BARNSTABLE (CBS) -- A local family got quite the surprise when the adorable "lost puppy" they thought they rescued turned out to be a baby coyote.
The Barnstable-based Cape Wildlife Center said that the family found the animal last week "wandering and distressed by the side of a busy road."
"He was then accidentally taken home by a local family after they mistakenly identified him as a lost puppy," the center posted to Facebook. "After realizing their mix up they called us for assistance."
The center along with the Department of Public Health determined that the coyote pup had not been exposed to rabies. He's recovering at the center and will soon be introduced to a foster sibling coyote from Rhode Island.
The coyote pups will be vaccinated and raised together in "as much of a natural upbringing as possible" within the center.
Officials says this was a lucky outcome, considering how susceptible coyotes are to the deadly rabies virus.
"This case had a happy ending, but it could have easily gone differently," the center said. "If the finders had been bitten, scratched, or had extended contact we would have been mandated to euthanize the pup and test for rabies."
The center says that people are encouraged to contact the appropriate authorities before they intervene to help wildlife.
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