When Su Yun bought her family a puppy two years ago, she was surprised by how much the dog ate. “A box of fruits and two buckets of noodles every day,” she told Chinese media.
There was, it turns out, a reason for its prodigious appetite: the animal has grown into a 250lb bear.
The family realised their error when the pet did not stop growing and started showing a talent for walking on two legs.
“The more he grew, the more like a bear he looked,” said Ms Yun, a villager living near the city of Kunming in Yunnan province. “I am a little scared of bears.”
The animal has now been taken into care after the family contacted Yunnan Wildlife Rescue Centre requesting help. Footage taken by officials show it standing about a metre tall. Staff were so intimidated by the animal – which had lived in the family home – they sedated it before transportation.
It has been identified as an endangered Asiatic Black Bear, which would fetch thousands of pounds if sold on the black market.
The family say they bought the animal believing it to be a Tibetan mastiff while on holiday in 2016.
Any embarrassment they felt may have been mitigated by the fact they are not the first among their neighbours to mistake the ursine for the canine when on the lookout for a family pet.
In March, local media reported how a man, also from Yunnan province, had raised a bear after finding it roaming in the forest and initially believing it to be a stray dog. He kept it in a cage