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9 “Pets” That Turned Out to Be Wild Animals

A dog may be man's best friend, but what happens when that pooch isn't a dog at all? These true stories of pets that turned out to be wild creatures will blow your mind.

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

This pet is a real bear

No, really. A family picked up what they thought was a Tibetan mastiff while vacationing in 2016. When they returned to their home in China, the new pet owners were shocked when the pup grew to 250 pounds and had an insatiable appetite, according to People. Turns out the “mastiff” was actually an Asiatic black bear! The owners have since turned him over to a wildlife centre where he can receive the attention he needs.

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

It’s a wild world

In another case of mistaken identity, animal lover Sharon Bertozzi of California thought she was doing a good deed when she took in what appeared to be a stray, sickly dog found at her front door. Bertozzi called her city’s local Animal Services to send a rescuer, reports animal site Honest to Paws. Once the rescuer was on the scene, it was quickly noted that this “dog” was actually a coyote. The coyote was moved to a Wildlife Rescue where it was nursed back to health.

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

It’s a kitty-tastrophe

A Texas family got way more than they bargained for when they decided to bring two adorable kittens home as pets. After receiving a few bites from their new fur babies, the family decided to do a little research on the animals. As it turns out, these blue-eyed bandits weren’t your average kitten, they were actually bobcats, according to Animal services took over once the discovery was made.

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

If it looks like a dog…

In this instance animals that were initially thought to be dogs didn’t end up in anyone’s home, but an animal shelter for domestic pets in Croatia did rescue a box of presumed puppies that turned out to be anything but. According to Lad Bible, a shelter worker thought the pups were Belgian shepherds. In actuality, they were jackals. Because they spent so much time among humans, it was deemed unsafe for the jackals to return to the wild. A shelter employee was granted permission to keep the animals as pets and found that domestic life suits them.

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

A major cat misconception

Back in 2008, a herdsman located in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China brought home two baby animals he thought were wild cats. As the “cats” grew the man, named Zhang Peiwei, began to question if these cuties were really your garden variety felines. No, they were not. Peiwei had actually “rescued” two snow leopards, according to With help from some animal organizations, he planned to keep and raise the leopards.

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

One harrowing hamster story

A father in Norway was desperate to find the owner of a hamster he saved from being run over when he spotted it running across a street. According to The Dodo, the man, Jostein Hansen, was eager to find the owner because, if it was a child’s, he didn’t want them to fret if their beloved pet went missing. After bringing the hamster to a pet store, Hansen learned this wasn’t a hamster, but a wild rodent known as a Norway Lemming. He quickly returned the lemming into nature.

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

This animal lover was outfoxed

Often when a wild animal is misidentified as a pet, it’s the result of a rescue gone wrong. In this instance, the prospective pet parent actually purchased her pup from a pet shop in China. What was believed to be a Japanese Spitz turned out to be a domesticated fox. Fox News reports the owner, identified only as Ms. Wang, brought the pup to a Taiyuan Zoo expert who gave her the startling news. Wang turned the cub over to the zoo for what she believed would be a “better living environment.”

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

Sly kitty

Foxes are so good at “pretending” to be other animals, you may want to double and triple check you’re not bringing home one the next time you set out to find a new pet. In this case, Martine Vos, a volunteer at a Belgium cat shelter, answered the call to pick up a stray kitten. She noticed the “kitten” seemed heavier and felt different than the average kitty, according to The Dodo. A wildlife rescue confirmed Vos’s suspicion that the animal was something other than a cat: She was, in fact, a baby fox. Unlike a wild animal, these are friendly cat breeds that are both social and loving.

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Wild animalsPhoto: Shutterstock

Hungry like the wolf

What could have turned into a very sad story had a happy ending. News 4 San Antonio reported that a pet owner dropped a dog off at a kill shelter because he was getting too big. When his DNA was tested, it revealed he is actually 87.5 per cent gray wolf, 8.6 per cent Siberian husky, and 3.9 per cent German shepherd. Fortunately, Shy Wolf Sanctuary swooped in to take care of the fella and he left the kill shelter unscathed. Try your hand at guessing dog breeds based off of one photo.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest