For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, got a call about a baby fox that was wet, cold, and barely responsive in the rain in a rural area.
Tory Chang was driving around the area when she spotted this baby animal freezing, so she immediately brought it to the car. She believed that the baby was a fox, and called the For Fox Sake Wildlife Rescue.
However, when she sent them a picture of the “baby fox”, everyone at the rescue was instantly puzzled because this little baby didn’t quite look like a fox…
Nevertheless, they were still happy to take care of the baby, whatever it actually was.
Meet Yoti, The Mysterious Baby
“We asked the finder for a photo and were instantly a little puzzled because the “fox” looked more like a coyote pup in the face, paws, and tail in the blurry, dark picture we received but had markings more like a red fox,” the wildlife rescue wrote in their Facebook post.
They believed that the baby, later named Yoti, was most likely a Shepherd and Cur mix, or possibly a natural-born hybrid between a coyote and a domestic dog.
Even after closer examination, they simply couldn’t tell for sure without a proper DNA test.
Since they were not equipped to take care of a domestic dog, Yoti went to a foster home with their volunteer, Karen Keeton.
Yoti and her unusual looks got a lot of attention from everyone trying to guess what kind of animal she really was.
“We are 100% positive that she is not a fox, and we’re certain she has at least one domestic dog ancestor. We know this because her markings are brindle, which are tied to specific genes that do not naturally occur in full-blooded coyotes,” the wildlife rescue wrote in their post.
However, as Yoti got older, her temperament proved to be a bit too challenging for a domestic rescue and too wild for her foster mom, so she returned again to the wildlife rescue.
“Her temperament, paw pad shape, and vocalizations are all exactly like a cross between a coyote and a domestic dog, but we won’t be able to confirm exactly what she is until we’ve seen her DNA test results,” the rescue said.
DNA Results Revealing The Truth
Finally, after a lot of speculation and almost a month of waiting, the DNA result came in.
What do you think Yoti is – a fox, a domestic mutt, or a coyote hybrid?
“Yoti does have genetic markers that are unique to domestic dogs and were introduced within the last 4 generations. Coyote-domestic dog hybrids rarely occur or survive in the wild because their reproductive cycles don’t generally line up and because domestic dog dads are deadbeats who don’t help raise the young. But life, uh… finds a way,” said in the post.
According to DNA results and based on her brindle markings, it is highly likely that Yoti had a great-great-grandparent who was a domestic dog.
Yoti’s great-great-grandparent, possibly a Shepherd-type mutt, produced pups that were bred with a coyote, and over time, those pups merged with wild coyotes, resulting in Yoti’s distinctive appearance.
Despite Yoti having a distant relative who was a domestic dog, her parents were wild animals, so she will also be treated as such.
They decided that Yoti would be transferred to Walden’s Puddle, a wildlife rehabilitation & education center located in Joelton, Tennessee.
When she’s older and able to take care of herself, she will probably be released into the wild where she truly belongs.