Learn about an intimidating new hybrid species roaming the streets of New York City.

coywolf, coywolf facts, coywolf size, meet the coywolf

Photo Credit: PBS

What is a coywolf? It’s what happens when a coyote and wolf mate, and this topic will be explored on Wednesday, January 22nd on PBS.

The show, ‘Meet the Coywolf’ will explain why you haven’t seen (or heard) much about this hybrid species.  Despite what you might assume, the Coywolf is

The film explains how this fairly recent mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf came about, how it has been making its way south into our eastern cities (Toronto, Montreal, New York City etc.) and how coyotes have been settling into places like Chicago.

THIRTEEN’s Nature Introduces A New Addition To The Neighborhood When Meet the Coywolf Airs Wednesday, January 22, 2014 on PBS

coywolf, coywolf facts, coywolf size, meet the coywolf

Photo Credit: PBS

Living in our midst and thriving, these intelligent wild animals have figured out how to move through our communities often undetected

What is a Coywolf?

There is a new hybrid species that has been spreading across North America at a startling pace and slipping unnoticed into cities such as Toronto, Montreal, Boston and even New York. It is called a coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, whose first known birth occurred less than a century ago. Because these animals originated in the east, they are also known as eastern coyotes.

Colfwolf Facts

Scientists say it is one of the most adaptable mammals on the planet, but what surprises them most is how this wild carnivore manages to live right alongside us while remaining just out of view. Many of us now share our yards, parks and streets with these elusive new predators even though we may hardly ever get a glimpse of one.

So how are the coywolves making their way from the Northern Ontario wilderness to our cities? John Pisapio says his GPS tracking data shows they use railway tracks. “When those tracks intersect a park or a ravine or a gold course,” Pisapio says, “that then provides a new opportunity for territory and residing in the urban landscape as opposed to just moving through. Most wildlife doesn’t do well in the presence of people, in the presence of development, but here we have one that is not only persisting, but thriving.” Raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, rats, mice, waterfowl and even handouts from humans provide ample food for these intelligent predators.

What is the Coywolf Size?

To get an idea of a coywolf’s size, Roland Kays, Curator of Mammals at the New York State Museum in Albany, explains “it’s much larger than the western coyote, but still quite a bit smaller than the wolf …. One of my students likes to say it’s a coyote-like skull with wolf-like teeth.” Biologist John Pisapio at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources adds “They have long legs, they have thick fur, they look very wolf-like.”

The Coywolf in New York City

ildlife biologists Mark Weckel and Chris Nagy are trying to determine whether the coywolf is just passing through or settling down in the big city. They set up camera traps in various wooded park areas to capture images of these adaptive animals. There have been sightings in Queens and the Bronx and one captured in Central Park in 1999 resides at the Queens Zoo, but Weckel and Nagy say only time will tell where else in the city the coywolf will call home. – Via Press Release

“Meet the Coywolf” premieres Wed., Jan. 22 from 8-9pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

Visit: PBS.org/nature