Well, certainly not "regular", but Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks said in a Monday morning news release that a DNA test done on the animal confirmed it was a grey wolf from the northern Rocky Mountains.
DNA testing is back on the wolf-like creature that was the subject of headlines around the country. The DNA results end weeks of social media speculation that the wolf might be some kind of canine hybrid, bear creature or, in one commenter's opinion, "El Chupacabra".
Montana FWP officials initially weren't certain what the creature was when a rancher fatally shot it on his property. The report says the examiner ruled out that the animal was a cross between a gray wolf and a coyote or a gray wolf and a dog.
Confusion about the animal was likely due to the condition of the animal and the photos, which seemed to show short legs and big ears, according to FWP. Inspection of the animal at the FWP wildlife health lab in Bozeman revealed a relatively normal looking, dark-brown wolf.
Physical variations aren't unusual for animals, said Mary Curtis, geneticist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Experts may have been confused about the animal's species because of the angle at which it was photographed - which exaggerated the size of some of its features, wildlife officials said. It's estimated that the wolf was between 2 and 3 years old. She was 45 inches from the tip of her nose to her rump, wildlife officials said.
Gray wolves are common in Montana with a 2017 population survey estimating there are about 900 wolves in the state. This marks the 13th consecutive year that Montana has far exceeded wolf recovery goals. Ranchers are allowed to shoot wolves that they believe are a threat to livestock.