Coyotes with blue-eyed mutation show up in California

Photographers and California residents have spotted and photographed blue-eyed coyotes (Canis latrans) throughout the state, from Sacramento to Santa Cruz. The species usually has golden-brown irises. Biologists say the blue eyes are likely caused by mutation. A blue-eyed coyote was first spotted in Northern California’s Point Reyes National Seashore last spring by a photographer and guide. Since then, people have noticed blue eyes in at least four other coyotes in about a 100-mile radius of the first siting. Scientists hypothesize a gene mutation for eye color occurred in a coyote several generations ago, and these newly detected blue-eyed coyotes are decedents from the original.

Read more in National Geographic.

Header Image: Rare blue-eyed coyotes are turning up throughout California. © LisaWon