The Hudson Valley is full of fascinating wildlife. Unfortunately, some of these animals can spell danger for your pets.

From beavers to bears and everything in between, New York state's ecosystem is bustling. Knowing which tracks belong to which animals can be helpful for not only the safety of your furry best friends, but to have a better knowledge of the natural world around you. Here are some of the most important tracks to know.

It can be important for New York pet owners to know the difference between coyote and domestic dog tracks
It can be important for New York pet owners to know the difference between coyote and domestic dog tracks (NYSDEC)
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Coyote Tracks in New York

Coyotes might be the animal to pose the most significant danger to your pet. Both cats and smaller dogs can fall victim to hungry coyotes, and while these instances are rare, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) acknowledges their potential danger to both animals and humans, and urges all New Yorkers to takes steps like securing garbage and bringing pets inside at night to keep coyotes away.

Red foxes are generally not a threat to New York pets, although they can still prey on small cats or kittens
Red foxes are generally not a threat to New York pets, although they can still prey on small cats or kittens (NYSDEC)
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Red Fox Tracks in New York

Red foxes, while not a danger to full-grown cats or dogs, are still a helpful track to know. Not only can they inform you when (and how long) you let your dogs out at night, tracks can also be a sign that you need to secure garbage cans or any outside food. Their call can also sound like someone being horrifically murdered, so knowing that it's a fox, and not Jason Voorhees, is helpful as well.

Skunks can be a nuisance for New York pet owners, including eating cat food and spraying aggressive dogs
Skunks can be a nuisance for New York pet owners, including eating cat food and spraying aggressive dogs (NYSDEC)
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Skunk Tracks in New York

Skunk tracks are important to recognize not because of the nuisance they may become. With documented cases of skunks coexisting with cats (and eating their food), as well as the famed rivalry between skunks and dogs (aggressive dogs will most likely be sprayed by a cornered skunk as a defense mechanism), knowing if you have one or more nearby can be helpful information.

Opossums are a very helpful animal to have on your New York property
Opossums are a very helpful animal to have on your New York property (NYSDEC)
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Opossum Tracks in New York

Similarly, knowing opossum tracks can be helpful to keep one of our most under-appreciated friends alive. Opossums cannot contract rabies, and are one of our best natural defenses against ticks (one of their favorite snacks). Loose dogs at night, however, can easily turn a possum into a meal, negating all the positive additions our marsupial friends provide.

Read More: VIDEO of Awesome Predator Released in Upstate New York

No matter what the wild animal, it's always a good idea to keep them separated from your pets. From physical danger (to both animals) to the nuisance of critters rummaging in your trash, there are peaceful ways to coexist... that begin with knowing which local wildlife is making tracks through your yard.

Stunning Photos Capture Toy Thief Coyote Playing Just Like a Dog

Stunning Photos Capture Toy Thief Coyote Playing Just Like a Dog

Gallery Credit: Credit - Polly McAdams

Bear on Campus at SUNY New Paltz NY

On Thursday (June 23, 2022) this unassuming good-size black bear wandered onto campus and decided to climb a tree. The SUNY New Paltz Police along with the NYS DEC Police monitored the situation on-site. They were able to encourage the campus visitor to return home without incident.

Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn

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