Wildlife experts have been left baffled by a “wolf-like” creature that was shot dead by a farmer.
Bizarre theories have circulated online that it could be a werewolf, a young grizzly bear or even a relative of Bigfoot.
After inspecting the creature wolf experts have said they doubt it’s a wolf as its teeth are too short, front paws abnormally small and claws too large.
The animal came to the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks attention last week after a rancher shot it dead when it came within several hundred metres of his livestock in Denton, Montana.
FWP spokesman Bruce Auchly said it was a “young, non-lactating female and a canid, a member of the dog family that includes dogs , foxes, coyotes and wolves.
He added: “We have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report back.”
Theories over what the animal could be have ranged from a coywolf – a coyote wolf hybrid- or perhaps a wolfdog bred in captivity and later released into the wild.
Other suggested it could be a legendary Chupacabra but it is too far north for that.
One thing is for sure though – experts are not accepting as a wolf just yet – and DNA test results are not expected back for weeks.
Ty Smucker, wolf management specialist for Montana FWP, told the Great Falls Tribune : “Several things grabbed my attention when I saw the pictures,”
“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.”
The agency noted the “mythical” theories swirling online, including that it could be a direwolf.
“First off [dire wolf] was a song by the Grateful Dead from 1971,” Mr Auchly joked.
“I know, I listened to it many times.
“Number two, it’s a prehistoric animal, like mastodons and saber toothed tigers; so it doesn’t exist.”