Tests confirm mystery animal shot in Montana was a wolf

June 18, 2018
Tests confirm mystery animal shot in Montana was a wolf
This undated file photo provided by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks shows a wolf-like animal that was shot on May 16, 2018, after it was spotted in a private pasture with livestock near Denton, Mont. The mystery is over: Montana wildlife officials confirm that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was actually a wolf. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials initially weren't certain what the creature was when a rancher shot it near Denton in May. They noted the legs, front claws and canine teeth were shorter and its ears bigger than normally seen on wolves. Officials said in a statement Monday, June 18, 2018, that an inspection of the animal at its wildlife health laboratory revealed it to be a relatively normal looking wolf. DNA tests confirmed that the animal was a gray wolf. (Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks via AP, File)

The mystery is over: Wildlife officials have confirmed that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was a gray wolf.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials initially weren't certain what the creature was when a rancher shot it in May. They noted the legs, front claws and were shorter and its ears were bigger than normally seen on wolves.

The agency said Monday that an inspection of the animal at its laboratory revealed it to be a relatively normal-looking wolf. DNA tests confirmed that it was a .

Officials say the wolf was a 2- or 3-year-old female with unique physical features.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service geneticist Mary Curtis says it's not unusual for there to be physical variations of animals within a species.

This undated file photo provided by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks shows a wolf-like animal that was shot on May 16, 2018, after it was spotted in a private pasture with livestock near Denton, Mont. The mystery is over: Montana wildlife officials confirm that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was actually a wolf. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials initially weren't certain what the creature was when a rancher shot it near Denton in May. They noted the legs, front claws and canine teeth were shorter and its ears bigger than normally seen on wolves. Officials said in a statement Monday, June 18, 2018, that an inspection of the animal at its wildlife health laboratory revealed it to be a relatively normal looking wolf. DNA tests confirmed that the animal was a gray wolf. (Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks via AP, File)

Explore further: Wolf-like animal shot in central Montana, DNA tests underway

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