Unusual wolf-like animal killed in Montana puzzles wildlife officials

The rancher called the authorities to report that he had killed a "wolf" - but authorities soon learned it was something stranger.

They are now relying on DNA tests to determine exactly what the species is.

It's been a week since a farmer in the U.S. state of Montana shot dead a large, "wolf-like" creature and wildlife experts are still baffled as to what it is.

The critter's canine teeth and front paws were too short to be a wolf. And although it looked similar to a wolf its ears were too long.

The odd discovery was made May 16 by a man who shot the canine because it tried to chow down on his livestock in the tiny town of Denton, officials said in a press release.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks regional spokesperson Bruce Auchly said the animal's front claws and canine teeth are too short and its ears are too tall in proportion to its skull for it to be a purebred wolf.


The North American Dogman Project - a group of researchers that tracks sightings of mysterious wolflike creatures - posted a photo of the animal on its Twitter page. "There's just something off about it", said Ty Smucker, a wolf management specialist at Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The feet look a little small, and the coat looks weird.

According to KXLO in Lewistown, game wardens came out to pick the animal up and sent pictures to a wolf specialist in Great Falls. "That's the last I ever heard of it".

But others think it is a coywolf (a coyote wolf hybrid), or perhaps a wolfdog bred in captivity and later released into the wild. People who breed wolfdogs for pets, often find they are too challenging to care for.

- It's a wolf-dog hybrid: Wolves and dogs are interfertile, according to the International Wolf Center, meaning they can interbreed and produce offspring that can then produce more offspring.

"Nevertheless, social media was quick to pronounce the animal as everything from a wolf to a wolf hybrid to something mythical", he said.

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