A kind family got more than they bargained for when the stray ‘puppy’ they rescued from the streets turned out to actually be a baby coyote – but thankfully, Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts knew just what to do
Image: Cape Wildlife Center/Facebook)
A family thought they were doing a good deed by rescuing a “distressed” puppy that had been abandoned on the side of the road – but it wasn’t actually a dog at all.
The lost pup took everyone by surprise and turned out to be a baby coyote.
After realising their mix-up, the unnamed family called their local wildlife centre for help, and passed the adorable animal into their safe hands.
Cape Wildlife Center, in Massachusetts, confirmed it was an Eastern coyote that had been separated from his pack.
In a post on Facebook, officials explained: “He was then accidentally taken home by a local family after they mistakenly identified him as a lost puppy.”
Cape Wildlife Center/Facebook)
Cape Wildlife Center)
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Dozens of followers on Facebook agreed it was an easy misunderstanding, with one saying: “I can see how it can be mistaken for a puppy. He’s really cute.”
Many others shared their mixed experiences with finding wild coyotes.
One lady rescued an entire litter of coyote puppies, but warned they grew up to be aggressive.
Another disagreed and said their coyote was “never vicious or even nippy” and happily lived with their family for 16 years.
Staff at the wildlife centre were able to determine that the coyote had not been exposed to rabies and was cleared for care by the Mass Department of Public Health.
The animal is now “recovering comfortably” in an isolation ward alone, but will soon be introduced to a foster sibling.
“Once both pups receive their vaccinations they will be raised together and will be given a chance grow and learn natural behaviors in our large outdoor caging,” officials said.
“We work hard to give them as much of a natural upbringing as possible, and will work to replicate the essential behaviors and skills they learn from mom and dad.”
The centre explained that this case had a “happy ending” but it could have “easily gone differently”.
Coyotes are considered rabies vector species in Massachusetts, meaning if the finders had been “bitten, scratched or had extended contact”, they would have been forced to euthanise the pup.
“We are grateful to every single person who takes time out of their day to help wildlife when they are need, but we always encourage people to call the appropriate resources prior to intervening, it can help keep all involved safe!” the centre added.
The Cape Wildlife Center has promised to share updates of the coyotes’ progress on its Facebook page.
This isn’t the first coyote to be mistaken for a puppy – Andrea Athie took an injured dog to the vets before discovering it was actually a wild coyote.
She said: “He was never aggressive. He let himself be caressed but we all know that it is a wild animal and he couldn’t live with us.”
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