The world is full of hustlers, which means you've got to be pretty savvy. You don't want to get tricked into buying a fake Fendi, or investing in a time-share that doesn't exist, or wiring money to a fake Facebook account.
But sometimes a scam is so good, you gotta admire the boldness of the scammer. According to the Independent, a zoo in Egypt has been scamming the local populace and unsuspecting tourists with a very special animal.
They call them zebras, but some are suggesting that the animals are actually just donkeys painted to look like zebras.
This might be the most hilarious scam I've ever read about, and I just want to share this photo with you:
If that's not a donkey, I'm a monkey's uncle.
Look how pleased with itself it is, too! This animal knows it's been scamming zoo-quality grub and a fancy stable just by wearing a different suit of clothes. It's amazing.
The incriminating photos were taken by an Egyptian student named Mahmoud Sarhan at the Cairo International Garden park. Sarhan claimed there were two painted animals in the enclosure, and his assertion is being backed up by experts.
Wildlife biologist Alex Adams explained all the many, many reasons why this animal is definitely a donkey and not a zebra.
“The stripes (on a zebra) are always defined, never smudged, and zebras can be small but never that small,” said Adams.
“The ears are rounded, not oblong and pointy, and of course zebras have black skin, answering that age-old question of them being black with white stripes.”
Yep, that's a painted donkey.
The zoo's director, Mohamed Sultan, is not yet ready to give up the game. When contacted by a local radio station about the viral photos, Mohamed insisted the zebras were the real thing.
It's possible he thinks they are, which would mean he's not a scammer, just a terrible zoo keeper. Which is worse?
Meanwhile, people are making hay of this false zebra online:
This is actually not the first time zebra fakes have been found in zoos.
In China, a dog was passed off as a lion. While Tibetan Mastiffs are pretty big and hairy, you can't hide that bark. Once the dog started yelping in front of visitors, the jig was up.
The zookeepers there claimed the lion was being checked out by a vet and the dog had been placed in the cage due to "safety concerns," but other animals were mislabeled in the zoo, including another dog being passed off as a wolf.
Look, if there's a lesson to be learned here, it's that zoos are bad.
But donkeys are good. I hope that when Mohamed is finally ready to admit that here are no zebras in Cairo, at least not in public parks, the donkeys still get to keep their home. They've gone too deep into the role to retreat now.