The ‘rescued’ puppy, estimated to be about 10 days old, was determined by San Diego Humane Society officers to be a coyote. (Photo Credit: San Diego Humane Society / Facebook)

An abandoned puppy gave its would-be rescuers a surprise when it turned out it wasn’t a puppy at all — it was a coyote.

Humane Society officers received a call last week from a resident walking his dog in a canyon in the San Diego neighborhood of Tierrasanta. The man reported he had found an abandoned puppy, rescued it, and took it back to his home, where he called the San Diego Humane Society, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

However, upon examination, the officers discovered the newborn animal, estimated to be about 10 days old, was a coyote pup.

The Humane Society transferred the coyote pup to Project Wildlife for care before transfer to a Ramona animal sanctuary, The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center, which rehabilitates and releases native wildlife.

“It’s really difficult to tell the difference between a dog and a coyote pup, especially at just a few days old,” Lauren DuBois, Project Wildlife rehabilitation director, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

According to DuBois, coyotes frequently move their dens, and the mother of the newborn may have been in the process of transferring her pups to a new location when the dog walker encountered this one and “rescued” it.

The animal sanctuary plans to release the coyote in the same general area when it is old enough.

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