Last week in northern Montana an animal was shot and killed outside the fence line of a ranch. Nothing unusual there.
Except, nobody knows what this animal is. Or, rather, was.
It looks something like a wolf. But it also looks like a hyena. Sort of like a malnourished grizzly cub too—but it has a long tail. Its body is the wrong shape for a wolf though, as are the legs, and the fur.
“We have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report back,” Bruce Auchly, a spokesperson for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, said in a report to local media.
A wolf specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks theorizes it might be a wolf/dog hybrid called, well, a wolfdog. Wolfdogs aren’t unknown in Montana. Typically bred in captivity by private owners, they are sometimes released or escape into the wild. Wolves and dogs can interbreed too, so, who knows what sorts of hybrid cousins are running around out there.
Social media accounts have far more interesting theories, with some postulating that the mysterious canid is a (long-extinct) direwolf, a real, albeit prehistoric animal, and not just a recurring Game of Thrones character. Some say it’s a dogman, a Sasquatch-level rumored animal that, according to some, roams the Montana ranges.
As of now, scientists know it was a female, but that’s about it. It will be weeks or months until the DNA tests are returned. Until then, the animal will remain a mystery.
Photos: Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks