A rancher in Montana reported shooting a wild animal that has wildlife officials wondering what it was.
The unusual 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.
As required by law he reported the kill to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP).
The beast had oddly long gray fur, oversized claws and an extra-large head - but its ears are too big and its legs are too short to be a common wolf or dog, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials.
"We have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report back", Auchly told the paper.
A large wolf-like animal was shot and killed May 16 by a rancher near Denton, Montana.
After the dogman stepped over the poster's fence, "I heard it yip and bark while on the other side, which was prairie, with a butte and then forest". Wolves and dogs can interbreed and produce viable offspring, something that almost always happens in captivity-although it can happen in the wild, albeit rarely. The rancher reported that he killed a wolf but wolf specialists looked at photos of the animal and doubted it was a purebred wolf, ABCFoxMontana reported.
- 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. The whole animal was sent to our lab in Bozeman.
In a laboratory, scientists extract DNA from cells, looking for markers specific to individual species.
"Nevertheless, social media was quick to pronounce the animal as everything from a wolf to a wolf hybrid to something mythical", he said. ". It may be awhile before the anyone really knows what the animal near Denton really was".