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Bunny terrorism: Animal lovers — God bless ’em, but they’re quite the gullible bunch when it comes to Web pranks.

Remember Bonsai Kitten? Founded in 2000 by a group of MIT students, bonsaikitten.com featured widdle kitties crammed into oddly shaped jars in an attempt to shape the kitten as it grows, like a bonsai tree. Despite the obviously Photoshopped images, some people actually bought this, hook, line and sinker. The webmasters were flooded with horrified e-mails from animal lovers, and major animal activist groups engaged in huge letter-writing campaigns to get the site shut down (most of the organizations were wise enough to realize the site was a hoax, but were still offended by the humor). Bonsai Kitten is still around today, although its current incarnation features photos far less disturbing and bizarre than the original twisted, pretzeled kittens it once featured.

At www.savetoby.com, an anonymous fellow has posted photos of his adorably fluffy little bunny Toby — with a threat to kill and eat the little guy if he doesn’t receive $50,000 in donations by a certain date. The site includes recipe suggestions for Toby, and, of course, a Paypal button. What has people up in arms, however, is the Paypal total Toby’s owner has posted at the bottom of the site. At press time, it was more than $16,000. Of course, some folks actually believe this is a true figure, and not just the webmaster’s manipulation. There’s also a link to all manner of Save Toby merchandise — and this stuff is real.

As it turns out, Toby’s owner has simply ripped off a European who came up with the idea first: www.krohm.net/bernd.htm, the only difference being the bunny’s name (Bernd) and the currency.

Got an interesting, bizarre or informative site you’d like to see featured here? Send it to backslash@metrotimes.com

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