Cute animal photographs rival junk news and @BBAnimals Twitter account, which has over a million followers, takes advantage of. One of the account’s most popular images, posted in August 2016, purportedly showed an adorable palm-sized rabbit:
The pictured critter may be cute, but it’s not a real bunny.
Larger versions of this picture made two things clear: That this was a doll crafted with some sort of felt, and that the viral images were cropped to remove a watermark. The original image, which has since been deleted, featured the name of an account on the Chinese social media web site Weibo along with the URL of the image:
The Weibo user who created this doll (the watermark on several of the images reads “Mochimochi”) had posted pictures of several similar felt creatures to their account and sold the dolls via their Weibo shop:
This wasn’t the first time that a plush toy had been mistaken for a real animal. People have also unknowingly shared images of dolls along with the false claims that they showed a baby platypus, two baby owls, and a mystical marbled faurk.