Snakes, tigers, bears, oh my: New Jersey’s best ‘wild’ animal encounters
With that poor Bergen County mail carrier getting over a close call with some nasty turkeys, let's look at our favorite Jersey critter run-ins of recent years. Some were in the water, others lumbered out of the woods. There's also a few escaped "pets" that put neighbors on-edge.
Mary Lee, the Great White
The thrill of sharks lurking off the Jersey coast has gone high-tech, thanks to a tracker and Twitter. The Great White shark, Mary Lee, reeled in public attention last year, and has thousands of followers watching closely for "pings."
Pool crashing bears
This past summer, a momma bear took her kids to the pool -- in a Rockaway backyard. The results were adorable, except to the little girls stressing out over their pool toys.
Jackson tiger lady
Anything that makes it to "Animal Planet" needs to be on a Jersey animal encounter list.
You can bet our newsroom was hopping back when those tigers in Ocean County became public knowledge. After several years of battling, the state helped move the big cats to a Texas animal sanctuary. When that closed in 2010, a few surviving tigers made it to a North Carolina sanctuary.
Jersey's summer of Snakes
Scotland has the Loch Ness Monster and for one brief summer, Lake Hopatcong had "Henry." That's what a reptile specialist dubbed the Green Anaconda he claims to have seen almost two years ago. A search of the massive North Jersey lake eventually was abandoned.
It was a different story in south Jersey, where a large snake was spotted "lunching" in a tree.
Animal control officers and local police were on the hunt in the Villas section of Lower Township for a while for weeks before a resident claimed it was a boa that had escaped.
Pedals the bear
When you first watch this video, it's hard to believe it's not a hoax. But there's some north Jersey folks who've become very protective of the bear that walks on its hind legs, dubbed "Pedals." He was last spotted in December and is believed to be safely waiting out the winter.
These are some of Jersey's high-profile animal tales. There's also the random sightings of coyotes, foxes and eagles that can and do happen all over the state. No matter how cute or thrilling, they're best enjoyed from a distance!
Erin Vogt is a lifelong Jersey Girl, whose first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee. A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.