Tibetan mastiff
Zoo says it will replace the signs saying a Tibetan mastiff is an African lion

The zoo in China that tried to fool paying customers into thinking a Tibetan mastiff dog was a lion has shut down for "rectification" work.

When the zoo in Luohe, in Henan province, was exposed for peddling bear-faced lies, it was shut down temporarily.

Visitors said that the lion at the zoo was actually a dog, which was made clear when it started barking. It also had two rats in the snake display area and foxes purporting to be leopards. A pet dog was also seen in the wolf enclosure.

According to the Beijing Times, zoo officials issued a public apology for tricking paying customers - the zoo charged adults 14 yuan (£1.50) for a ticket.

It said it would reopen with correct signs. Officials said that several misnamed animal signs had been corrected while the zoo closed "for rectification". It is not known if the owners plan to bring in new animals or if they hoped to entice customers with honestly-labelled dogs, foxes and rats.

The zoo said that this fox-like animal was a leopard.

A photograph of the Tibetan mastiff labelled "African lion" was ridiculed online. One user suggested that they could have at least used huskies for wolves.

One customer, who wanted to teach her little boy about wildlife, said: "The zoo is absolutely cheating us. To use a dog to impersonate a lion is an insult to tourists."

She was further embarrassed when she took her young son to see the wolves and he pointed out that they were dogs. The telltale clue was when the animals started barking instead of howling.