After coming to the aid of what seemed like a puppy wandering the roadside, a family later found that they actually brought a little coyote into their home. On May 2, Cape Wildlife Center, situated in Barnstable, Massachusetts, uploaded an image of a fuzzy lovable animal to its Facebook page.
In the post, the center explained that the creature was an Eastern Coyote puppy, and he was recently separated from his family. In the wake of getting lost, the little pup wandered to the side of a ‘busy road’ until the family noticed him.
“He was then accidentally taken home by a local family after they mistakenly identified him as a lost puppy,” the post said.
The family found that the four-legged animal was not a domesticated animal and that’s when they reached out to Cape Wildlife Center. With help from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the wildlife hospital and education center then determined “there was no potential exposure risk to rabies, and were able to clear him for care and granted permission to rehab by Mass Wildlife.”
At the time the post was shared, the coyote pup was being kept in a separation ward as he stood by to meet a “foster sibling” from the Wildlife Clinic of Rhode Island. The New England-based Center said that the two creatures will be vaccinated and brought up together in the facility’s outdoor caging.
“This case had a happy ending, but it could have easily gone differently,” Cape Wildlife Center wrote. The center warned that coyotes are known to carry rabies, a viral disease that is deadly to humans and other animals, and can be spread by a simple bite, or if saliva from the rabid animal gets into an open wound, scratch, abrasions, and the like.
The post proceeded, “If the finders had been bitten, scratched, or had extended contact we would have been mandated to euthanize the pup and test for rabies.”
Cape Wildlife Center prompted reaching suitable rescue resources prior to stepping in to assist a wild creature in need.
In the comments, many social media users applauded the family who accidentally took in the coyote while others were concerned about the pup’s future.
The center responded, “Yes they will be released to the wild later this year when they are ready.”
Coyotes can grow up to be about as large as a medium size dog. They are about 32 to 37 inches long from rump to head, plus another 16 inches when their tail is taken into account. They can weigh anywhere between 20 to 50 pounds.
Coyotes live across North America and roam the forests, plains, mountains and deserts of Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central America. They have colonized all of the continent except for the polar regions, and will continue to move south so much that they are approaching the border between Central and South America in eastern Panama.
Coyotes usually avoid humans, but occasionally they will attack. In a few instances coyotes have learned to associate humans with food in urban environments making them bolder to approach people. Coyote puppies reach adulthood and sexual maturity within a year of being born, and live for around 5 to 6 years in the wild. They have been known to reach a max lifespan upwards of 12 years, and the oldest known coyote lived a whopping 18 to 19 years, according to IFAS.