No, not the restaurant formerly known as the Gilded Otter!

We've been talking about unique animals quite a bit lately here in the Hudson Valley.  Actually, we've been asking for your help in identifying some wildlife that has residents doing a double-take in the area lately.

In fact, just last week a 'weird creature' was spotted by a local resident hiking in the woods near the Hudson River.  What appeared to be an eel carcass was later identified as a freshwater eel, and the explanation to the question 'how did THAT get HERE' was that the eel could have been making its way north up the Hudson River and then picked up and moved by a bird - wild, right?

Well fast forward to Wednesday, July 14, when a New Paltz resident who lives in the area of Walgreens in the village, saw this little guy running across the street outside her house:

When posted in a New Paltz community forum page on facebook, fellow residents offered their suggestions and interpretations of what the animal might be, a fisher, a mink, a weasel, and the list goes on.

Others skipped over the 'what is this' question, rather commenting on the fact that it looked both ways before running across the street.

Looks like the official determination is that this little guy is a river otter.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, North American river otters are semi-aquatic animals and can thrive in any water habitat, such as ponds, marshes, lakes, rivers, and estuaries—in cold, warm, or even high-elevation areas—as long as the habitat provides adequate food.  They are built in such a way that their short webbed feet help with fast swimming, they can stay underwater for up to eight minutes, and on the land, they can run at speeds up to 15MPH.

Have you spotted any unique animals lately in the area?

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