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Footage shared on social media by a visitor to Xiangwushan Zoo in Xianning, Hubei province, showed a pooch that looked like a Rottweiler lying down on its side in a cage.
As the man approached the dog he asked: "Woof! Are you a wolf?"
The clip has since gone viral, with social media users poking fun at the bizarre switch.
One person wrote: "At least get a husky."
While another joked: "Relax, aren't dogs and wolves related?"
A third joked: "The zoo should change to sign to 'canine enclosure' then they would be fine."
Speaking to Beijing News, Mr Xu, who filmed the clip, said he asked staff at the zoo why there was a dog inside the enclosure and was told that a wolf had previously lived in there but that it had 'died of old age'.
A member of staff told Global Times that there had been a real wolf in the enclosure until it had sadly passed away, adding that the dog had been put inside as a 'watchdog' to stop trespassers from entering the area.
The unnamed member of staff also mentioned the fact the zoo hadn't been doing well financially, adding that they hadn't had 'enough visitors to keep the zoo up and running well'.
The zoo has since been told by the local forestry bureau it must remove the sign leading to the enclosure.
This is not the first time a zoo has been caught trying to pass off one animal as another - back in 2018 a zoo in Egypt painted up a donkey to look like a zebra.
The 'zebra' was spotted at a Cairo zoo by Mahmoud A. Sarhani earlier this month. Mahmoud was intrigued by the odd-looking animal so took a closer look only to realise he was looking at an ass.
The donkey doesn't have the usual mane that zebras do and it had much larger, more donkey-like, ears.
And, the biggest clue that this is actually a painted donkey is the fact that whoever had done the paint job has managed to smudge paint all over the poor animal.
After Mahmoud's photo's went viral and were later picked up by the media, the zoo's director - a Mr Mohamed Sultan - went on the record to say the zebra was the real deal.
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