DNA Test Finally Reveals What Emaciated 'Mystery Animal' Is After It Was Rescued Last Month

No one could initially identify the animal species with certainty because of the creature's poor health and physical appearance

An animal rehabilitation center in western Pennsylvania has released the findings of a DNA test for a rescued critter brought in to the center last month.

"The results are in!" the agency wrote on its Facebook page on Monday. "Our 'mystery animal' DNA sample came back, 100% coyote!"

The Youngwood-based organization began treating the then-unidentified creature on Jan. 17, after a woman in Fairfield Township found paw prints outside her home that led her to an emaciated, freezing animal.

At first, the woman kept the animal in her basement until TJ's Rescue Hideaway, a local foster-based rescue, could transport it to Wildlife Works.

No one at Wildlife Works, a wildlife rehab, could identify the animal species with certainty because of the creature's poor health and physical appearance.

The staff then took samples from the animal for DNA testing to determine what species is under their care, the results of which were revealed this week.

unidentified animal
Wildlife Works-Mount Pleasant

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"What do you think I am, dog or coyote?" Wildlife Works wrote with a photo of the animal on Facebook in January. "This pup was admitted to us last night. Suspect it has mange and we will be treating it accordingly. We also will be doing testing to confirm what it is!"

Morgan Barron of Wildlife Works told WPXI at the time that the animal was "very timid, very scared and not aggressive" and that this behavior led her to believe the creature was a dog.

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"I honestly can't definitively say what it is, but to err on the side of caution, since they can carry rabies and since it might be a coyote ... [we will] get genetic testing done and go from there," Barron added.

In another update since finding the animal, the rehab center shared the animal's progress while awaiting test results. "We are overwhelmed and thankful for all the love and support this guy is getting! Thank you to everyone that has donated and shared his story," the facility wrote on Jan. 24.

"We did not expect his story to get as big as it did, but we are thankful for the awareness it has given to wildlife rehabilitation. With that being said, we are still waiting for the results of the DNA sample to come in," Wildlife Works added. "He is doing much better now and is much more alert than when he came to us last week. He is still not showing extreme signs of aggression but is more on the defensive side."

However, before the center got the DNA results back to identify the coyote, it escaped. It has not been located.

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