What is it? Coyote or other?

I have been hearing rumors about a white coyote for the last couple of months out near where I work. My work place sits on a sagebrush bench about 2 miles above the river. There is a gas station food mart nearer the river and rumor has it the white coyote hangs out there along with normal colored coyotes, being fed by truck drivers and other patrons. It is a very bad idea to feed wildlife by the way. We have sadly had to deal with aggressive coyotes this summer, who have attacked co-workers in our parking lot in search of a hand out. This problem is a direct result of being fed by people. They have lost their fear of people and look to humans as a food source. Fortunately no persons have been hurt but we have had to contact Wildlife officials to deal with the coyote issue.

On to the puzzle. I had not seen the legendary white coyote until this morning. I set up my blind at a pond near the river to attempt to take heron and egret photos. No birds obliged me this morning but this normal colored coyote popped out of the brush and I got a few shots of him. As I was walking back to the car I heard something crashing through the brush and got a glimpse of something white. My curiosity aroused I ventured in and scared Whitey out into the open. He or she was with a plain coyote.

I submit the following photos with the question; do you think this is a white coyote? Nature does produce such anomalies. Or is it a dog-coyote mix? I looked closely at the photos and I think it is a coyote. If it has dog in it can only be a trace. The body, ears, muzzle and eyes all look classically coyote to me. I am not a wildlife biologist though, hence the seeking of opinions. Thanks in advance for weighing in!

**note – fencing seen in one of the photos is to protect the trees from beavers. The animal is not in an enclosure.

36 thoughts on “What is it? Coyote or other?

  1. It looks like a coydog. We had a coydog stray pup here for awhile. He clearly is quite wild and coyote dominant. Gorgeous. His coat is longer than what I am used to, but we live in the southwest. Great capture!

  2. From what I know of coyotes (and that’s not much) it looks like one to me.

    I think it an albino – congenital lack of melanin/pigment. It happens in all species, including humans. A friend of mine is affected.

    The most famous albino in literature is the white whale, Moby Dick. And you know the damage he caused. 🙂

  3. Looks like a coyote to me but I’m no expert. I know that they do breed with dogs and wolves…so could be a combination of some sort.

  4. Great photo and story Alison. This anomaly appears to be a coyote based on the tail and overall morphology. However, the complicated genetics of our eastern coyote – maybe 80% western coyote, 15+% wolf and a bit of domestic dog –

    1. Thank you Nick. Morphology was a new word for me. Bonus! 🙂 The coyote is a fascinating animal. I know they are problematic at times especially in the east where they are not indigenous but I admire them.

  5. Wow, she’s gorgeous (I don’t know why I say she but there you have it!) I’ve seen many coyotes in my time but it’s funny how the coloration changes your expectations. There’s something about the shape of her (all right, possibly his head 😉 ) that says “dog” to me but, I agree with previous commenters, you need an expert analysis to be sure. Either way, great pix!

  6. Doubtful it’s an albino–eyes are dark. Sometimes there’s just a mutation without explanation then everybody tries to figure out what it is! White buffalo, for instance.

  7. Albinos produce no melanin, which would mean pink eyes and nose. This one is not an albino. Leucistic, perhaps, but this animal has domestic dog features, suggesting a coydog. I’ve never seen one this light, but white coydogs have been reported.
    Great photographs and rare sight!

      1. Wouldn’t it be ironic if one of the parents was a guardian sheep dog. ;).
        (Great Pyrenees and the Maremma are both white guardian sheep dogs)

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