Animal impersonators: 10 times loose 'animals' turned out to be fakes

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April 6 (UPI) -- When is an animal emergency not an animal emergency? When the animal isn't an animal at all.

Police, rescue volunteers and other emergency responders are called out every day for a variety of animal-related situations, but occasionally the supposed animal in distress turns out to be a toy, statue or another non-living object.


Here are 10 times that animal emergencies turned out to be non-animal non-emergencies:

Reported crocodile on the loose in England was a 2-foot-long toy

Police on England's Isle of Sheppey were called out to a location in Queenborough in March when a jogger reported spotting a crocodile on the loose.

Kent Police Swale said officers arrived to find the reported reptile was a 2-foot-long toy. The croc-faux-dile was removed from the scene to prevent further calls.


New Jersey animal control officer called to capture fake parrot

The Princeton Police Department in New Jersey said Animal Control Officer Jim Ferry was dispatched to a wooded area when a police officer's uncle reported seeing an apparent escaped parrot perched on a tree.

The department said the supposed bird, which turned out to be a "decorative ceramic parrot," would be "lovingly cared for" at the police station until an owner came forward to claim it.

Police responding to report of loose alligator in condo building find gold statue

Constable Jason Douchette of British Columbia's Vancouver Police Department said officers rushed to the rescue of a "hysterical" resident who was hiding out in a stairwell of her condo building after spotting an alligator loose in a hallway.

Officers put the woman's concerns to rest when they discovered the culprit was a "realistic fake" -- a gold-colored sculpture.

Police find reported tiger on the loose was stuffed toy

A concerned member of the public summoned police in Oldham, England, to a neighborhood where they reported seeing a loose tiger resting in the grass.

Police quickly determined the cause of the report was a stuffed toy tiger, which they dubbed "Tony." The stuffed animal was "safely booked into property at Oldham Police station," police said.


'Cat' trapped in donation bin turns out to be battery-operated toy

Alan McElligott contacted police and firefighters when he dropped some clothes into a donation bin in London and heard the sound of a cat meowing inside the container.

Firefighters used heavy equipment to open the bin and discovered the meows had actually come from a battery-operated a FurReal Friends toy cat, which was triggered to make realistic cat sounds when it was touched by items dropped into the bin.

'Mysterious creature' spotted in zoo enclosure turns out to be toy crocodile

The Folly Farm Adventure Park & Zoo in Kilgetty, Wales, said a visitor alerted staff to a "mysterious creature" in the water inside the banded mongoose exhibit.

The zoo said keepers "breathed a sigh of relief" when they fished the "creature" out of the water and discovered it was a toy crocodile that had apparently been dropped by another zoo visitor.

Animal rescuer discovers 'king cobra' in garden was a plastic toy

The RSPCA said an inspector rushed to a home in Workington, England, when a resident reported spotting a highly venomous king cobra on a chair in a neighbor's garden.


Inspector Martyn Fletcher quickly discovered "this king cobra was the plastic kind." The toy snake was returned to its owner, a child from a neighboring home.

Animal rescuers in Iowa find reported loose gator was plush toy

The Animal Rescue League of Iowa said an animal services officer dispatched to a Des Moines apartment complex on a report of a loose alligator in the parking lot ended up wrangling a 4-foot-long plush toy.

"While their fear was real, the alligator, it turns out, was not," the ARL said of the complex residents.

Reported tarantula stranded on California roof was old Halloween prop

The Peninsula Humane Society sent an animal control officer to a San Mateo, Calif., neighborhood when a witness reported seeing a tarantula on the roof of a home.

The officer received permission from residents to attempt a rescue, but ended up discovering "it was actually a Halloween decoration, not a pet tarantula." The residents of the home said they had been unaware of the fake spider on their roof and did not know how long it had been there.

Reported 'cheetah' on the loose in Oregon was stuffed animal


The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Oregon said a deputy responded to a resident's report of a cheetah on the loose in a wooded area near the Oregon Zoo.

The zoo said all of its big cats were accounted for, so the deputy approached the feline and determined it was a large stuffed animal.

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