Even after living in the Hudson Valley for almost 20 years of my life, I had never seen a black bear in person. That changed last weekend. As I was driving the back roads about 10 miles outside of Newburgh, NY, I saw the giant lumbering ball of black fluff bouncing as is sprinted across someone's back yard and into the woods. "Yes!", I thought, "I finally saw one!" Then I remembered how close it was to my house. And to the coyote I saw crossing the road a few days prior. Then my thoughts went to my little dog.

Pet Dangers in the Hudson Valley, NY

Ever since bringing our puppy, Arthur, home, I've become a changed man. Never in my life would I have expected to excitedly give his bathroom details to my wife, or to get emotional when I hear that he made his first friend at daycare, yet here I am. I've also become increasingly aware of all the dangers poised to harm his tiny existence. As the weather gets warmer and we start spending more time outside, there are some wild animals that can be serious threats to his wellbeing, and even his life.

Jonah/Townsquare Media
Jonah/Townsquare Media
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Predators in the Hudson Valley

The beauty of the Hudson Valley is one of the main reasons we love to live here, and the emerging animals in the spring and summer months remind us of the nature we get to enjoy every day. But for every adorable deer or groundhog, there are some very skilled creatures on the prowl for their next meal. Here are the predators in the Hudson Valley that are most likely to pose a threat to your pet.

Facebook/Chris Byrne
Facebook/Chris Byrne
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Fishers in Hicksville, NY

In a post to the Hudson Valley Facebook group earlier this year, Chris Byrne posted this still photo of a Fisher in his front yard. Though Fishers are omnivores that snack mostly on rabbits and porcupines when they target other animals, many people cautioned Chris to keep a close eye on his pets. "Careful if you have a cat or small dog as they can kill smaller pets and make a meal out of them... That aside, SUPER COOL TO SEE!!!" said one Facebook user. "A fisher tore my daughter's cat apart", warned another.

Red wolf profile.
SonyaLang
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Coyotes in the Hudson Valley

Growing up in Ulster County, NY I've been keenly aware of coyotes my entire life. I would hear their howls nightly in the warmer months, and my family always made sure our pets were inside when the sun went down. Coyotes can be aggressive and have been known to hunt domesticated animals like your cat or dog. There was even a recent report of a toddler being attacked by a coyote recently in California.

Facebook/Lauren Miradona
Facebook/Lauren Miradona
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Foxes in the Hudson Valley

This fox spotted in January in the Hudson Valley is a bit special. It's white fur likely means that it's a leucistic Red Fox, meaning that is a red fox that has lost most of its pigmentation. Leucistic or not, their teeth are just as sharp, and although they are known to mostly prey on smaller animals like mice, I wouldn't want my 16-pound puppy anywhere near a hungry fox.

puma cougar angry Snarling
mhong84
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Cougar Danger in the Hudson Valley

I was fascinated by cougars as a child. I thought of them as Hudson Valley lions. The good news is that there is not a native population in New York, so the danger of cougars is very low. While there have been sightings, they were more like "tourist" mountain lions from neighboring states.

Rabid Animals in the Hudson Valley

Another danger to be aware of is animals infected with rabies. In an unfortunate statistic, New York consistently ranks near the top in the nation in terms of rabid animals in the state. Rabid animals can be overly aggressive, and rabies is nearly always fatal in both unvaccinated animals and humans.

A Rattlesnake soaks up the afternoon sun in central Montana
mlharing
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Snake and Rodent Danger in the Hudson Valley

Other than the above-mentioned coyotes, fishers, and foxes, most other animals, besides venomous snakes, won't provide a lethal threat, unless sicknesses are taken into consideration. A rabid raccoon, for instance, is more dangerous for the disease they carry than the threat of their teeth and claws. Porcupines can of course leave your furry friend with a face-full of quills, and even squirrels can put up a fight if cornered. Luckily, most black bears, like the one I saw, will be frightened off by a barking dog and won't peruse them as food.

Want some uplifting animal stories? Check out these amazing rescues below.

Horse In A New York Backyard Pool?! See The Dramatic Rescue Photos

God Bless our amazing First Responders. They have to see and react to unique situations every day to save not just human lives, but also those of our four-legged friends. This past weekend a horse-faced a life or death situation after getting caught in the cover in someone's backyard pool in Bohemia, New York. Thankfully, the Bohemia Fire Department came to the rescue.

Dog Rescued After Being Trapped in Rocky Crevice at Minnewaska

A 12-year-old dog named Liza was rescued after being trapped in a rocky crevice at Minnewaska for 5 days.