Are there Wolves in CT? [2022 Update]
You may have heard reports of recent wolf sightings in Connecticut. Or, maybe you saw something that looked like a wolf yourself.
In either case, I’ve sure you’re looking for some more information. This article will cover everything you need to know about wolves in CT.
We’ll also touch on the difference between a wolf, a coywolf, and a coyote, plus what to do if you encounter one. So let’s dive in.
Are there Wolves in CT?
There are currently no known wolves in Connecticut. The last confirmed wolf was seen in the 1700s, however, there are thousands of coywolves in the state (more on this in a minute).
To this day, people still occasionally report wolf sightings in CT, but this is most likely just misidentification. Wolves, coyotes, coywolves, and foxes all have similar features and are easy to mix up.
If you’re trying to identify a wolf, there are some clear things you need to look out for. Here are some of the differences between a wolf and a coyote.
- Wolves are much larger than coyotes. Wolves are usually about 30 inches tall, which is nearly a foot taller the coyotes. This difference in height is very noticeable.
- To go along with height, wolves are thicker as well. Wolves can weigh up to 150 pounds while coyotes max out at around 40 pounds.
- A wolf’s fur is typically a bit darker than a coyote’s.
- Wolves have much wider snouts than coyotes.
- A wolf’s howl is much deeper than a coyote’s. A coyote tends to bark more.
Wolves also hunt and live in packs of 5 to 10, while coyotes are typically found alone (or in a loose pairs). So, if you see a wolf-like animal in CT traveling alone, it’s probably a coyote.
Are there Coywolves in CT?
Although wolves are no longer found in Connecticut, coywolves are very common. In fact, the estimated population of coywolves in CT is between 3,000 and 5,000. But, what exactly is a coywolf?
Most wild canines are a mix between coyotes, gray wolves, eastern wolves, and dogs. A coywolf is an animal that is predominately a mix between a wolf and a coyote, hence the name coywolf. Coywolves have also been referred to as eastern coyotes, but that name is misleading since they are a genetic mix between wolves and coyotes.
Coywolves are about the same size as coyotes, however, their behavior (at least in the Connecticut region) is more similar to wolves. They have a much larger home range than the typical coyote and live in packs of 3 to 5 members (coyotes don’t live in packs).
Coywolves aren’t usually dangerous to humans, however, they can bite dogs and small children. To scare them away, you should try to be as big and loud as possible. Throwing rocks can also scare them away. Just don’t turn your back or run.
Recent Wolf Sightings in Connecticut (Likely a Coyote)
As I mentioned earlier, any recent wolf sighting in CT is most likely a case of misidentification. However, it’s not impossible for a wolf to live in Connecticut.
In 2008, a gray wolf was killed in western Massachusetts only a few miles from the Connecticut border. It was the first time a gray wolf was confirmed to be spotted in New England in over 200 years.
It isn’t completely clear where the wolf originally came from, but it’s believed that it traveled south from Canada. Wolves often travel hundreds of miles to find food and establish territory, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this can happen again.
But with that being said, Connecticut isn’t an ideal habitat for wolves. They require 50 to 100 square miles of wild terrain to be able to survive in any large numbers. That simply isn’t possible in Connecticut considering we’re the 5th most densely populated state. There are just too many roads for wolves to thrive.
When did the Wolves leave Connecticut?
Wolves were once common in New England, but Connecticut’s wolf population plummeted in the mid-1700s. This was due to both hunting and the clearing of woods as the land was developed.
There’s an old Connecticut story about a revolutionary war hero named Isreal Putman, who killed the last wolf in the state. It’s said that the wolf routinely entered the yard of farmers and ate their livestock. Israel then tracked the wolf back to its den with his dog, and killed it.
Although a great story, it’s highly unlikely that was the last Connecticut wolf. The animals were probably dwindling in numbers around that time and went extinct shortly after.
CT Wolves – They are no longer Found in Connecticut
Connecticut wolves have been wiped out for quite some time. However, coywolves have since taken their place in the ecosystem. If you see something that looks like a wolf, it’s probably a coyote, coywolf, or a fox. CT wolves can make a comeback, but it’s very unlikely.