HELENA, Mont. (AP) — 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 canine teeth 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 gray wolf.
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.