Mystery Animal That Escaped Wildlife Rescue Center Finally Identified

A mystery animal that escaped from a wildlife facility after being found "cold and shivering" in Adams County, Pennsylvania, has finally been identified, having baffled experts for weeks.

The animal was found in January by Christina Eyth, a local resident of Adams County. Eyth took it into local animal shelter Wildlife Works—but experts there were unable to determine its species. They believed it was either a dog or coyote.

Experts at the shelter sent samples off for testing to find out what the animal was.

On February 14, Wildlife Works announced that the animal's DNA was 100 percent coyote. It follows weeks of speculation by the animal shelter and those following the case on Facebook.

Coyotes are a member of the dog family, however while dogs are usually domesticated, coyotes live in the wild. Coyotes prefer to roam open prairies, deserts, forests and mountains. They look similar to dogs, but tend to have a sleeker coat and a longer snout.

The DNA results could explain the coyote's dramatic escape from the shelter just a week after its rescue.

In a Facebook post, which has since been deleted, the shelter said they were "stunned and mortified" to learn of the animal's escape. Wildlife rehabilitator Morgan Barron arrived at the rescue building in the morning to find a "horrifying" sight. The coyote had destroyed its cage and trashed the room.

Coyote
The coyote trashed the rescue building despite being timid and non-aggressive Wildlife Works Inc./Facebook

Despite being small, the coyote had managed to force open the window, and subsequently tore a hole through the screen.

Since arriving at the shelter, it had done little more than crouch in the back of the cage and follow Barron around with his eyes. The shelter said he never acted aggressive or distressed, and there had been no previous evidence of escape attempts.

At the time of its escape, the shelter was still awaiting for the DNA results to come in, and were treating the animal for mange and secondary infections. The shelter guessed that it escaped when it began feeling better.

While its timid behavior had some believing it must be a dog, the escape sparked theories that only a wild animal would cause such damage.

Wildlife Works said it had "learned a lot from this experience" and will be better prepared in the future.

Local television network WPXI news reported that there have been no sightings of the coyote since its escape. The shelter has encouraged the public to leave it alone if they do see it.

When the coyote was first brought to the shelter, Eyth said that no matter the results, she had done the right thing by bringing him in.