News, Culture & Society

Suburban NY police tell residents to avoid hybrid coyote

Residents in a New York suburb have been warned to stay away from a coyote-wolf hybrid wandering their neighborhoods.

The creature is known as a ‘coywolf’ and is a ‘mixture of a coyote and a wolf’, Clarkstown Police Officer Peter Walker told CBS. 

The Clarkstown Police Department posted a photo of the coywolf on its official Facebook page on Monday, informing Rockland County residents it was spotted early that morning in Congers. 


The creature is known as a 'coywolf'

Resident Sean McCormack filmed this coywolf (above) roaming North Midland Avenue, where he says it appeared ‘very scary’ as it followed a woman into her driveway

Nyack resident Sean McCormack claimed he saw the same species in his town a week prior.

He told CBS he has cell phone footage of the creature on North Midland Avenue that appeared to be ‘stalking’ a woman and ‘kind of followed her back up onto her driveway’. 

 It appeared ‘larger than your average coyote’ and ‘very scary’, he told CBS.

Experts say coywolves can pose a threat to living things they see around them. 

‘They do pose a threat to people and in particular, domestic animals,’ David Dilworth, president of Chaos Wildlife Solutions, told

David added the creatures are ‘predators’ with an instinct to follow living things in their radar. Though he added small animals are more at risk than humans.

 ‘A lot of them feed on moose and deer and small game,’ said Dilworth. ‘It would be uncommon for them to attack humans, but each animal has an individual personality. Without a doubt there is always that chance of a human attack. They’re always dangerous.’

 Dilworth said there’s been a few recent coywolf attacks in Westchester County, but usually that means the animals are sick. 

Due to the recent sightings, Clarkstown Police are warning residents of what to keep an eye out for. Police posted this photo

Due to the recent sightings, Clarkstown Police are warning residents of what to keep an eye out for. Police posted this photo

Due to the recent sightings, Clarkstown Police are warning residents of what to keep an eye out for. 

The coywolf ranges in color from ‘blonde to black and brown’ – but is ‘usually tawny brown’, according to their Facebook statement.  

 “There’s just so much food in the area. we have tons of deer squirrels rabbits and nice so its not like there’s a lack of food. 

Police also listed off a set of guidelines for Rockland County residents. 

They have been told to chase the coywolves away and make noise, such as banging pots and pans, to get them off of their properties.

Police have informed residents not to feed any animals in their yards, including their own. 

Residents are also being told to keep their dogs on leashes and cats indoors.

Officer Walker said if these creatures do begin to attack humans in the area that authorities ‘will do what we have to do to stop that threat’.


Coyotes have lived in the East since the 1930s, and recent genetic tests have shown they are actually a mixture of coyote, wolf and dog – also called coywolves. 

The hybrid carnivore has expanded its territory and thrived over the past eight decades, and increasingly wolflike traits are making it a larger, more adaptable animal equipped for survival on the East Coast, scientists say.

In becoming more wolflike, the coyotes might become more effective predators, scientists said. 

And the genetic changes bode well for their ability to keep thriving in highly populated areas, including New York City and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as well as the deer-rich woods of Maine and upstate New York.

Hybridization with wolves gave Eastern coyotes their size and weight, with Eastern coyotes averaging about 35 pounds and the Western subspecies averaging about 25 pounds. 

Current numbers of Eastern coyotes are hard to come by, state wildlife officials said. 

But Roland Kays, a leading coyote biologist with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, has estimated there are likely more than a million.

Gerry Lavigne, a retired state wildlife biologist in Maine, says Eastern coyotes are not genetically distinct enough to constitute their own species, although they have wolf genes and are very adaptable.