|"'Feejee Mermaid' has become the generic term for the many fake mermaids that can be found around the world..."
This article contains information relating to a hoax. According to Cambridge dictionary a hoax is "a plan to deceive a large group of people; a trick."
The Tasmanian Mock Walrus (TMW) is a whiskered, four-inch long creature that Purrs like a cat, has the temperament of a hamster, and resembles a walrus. (It has also been noted that it resembles a naked mole rat.)
It never needs to be walked or bathed, can be trained to use a litter box, and eats cockroaches. A single TMW can rid a house of roaches. However, it will also eat cheese and Vegemite. For this reason it is highly sought after as a pet.
The TMW is indigenous to the lake region of Tasmania. But during the early 1980s a number of these creatures were smuggled into Florida where they quickly became a popular form of pest-control. A secret breeding program multiplied their numbers. However, it was and remains illegal to import the TMW, a ban that pest-control companies have vigorously lobbied for, fearing that the TMW might undermine the cockroach-extermination business. Government officials have also expressed concern about the possible impact upon the delicate Florida ecosystem should TMWs be imported in massive quantities. The TMW controversy was reported in the Orlando Sentinel on April 1, 1984. A photograph that accompanied a story that ran in the Orlando Sentinel on April 1, 1984. The story described a creature known as the Tasmanian Mock Walrus (TMW)
that had recently been introduced to Florida from Tasmania. It was described as a "whiskered, four-inch-long creature, which purrs like a cat and gets around efficiently on four tiny paws." More remarkably, the creature had the mild temperament of a hamster, could be trained to use a litter box, and ate cockroaches. One TMW could eliminate a house of its roach infestation.
A Florida couple was said to be seeking to breed the TMW in America, but unfortunately they were being threatened by the local pest-control industry who, sensing a potent threat in the TMW, had pressured the city government to ban the creature.
Later in 2001, the creature was identified as a hoax.