan mastiffs are large dogs that can weigh up to 150 pounds when fully grown, Su sensed they were dealing with a different species altogether. Being somewhat scared of bears, she called the authorities.
An Endangered Species Under Their Roof
They confirmed her suspicions: The family "dog," which had been living in their house the entire time, was actually an endangered Asiatic black bear. The animals are lucrative on the black market as they're frequently used in traditional Chinese medicine. Ursodeoxycholic acid, a chemical found in the animal's bile, has been used to treat conditions such as liver disease. Rescuers tranquilized the bear because they were reportedly too afraid to interact with the animal while it was fully alert. Ultimately, it was brought to the Yunnan Wildlife Rescue.
That's No Stray Cat
Although the mistaken mastiff is an extreme example, cases of misidentified pets are more common than they may seem. Last month, Chinese media reported on a man, also from Yunnan province, who discovered what looked like a black spotted stray cat wandering in a wooded area. He took the animal home. But after three days, the man was struggling to care for the animal and consulted experts.
They told him his new feline friend was no domestic cat—it was an endangered animal known as the leopard cat. The wild breed, which grows to the size of a large housecat, are fearsome predators. The young leopard was sent to an animal sanctuary until it was old enough to be released into the wild.
A Wolf Mistaken for a Dog
Earlier this month, the US Sun reported on an Arizona man who saw a sign for a free puppy and adopted the canine, which he called Neo. He soon became perplexed by the animal's strange behavior: It often escaped to play with the neighbors' dogs and would ignore dog treats thrown its way. The man took the pup to the Humane Society, which told him it was no dog—it was a wolf. "You know that isn't a dog, right?" Maureen O'Nell, a Humane Society employee, asked the owner. "We were wondering," they replied.
He Was Trying to Find a Pack
Young Neo was adopted by a wolf rescue organization called Wolf Connection. "According to his owner, Neo would dig out or jump the fence to play with the neighbors' dogs," Cate Salansky of Wolf Connection told The Dodo. "He even built a higher fence to help contain him, but Neo chewed through it and continued to escape." Neo was acting that way because he was trying to find a pack, she said. He now has one on the grounds of the sanctuary.