A mystery is afoot in a sleepy Montana ranching community.
The farmers of Denton, Montana are accustomed to wolves occasionally terrorizing their grazing livestock. But one creature that was shot dead earlier this month has baffled both the state's wildlife authorities and ranching community alike. Namely, no one has definitively ID'd the slain creature, giving rise to speculation that the carcass could perhaps belong to an unknown species. Maybe.
The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks described the incident in a news release on Thursday, writing:
"The animal came within several hundred yards of the rancher’s livestock. He shot it and reported it as required by law. The animal was a young, non-lactating female and a canid, a member of the dog family, which includes dogs, foxes, coyotes and wolves."
The rancher reported the animal as a wolf, but experts struggled to identify the animal upon inspection. Authorities from the state's Fish, Wildlife and Parks department declared the animal wasn't a wolf; the "canine teeth were too short, the front paws too small and the claws on the front paw were too long," according to the release.
The news gave rise to all sorts of weird rumination on the internet, according to reports, with the agency tentatively declaring the animal a hybrid "wolf-dog" in a video on Friday. Perhaps.