Apparently Argentinian bazaar salesmen are passing off ferrets on steroids as toy poodles -- and people believe them.
A local news report out of Buenos Aires caught the attention of the Daily Mail and other sites this week, after a man took the "toy poodles" he bought at the La Salada market to a veterinarian, only to find that it was actually a giant weasel.
Selling what Argentinians call a "Brazilian rat" -- a ferret given steroids at birth to increase its size and then groomed -- isn't a rare occurrence, the site reports. But this particular story, aired in June 2012, apparently confirmed the urban legend that these freaky ferrets are sold at the popular market.
The victim paid $150 per poodle, Yahoo! News reports. Another woman told the Buenos Aires station that she was tricked into buying what she thought was a chihuahua -- but that was also a ferret.
It's unclear where the enhanced ferrets are today.
And if you can't tell the difference between a ferret and a toy poodle, the Daily Mail has a checklist you can use to make sure your pooch isn't a gargantuan weasel on 'roids:
- Ferrets typically have brown, white or mixed fur and are around 51 cm in length—which includes a 13 cm tail.
- They weigh around three pounds and have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years.
- When happy, ferrets may perform a routine known as the weasel war dance—which is characterized by a series of hops and frenzied attempts to bump into things.
- This is often accompanied by a soft clucking noise called dooking. When upset ferrets make a hissing noise.
- Toy poodles are known for their intelligence and are around 25 cm tall and weigh around nine pounds.
- If a toy poodle exceeds 25 cm height, it cannot compete in any dog show as a toy poodle.
- Toy poodles have long lifespans and have been known to live as long as 20 years.
- Toy poodles are described as sweet, cheerful and perky and lively and love to be around people.
But ferrets aren't the only animals that have allegedly been used to dupe poodle-seekers. The Brisbane Times reports that a Japanese actress once purchased a lamb believing that it was a standard poodle.
Clarification: an earlier version of this story classified ferrets as rodents. Ferrets are in the weasel family.
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