A WOMAN adopted what she thought was a “pathetic looking” puppy before she realized that it was a wild animal.
The Shanghai resident found a small puppy lying in the leaves in her backyard while the city was in lockdown.
She said: “It huddled on a pile of fallen leaves and it looked really pathetic.
“Obviously, it was just born.”
The photographs of the baby animal from the time it was found show how young it was as it still had some vernix caseosa (birthing custard) on its coat.
“I thought it was a puppy,” she said
The owner of the wild animal thought it was a “blessing” as the pandemic began to surge once more.
She shared footage of the puppy being unstable on its feet as it explored its new home.
She also showed how she bottle-fed it with milk.
“As the pandemic resurgence was underway, I thought it was a blessing for us.
“So I named it Jixiang, which means good luck.”
Over the next couple of months, she realized that Jixiang was in fact not a puppy.
“Jixiang slept on my mother’s palm every day. My mother would put it down after it fell asleep.”
The owner then contacted a friend who is an animal expert to find out more about the creature.
She sent him footage and photographs of the pet and “he later identified Jixiang as a raccoon dog.”
Jixiang’s rescuer said that “on June 9, staff from the Shanghai Zoo came to pick it up.
“Jixiang is now living a comfortable life at the zoo.”
Since arriving at the zoo, the cub started eating much more and began to morph into a raccoon dog as it grew.
The zoo said that once Jixiang is big enough it is likely that they may release it back into the wild, though this has not yet been decided.
The animal is native to East Asia and is a small, fox-like creature with markings similar to those on a raccoon.
As omnivores, they tend to eat insects, rodents, birds, fish, and eggs as well as fruits, nuts, and berries.
Raccoon dogs are the only candids that are known to hibernate during the colder months.
The U.S. Sun previously reported on a volunteer at a cat shelter who accidentally rescued a wild animal.