Meet the “Snot Otter”, New York Wildlife’s Best-Kept Secret
We have our share of strange animals here New York, but eastern hellbender, AKA the "snot otter", has to take the cake as New York's best-kept amphibious secret.
The Eastern Hellbender in New York State
This intriguing and elusive animal is native in states like the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, but can also be found as far north as Pennsylvania (where it's the state's official amphibian), and southern New York state, where there listed as a species of "special concern". The most staggering statistics about this creature, also nicknamed "Mud Dog" and "Allegheny Alligator", though, is how long they can live, and exactly how large they can get.
North America's Largest Salamander
Eastern hellbenders are nocturnal and often live under large, flat river rocks, making them a great reminder of how many amazing creatures are secretly living alongside us. This slimy behemoth can grow to over two feet long, making it the largest salamander in North America, and some biologists also estimate that they can live upwards of 30 years. So what are the odds of running into one in the Hudson Valley?
The Eastern Hellbender in the Hudson Valley, NY
New York is the northernmost range of the eastern hellbender's habitat, and the Department of Environmental Conservation describes the regions they inhabit as "southwestern and southcentral New York". The provided map (above) makes it look like you will have to travel a little further west if you want to see a snot otter in person.
Speaking of strange animals, check out how many animal heads (!) can fit in a newly listed Hudson Valley mansion below, and keep scrolling to check out the magnificent rescue of a horse from a backyard swimming pool in upstate New York.