DNA Says Escaped Pennsylvania “Mystery Animal” was 100 % Coyote

The “mystery animal” that turned up in Pennsylvania was a coyote after all, DNA tests confirm. It has since escaped confinement and has yet to be relocated, according to news reports.

A news photo of the”mystery animal” shows why identification took some time

The emaciated and sickly creature was found shivering in the cold by a Pennsylvania woman who took the docile creature in. The animal was rescued and then transferred to Wildlife Works. Wildlife Works, a rescue facility that specializes in rehabilitating wildlife, had the animal in its care for about a week. It was fed, treated for mange and inflections and otherwise cared for. After about a week the animal apparently decided it was time to go.

field animal dog cute
Coyotes tend to be about half the size of wolves. They have narrower and more pointed snouts and usually are found alone. Photo by patrice schoefolt on Pexels.com

It escaped its cage, apparently chewed at a window seal until it could lift the window, then tore through a screen to escape. Wildlife Works said the behavior was completely unexpected because the animal had been docile up to then. The center has tried to entice the animal back, but with no success.

side view of deer walking in lake at forest
Deer remains are found in a very large percentage of coyote droppings. They are a primary food for wolves ,too. Conflict over food impels wolves to drive coyotes away and sometimes kill them. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

During its stay at the rescue facility the coyote was given a DNA test as well as medical treatment. The coyote left before the results came in, which indicated it was 100% coyote.

Coyotes have been expanding their range since the near destruction of wolf packs. Wolves do not hunt coyotes as food. They apparently see them as competitors and will attack them if they come to close to their food. The absence of wolves in much of the nation has helped to expand coyote numbers. In Yellowstone Park, for example, the return of wolves has had a big negative impact on coyote numbers.

Coyotes have returned to Pennsylvania and the coyotes found there are bigger than many other coyotes in the US. Males weigh in at up to 55 pounds and females around 40. A study of their scats (droppings) suggests that 57 percent of their diet consists of deer. Deer are abundant in Pennsylvania and if a coyote cannot kill one they can scavenge large numbers of road kill animals or animals dead from accident or other misadventure. Rabbits, woodchucks, mice, fruits and vegetables and even insects make up portions of the diets.

chihuahua lying on white textile
A Texas chihuahua (not pictured here) escaped with only puncture wounds when grabbed by a coyote in Texas, Photo by nishizuka on Pexels.com

Nationwide, the wily predators have been in increasing contact with humans and pose significant threats to domestic animals and smaller dogs and cats. A woman in Texas is lucky. A bold coyote pulled her pet chihuahua through a fence and ran off. The dog apparently fought enough to escape and was rescued and received veterinary care.

JFS -30-

Published by ursusrising

long time writer and editor living in Los Angeles

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