Riddle: When is a lion not a lion? Answer: When it says "woof, woof." That's what visitors to the Louhe city zoo in China discovered recently, much to their disappointment. Confused yet? Okay. It all started when officials from the zoo in question decided to send their REAL African lion away to a breeding center. Not a problem in and of itself, but instead of informing paying zoo customers that one of their mane attractions (HAHAHAHA) would be away for a while, they came up with a remarkably less-than-brilliant bait-and-switch, putting a Tibetan mastiff (the huge, hairy breed of dog pictured here) in the lion's former cage. Marked "African lion." Now, perhaps this oh-so-clever ruse would have worked at the Shanghai Zoo for the Blind & Deaf (note: no such place exists, as far as I know), but at a zoo for seeing and hearing folks? Who know that any lion worth his salt says "roar," not "bow wow"?
Not so much.
Indeed, it was a 6-year-old boy with the surname of Liu who blew the lid off the whole harebrained operation:
On the way, Mrs. Liu was teaching her son all the sounds that the different animals make. But when they arrived, her son said the lion was barking like a dog.
Can you imagine? That had to be the most confusing moment of the poor kid's life. I can't stop thinking about this little rhyme from a picture book my kids were obsessed with as babies:
The cow says 'moo'/The sheep says 'baa'/Three singing pigs say 'la la la'!/No, no, you say, that isn't right!/The pigs say 'oink' all day and night!
No, no, you say, that isn't right!/The lion is at a breeding center and you should get a refund for the price of zoo admission!
What a rip-off! I can't believe the zookeeper -- or whoever -- thought nobody would notice!! And the best part is, that "lion" wasn't the only faker on display: A domestic dog was found in the wolf pen, and in the leopard exhibit? A white fox.
What would you do if you went to a zoo and there was a dog in the lion cage?
Image via faungg/Flickr