Ever since bringing our puppy, Arthur, home, I've become a changed man. Never in my life would I have expected to excitedly give his bathroom details to my wife, or to get emotional when I hear that he made his first friend at daycare, yet here I am. I've also become increasingly aware of all the dangers that threaten his tiny existence. There are small things, like our two front stairs that he's still trying to figure out how to climb without faceplanting, but there are also some more serious obstacles to his wellbeing, and even his life.

Look at that face! It couldn't handle a wild animal encounter (Jonah)
Look at that face! It couldn't handle a wild animal encounter (Jonah)
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The natural beauty of the Hudson Valley is one of the main reasons we love to live here. Gorgeous rolling hills and mountains in the summer, beautiful leaves in the fall, and winter skiing that could make even the most die-hard Vermonter jealous. There's also a ton of wildlife. But for every adorable deer or groundhog, there are some very skilled predators on the prowl for their next meal. Growing up in Ulster County, I've been keenly aware of coyotes my entire life, and I got an A on my 6th-grade mountain lion report at Rondout Valley Middle School, but there are some other, more elusive carnivores that may not be able to eat our faces but could spell a quick doom for our smaller pets. Let's start with a fanged hunter that I had no idea roamed the Hudson Valley.

Facebook/Chris Byrne
Facebook/Chris Byrne
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In a recent post to the Hudson Valley Facebook group, Chris Byrne posted this still photo from his doorbell camera asking for help identifying his early-morning visitor. The same answer kept pouring in: group members suspected that Chris had spotted a Fisher. Though Fishers are omnivores that snack mostly on rabbits and porcupines when they target other animals, many people cautioned Chris to keep a close eye on his pets. "Careful if you have a cat or small dog as they can kill smaller pets and make a meal out of them... That aside, SUPER COOL TO SEE!!!" said one Facebook user. "A fisher tore my daughter's cat apart", warned another. Mysterious predators seemed to be this week's theme in the group as another member recently posted their own camera footage of a different hunter:

Facebook/Lauren Miradona
Facebook/Lauren Miradona
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This answer seemed to be a little more complicated as white foxes are an extremely rare sight in North America. The consensus, however, was that the homeowner had a visit from a leucistic Red Fox, meaning that is a red fox that has lost most of its pigmentation. Leucistic or not, their teeth are just as sharp, and although they are known to mostly prey on smaller animals like mice, my 6-pound puppy is hardly bigger and would put up a terrible fight against a hungry or sick fox.

Other animals to watch out for

Other than the above-mentioned cougars, coyotes, fishers, and foxes, most other animals, besides venomous snakes, won't provide a lethal threat, unless sicknesses are taken into consideration. A rabid raccoon, for instance, is more dangerous for the disease they carry than the threat of their teeth and claws. Porcupines can of course leave your furry friend with a face-full of quills, and even squirrels can put up a fight if cornered.

 

Wild Animals in Rehab

When we see an animal that has been hurt or is in distress it is in our nature to want to help but the reality is we need to leave it to the professional. Our job is to report it so that trained people can step in to assist the animal that needs help. Luckily there are many Animal Rehabilitators in the Hudson Valley who are good at what they do.

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