A man in Argentina thought he'd gotten a deal on a pair of toy poodles, but when he brought them to the vet for vaccinations he learned he'd actually adopted a couple of ferrets on steroids.

He bought the animals at La Salada, Argentina's largest outdoor market and paid $150 for each of them, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The veterinarian said the ferrets had been given steroids at birth to increase their size, and had undergone grooming to give their fur a fluffy poodle-like appearance.

A local Argentinian TV station broke the story and interviewed a woman who also claims to have been duped by a pet vendor at the market. She said she thought she'd bought a Chihuahua, but later learned it was also a ferret.

It's unclear what the swindled pet owners did with their newly acquired ferrets.

If you're considering picking up a pet pooch at an Argentinan market, perhaps you should first consult this handy checklist from the Daily Mail on how to tell the difference between a dog and a ferret:

  • Ferrets typically have brown, white or mixed fur and are around 51 cm in length - which includes a 13 cm tail.
  • They weigh around three pounds and have a lifespan of 7 to 10 years.
  • When happy, ferrets may perform a routine known as the weasel war dance - which is characterized by a series of hops and frenzied attempts to bump into things.
  • This is often accompanied by a soft clucking noise called dooking. When upset ferrets make a hissing noise.
  • Toy poodles are known for their intelligence and are around 25 cm tall and weigh around nine pounds.
  • If a toy poodle exceeds 25 cm height, it cannot compete in any dog show as a toy poodle.
  • Toy poodle have long lifespans and have been known to live as long as 20-years.
  • They are described as sweet, cheerful and perky and lively and love to be around people.