OutdoorHubMutant Blue-Eyed Coyotes May Be Spreading Across California
Mutant blue-eyed coyotes have been spotted along California’s coast, leaving wildlife biologists utterly baffled.
Sometime in the early 19th century – believe it or not – coyotes were exclusively thought to be a “western animal.” Today, coyotes have been called the “ultimate American survivor,” dramatically expanding across North America and can now be found in most (if not all) U.S. states.
Coyotes are highly adaptable animals, even capable of thriving in complete urban areas. The omnivores will also eat just about anything, from leather materials to fresh fruit, though they tend to prefer wild prey – that is food they have to hunt..
Perhaps the strangest aspect about this canid species as a whole, however, is you won’t find many differences in the way they look from state to state. Some coyotes in warmer climates (think Florida) might not have the thick coat that others in colder climates (Michigan) sport, but for the most part, they’re indistinguishable in coloration and overall complexion.
Except last month, National Geographic reported Daniel Dietrich, a photographer in northern California’s Point Reyes National Seashore, captured a female coyote with one glaring variation: she was equipped with a set of blue peepers.
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A wounded warrior and perhaps the famous Blue-eyed Coyote of Point Reyes. . . . #coyote #pointreyes #pointreyessafaris
A post shared by Daniel Dietrich (@danieldietrichphoto) on Nov 28, 2018 at 11:49am PST
That’s right, she had all the typical features you typically see on a coyote; long, lanky legs, a silvery-brown coat, and over-sized, triangular ears. However, while nearly all coyotes have brown/golden-brown irises, hers were an “icy-blue.”
“I didn’t think anything of it until I noticed at my computer that her eye color was blue,” Dietrich told Atlas Obscura. “I’ve taken thousands of photographs of hundreds of coyotes and have ever seen that before.”
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A rare Blue-Eyed Coyote After discussions with a leading wolf/coyote scientist, this could be a rare genetic mutation, possibly milk bluing from blindness or an Australian Shepherd cross from several generations ago. It was really something to see. More discussions to come. #coyote #blueeyes
A post shared by Daniel Dietrich (@danieldietrichphoto) on Feb 1, 2018 at 7:57pm PST
Since the discovery, more coyotes with baby blues have been seen to the east near Sacramento, and as far south as Santa Cruz.
National Geographic investigated Dietrich’s find back in June of 2018, calling it a “one in a million” discovery. Biologists believe these blue-eyed coyotes are the result of an incredibly rare genetic mutation to the genes that dictate eye color. More so, experts now think the trait appeared several generations ago, and these “newly-documented” canines are “recent descendants of one original “one-in-a-million” mutant blue-eyed coyote.
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Article courtesy of Outdoor Hub