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Coywolf -- Coyote-Wolf Hybrid -- Spotted Roaming In Rockland County

CONGERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- There was a warning Monday night about an unusually large animal roaming through Rockland County.

As CBS2's Brian Conybeare reported, it is a hybrid of two dangerous creatures – and it's called a coywolf.

The animal is an eerie sight through the fog at the Georgetown Manor condos on Route 303 in Congers – part coyote and part wolf.

"It looks larger than your average coyote," said Nyack resident Sean McCormack. "Very scary, yeah, very scary'"

McCormack, who works as a plumber, took cellphone video of what is believed to be the same animal last week on North Midland Avenue in Upper Nyack, where h said it crouched down and may have been hunting a woman taking her trash cans out to the street.

"It seemed to be stalking her and kind of followed her back up onto her driveway," McCormack said.

"It's a coywolf -- basically it's a mixture of a coyote and a wolf," said Clarkstown police Officer Peter Walker.

Clarkstown police took a photo of the animal Monday morning and are warning people to stay away from the creature, which is technically known as the eastern coyote.

"These are coywolves," said Marko Kos of Chaos Wildlife Solutions.

Kos and his company have trapped several of the genetic hybrids. He said all eastern coyotes have some wolf DNA due to crossbreeding in the wild over the past 20 years.

The coywolf is larger than most regular western coyotes – up to 75 pounds. They have different coloring, with more gray in their coats, and at times can be a threat to both pets and humans.

"The wolf -- they have their wildlife tendencies to attack or they're more curious, so anything that they see. they're going to follow; they're going to investigate," Kos said.

Clarkstown police said if the coywolf is spotted again and acting aggressively, they will take whatever action necessary to protect people.

That could mean calling in a licensed trapper, or it could mean shooting the animal on the spot.

"God forbid if it was about to attack a human, then we will do what we have to do to stop that threat," Walker said.

Otherwise, it will likely trot back into the woods.

Experts said if you encounter a coywolf, you should make a lot of noise, scream and wave your arms to make yourself seem bigger.

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