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Cryptic Canids


Similar to the Ontario white wolf, and often considered to be the same animal, the Waheela is a large, wolf-like creature said to inhabit Alaska and the Northwest Territories. It is larger and more heavily built than normal wolves, with a wide head and proportionally larger feet, and with long, pure-white fur. The animal’s hind legs are said to be shorter than the front legs, and the tracks show widely spaced toes. Witnesses describe it as being about 3’ 12” at the shoulder. Waheela are never seen in packs, so are presumably solitary. Native legends describe the Waheela as an evil sprit with supernatural powers, and describe it as killing people and removing their heads. It has been theorized that the Waheela is an Amphicyonid (a prehistoric carnivore of the Miocene and Oligocene), a dire wolf (A large wolf of the Pleistocene), a prehistoric hyena, or a completely new species of canine.
Shunka Warak'in
The Shunka Warak’in , translating literally to ‘carrying off dogs’ from the language of the Ioway Amerindians, is a mysterious wolf like creature said to inhabit the great plains of North America. Though this cryptid is rarely sighted and difficult to identify, one specimen was supposedly shot in Montana late in the last century by a member of the Hutchins family (described in a book published in 1977).The creature, wolf like and black colored, and with high shoulders and a sloping back like a hyena, was first sighted chasing geese at the Hutchins’ farm. The strange doglike beast was fired upon, but missed. The animal was seen several days later at the same ranch, and was later seen as far as fifteen miles down the valley . Some time later, the Grandfather who had shot at the animal originally was alerted to it’s presence by his dogs, and was able to kill it successfully. The specimen’s skin was then mounted and later put on display at a general store/museum in Henry Lake Idaho. The mounts owner, a man named Sherwood, called it a “ringdocus”. The specimen’s current whereabouts are unknown, like so many other cryptid carcasses. All we have to vouch for the animal’s existence is an old photograph of the mount, the Hutchins family description, and legends.
Speculation on the identity of both the Ringdocus, the Shunka Wrak’in, whether or not they are the same thing, and if either represents a new species, has been wide and radical. Loren Coleman speculates that the beast may be a surviving Borophagus,, a subfamily of primitive wolf-sized canine scavengers, adapted like hyenas with powerful jaws, and dating back 5-2 million years. However it is more popularly hoped to be surviving population of the even older Creodont, particularly a Hyeanodon montanus, one of the more lightly-built of the Neohyaenodon species. It may also be a dire wolf, some sort of hyaena, a prehistoric long-nosed peccary (not joking), a deformed coyote, or even just a bad taxidermy job.

Andean Wolf
This particular canid has quite a bit of confusion surrounding its name. As listed in numerous cryptozoological sites, apparently Bernard Heuvelmans, the founder of cryptozoology, reported this animal as a cryptid in 1986 from the Andes Mountains in Argentina. Its description is, unfortunately, unknown. The real confusion, however, is in an animal called the Culpeo, Pseudalopex culpaeus which is also known as the Andean wolf, as well as the Patagonian red fox and Fuegian fox. This animal is fully described by science, ranges throughout the Andes, and was first detailed in 1782. Another reference mentions the ‘Andean wolf’ as being discovered in 1949, another described it in 1940. Another mention of an Andean wolf, possibly the same one just mentioned, names it as Dasycyon hagenbecki, but includes no other information about the animal. As for Heuvelmans, being an experienced naturalist, I cannot imagine why he would report a known animal as cryptid, even a rare one. I can only assume that he was told of an animal different in description to other native canids, and used a general name in describing it. If you have any other information regarding this cryptid, please contact me.
Japanese Wolves
Reports of small wolf-like canids came out of the Chichibu district of Japan in 1998. At least seventy people reported wolf howls in 1994, and there have been at least twenty-six claims of wolves seen from 1908 to 1978, all in the Aomori and Oita regions in northernmost Japan, not to mention prints, howls and scat. Several sightings have also been made on the Kii peninsula. In 1936a man in Hongu supposedly captured a wolf pup, but released it in case a parent attempted to retrieve it. The Honshu wolf (Canis lupus hodophylax) a dwarf subspecies of wolf just over a foot tall and deemed extinct since 1905 due to a rabies epidemic, fits the general description. Attempts to record wolves howling, by playing wolf howls to prompt them in 1995 were unsuccessful. Possibly these sightings are just misidentification of feral dogs. However, though Japan is heavily populated, its mountainous terrain would make it possible for a hidden population of wolves – in this case, small wolves- to survive without public acknowledgment.
A taxidermied specimen of the Japanese dwarf wolf

Other cryptic canids
An unspecific report of a wolf like canid came from somewhere in Africa’s Sahara desert in 1986. Possibly this report was just a mis-identification of a feral dog, African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus) or jackal, or due to confusion with the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). The Booa is a gigantic hyena like creature found in Senegal’s tribal lore. No description is available, but has been theorized as being a surviving population of prehistoric short-faced hyena, or a new variety of modern hyena. The Hungarian reedwolf was a coyote-sized (like a small wolf or large jackal) canid reported from Hungary and eastern Austria. Supposedly, their are specimens in museums, but it is thought to now be extinct. It is possible that this animal was just a dwarf variant of wolf, or a northern population of golden jackal (Canis aureus). In Borneo in 2005 a small, possibly new, species of fox was photographed by the World Wildlife Federation. The strangest of all cryptid canids, however, is probably the ‘horned jackal’. There has been a report of this animal from Sir Lanka, and South African tribal folklore also includes mention of such animal. Most likely this coincidence is due to some sort of genetic mutation, similar to the ones that cause spontaneous horn growth in other species. However, without a good description, a specimen, or more sightings, it is unlikely they will ever come to anything.

Phantom Felids
Unknown Ursids
Mystifying Mustelids
Mysterious Marsupials
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