One of New York's most elusive predators was recently caught on camera... in one of the most unusual places.

The Hudson Valley, NY ecosystem is full of animals with claws and fangs, and while most of our local critters do us a favor by staying in the woods, it's inevitable that the human world and the natural world will collide. That's exactly what happened in Elka Park, NY.

A homeowner in Greene County, NY recently caught this sneaky predator investigating their porch on a doorbell camera
A homeowner in Greene County, NY recently caught this sneaky predator investigating their porch on a doorbell camera (Jo-Ann Martin via Facebook)
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Elusive Predator Caught on Camera in Elka Park, NY

"Caught this on video this morning up in Elka Park", a Greene County, NY resident recently posted on Facebook. "Not sure what it is but have a few thoughts….anyone certain?". Hundreds of comments all said the same thing: she had been visited by a "specialist" predator that is rarely seen in such a public area.

This Fisher was seen in Elka Park, NY. These fascinating predators are the only animal known to successfully hunt porcupines
This Fisher was seen in Elka Park, NY. These fascinating predators are the only animal known to successfully hunt porcupines (Jo-Ann Martin via Facebook)
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Fishers Living in New York State

The visitor was none other than a fisher, a fascinating animal in the weasel family that has, to quote Liam Neeson in the action classic Taken, "a very particular set of skills". From the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC):

Fisher have large, wide feet with five toes on each foot and semi-retractable claws [and] are capable of rotating their hind feet nearly 180º, which allows for a headfirst descent from trees... they are [also] the only known North American mammal that succeeds in killing and consuming porcupines.

Nature vs. Civilization in New York State

While many Hudson Valley residents were surprised to see the fisher so close to civilization, it was far from the first example of a sharp-toothed animal wandering onto a Hudson Valley, NY porch. Based on past wildlife interactions, maybe the homeowner should just be happy the fisher didn't steal anything, like what happened recently in Ulster County, NY (below).

A black bear in New Paltz, NY was caught on camera stealing groceries that had been left outside by the homeowner
A black bear in New Paltz, NY was caught on camera in November 2023 stealing groceries that had been left outside by the homeowner (Cathy Fredrick via Facebook)
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Opportunistic Animals Stealing Food in New York

In November 2023, a homeowner in New Paltz, NY spotted a black bear investigating their property. Likely attracted by the groceries that were left on the front porch, the bear (above) can be seen rummaging through the bags before making off with some pilfered snacks.

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, the NYSDEC's top tip for avoiding animal visitors is to avoid leaving any type of food outdoors, especially during colder months when natural resources are scarcer. If groceries lured this New Paltz bear to a porch, it may be a mystery what drew another bear to a local college campus (below).

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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