A mysterious wolf-like creature was shot dead by a rancher in rural Montana — and even wildlife officials have no clue what the thing is, authorities said Friday.
The beast had oddly long gray fur, oversized claws and an extra-large head — but its ears are too big and its legs are too short to be a common wolf or dog, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials.
“We will have no idea what this is until we get a DNA report back,” Bruce Auchly of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks told The Great Falls Tribune.
The strange discovery was made May 16 by a man who shot the canine because it tried to chow down on his livestock in the tiny town of Denton, officials said in a press release.
The rancher called the authorities to report that he had killed a “wolf” — but authorities soon learned it was something stranger.
The critter’s canine teeth and front paws were too short to be a wolf. And its big, floppy ears and shaggy fur were nothing like a common canine, officials said.
True believers took to Twitter to howl over what the Franken-dog could be.
Theories include a “dire wolf” — an extinct sabre-toothed canine that once roamed North America — and even a real-life werewolf.
“We hope they used a silver bullet. We’d hate to be there when it woke up!” wrote @AllThingsHaunt, referencing the only weapon used to kill werewolves in folklore.
“Pretty sure they shot a werewolf or Big Foot’s baby in Montana,” added photographer @ndakkyle.
Others guessed the beast is a “shunka warakin,” a wolf-hyena hybrid from from Native American lore that once terrified livestock in the region.
The researchers, some of whom are law enforcement and former military, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.