A shadowy species of furry, sharp-toothed wolf-like animals may be lurking in the Montana woods. Near a ranch outside Denton, a strange lupine creature was killed on May 16 and wildlife authorities have no clue what it is.
According to a Great Falls Tribune report, the strange animal does have some features of an ordinary wolf, such as a large head, extended snout, and long gray fur. However, other body parts, like the unusually large ears and short legs, seem to belong to something else.
“We have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report back,” said Bruce Auchly, information manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
After posting images of the lupine creature on social media, speculation about what the wolf-like animal could be ranged from being a starving grizzly cub to the prehistoric and now-extinct “dire wolf.” Some believe it is a mysterious “crypto-canid species” named “Dogman” that conspiracy theorists believe is wandering the forests around North America.
“That could very well be what’s being called Dogman,” one commenter proposed. “They’re spotted each day, and the government quells any and all reports.”
Just like the infamous Bigfoot, wildlife specialists do not believe the Dogman theory, at least for now. The animal is still unidentified and continues to puzzle experts who view the photos.
“Several things grabbed my attention when I saw the pictures,” said Ty Smucker, wolf management specialist for Montana FWP. “The ears are too big. The legs look a little short. The feet look a little small, and the coat looks weird. There’s just something off about it.”
Smucker speculates the animal is a combination of a wolf and a dog. The wolf expert said he had encountered these hybrids before and they often wreak havoc on livestock.
In the animal world, wolves and dogs can interbreed and produce offspring. However, most of the time, this mating only occurs in captivity and wolf-dog hybrids are very rare in the wild. Wolves do not like to share territory and are likely to kill any unfamiliar animal like a dog roaming the forest.
The intentional breeding of wolves and dogs in captivity is highly regulated and remains a controversial topic. Their behavior is somewhat unpredictable as some can be overly-aggressive while others may be very submissive and sociable.
When wolf-dog breeders find one of the pups to be hostile, it is often released into the wild. Unfortunately, many are later captured and euthanized.
“If you have a wolf-dog hybrid, it’s supposed to have a tattoo on a lip, and it’s supposed to be registered with the state,” said Smucker, as cited by WTSP 10 News. “A lot of those people don’t bother following regulations.”
So far, experts are not sure if the wolf-like animal was a wandering wolf-dog or even the odd Dogman. The mystery of the lupine creature should be solved in the coming weeks as a Montana FWD lab is carefully examining the remains.