Imagine finding yourself face-to-face with a strange, slimy creature that you didn't even know could survive in this area of New York.

After living in our Hudson Valley home for over 25 years I thought I'd seen it all. Our backyard has been the home of some pretty weird animals from snakes and frogs to owls, foxes and even the occasional monster woodpecker.

But nothing prepared me for a creepy, crawly critter I found sitting on my sidewalk on Tuesday.

Strange Sighting in the Hudson Valley

My family had off for election day so we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and spend the afternoon doing yard work. As I rounded the corner to the backyard of my house I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw a long, slimy black critter blocking my path.

A. Boris
A. Boris

I immediately thought it was a snake, which would be a normal sight in our yard. But upon further investigation, I realized that this thing had little legs. As my wife came over to investigate what was going on she recoiled in fear thinking that it was some sort of giant millipede. Both of us were wrong, because this creature was something I didn't even know existed in New York State.

Creepy Creature Identified

As I gently nudged the little guy out of the way with a leaf it began to quickly do a little dance while it scurried away, revealing that it wasn't a snake or a millipede but a salamander.

I've seen lots of salamanders and lizards in warmer climates, but never in all of my years living in the Hudson Valley have I seen one in my backyard. I guess I knew that they could be out there somewhere, but it was honestly the last thing I expected.

Salamanders Are Indigenous to New York State

While salamanders can be found in New York, they're pretty good hiders. You're not likely to see one of these amphibians hanging out on your deck or sidewalk. Instead, they're usually hanging out under rocks and out of sight.

There are about 20 different salamander species. It appears that the one in my yard is a Northern Dusky Salamander. Luckily, this one is thriving. However, there are several species of salamander living in New York that are either endangered or of special concern.


Wildlife experts urge residents to reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides in their gardens that may sicken salamanders. It's also suggested to keep rotting logs and riverside rocks where they are, as they're an important habitat for many species of salamander.

Hudson Valley Wildlife Gallery

The Hudson Valley is full of wildlife. Here are just a few of our furry, slithery, and feather friends that might frequent your backyard. Please reach out and let us know which creature we may have left off the list.

Gallery Credit: Paty Quyn

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