Cleveland February 20, 2019
These 9 Out-Of-Place Creatures Have Been Spotted Around Cleveland And You’ll Want To Steer Clear
Northeast Ohio is home to an amazing array of animals. Many of them are native species, but an unfortunate few are not. Where did these mystery creatures come from? Could they be escapees from the zoo? Perhaps they’re an exotic pet that ran away or was dumped. The truth, however, is sometimes stranger than fiction.
1. An escaped kangaroo, North Ridgeville
North Ridgeville is usually a quiet and peaceful community. Much of the community is rural, meaning many are able to quietly maintain habitats for exotic creatures. This was the case in 2015 when police were called about a runaway kangaroo. His name is Foster, and his owners have permits allowing him to reside within city limits. The police were doubtlessly startled to find a kangaroo in North Ridgeville, but they were able to peacefully capture him and return him home.
2. A deer-like creature, Chester Township
It was 12 years ago when the community of Chester Township, east of Cleveland, began noticing something unusual. A large horned creature of some sort was wandering around the community, and nobody knew what it was. It had features common to both goats and rams, and though locals couldn't identify it, they were certain it wasn't native. Experts at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo speculated that it could be a tahr or mouflon (pictured), but it seems the mystery was never solved.
3. Mudpuppies catch fisherman off guard, Lake Erie
Mudpuppies never mature enough to survive outside of water, so these fish-like creatures often catch fisherman by surprise. They prefer to stay hidden, but they're known to wrap their tails around humans' wrists when they're captured. Talk about the heebie-jeebies!
4. A two-headed cow, Lakewood
This guy is clearly taxidermied, but he's still a shocker to unsuspecting Clevelanders hoping for a peaceful shopping experience. He resides at Cleveland Curiosities, an oddities shop in Lakewood. Two-headed animals are not an uncommon occurrence, it seems, though they rarely survive for very long.
5. An alligator in the sewer, Cleveland
It was 2012 when a sewer worker received the surprise of his life at Big Creek in Cleveland. A two-foot-long gator was found near the water district's Jennings Road Pump Station, and she was so cold that she wasn't moving. Though it is a common urban myth that alligators live in sewers, this was the first one found in Cleveland. The alligator was heated up with a warm bath and recovered fully.
6. Freshwater jellyfish invade the Great Lake, Lake Erie
In 2017, locals could hardly believe it when they learned that freshwater jellyfish were discovered in Lake Erie. They're small creatures, only about the size of quarter, so many have lived entire lives in the region and never even seen one. Amazingly, we cannot even feel their microscopic stings. These creatures feed on microorganisms in the lake and are not an invasive species.
7. Sea lampreys stir up scares, Lake Erie
Terrifying and unforgiving, sea lampreys our vampiric little creatures that have made their way into Lake Erie. They're native to the Atlantic Ocean, and their teeth give them away as parasites. These creatures were first found in the Great Lakes in 1835, and their numbers continue to grow.
8. Black bears seek scenic communities, Hudson
Black bears were once native to Ohio, but their habitat has been largely diminished. Even so, seemingly cute and cuddly bears from other states sell manage to roam into Northeast Ohio. In 2018, a black bear was spotted in the Hudson area. They've been spotted near Brecksville, south in Medina County, and east around the Ashtabula area.
9. Chinese mitten crabs enjoy a lakefront vacation, Lake Erie
One of my earliest memories is playing on a Lake Erie beach with my cousin, watching tiny crabs burrow into the sand. These creatures have been in the Great Lakes since 1965, an invasive species that came in from China. They're small, only about 8 centimeters in size, and they survive easily and polluted environments. Go figure.
There’s much to love in Northeast Ohio, but a brush with any of these creatures may make you aversive to the Great Outdoors. Have you ever spotted any of these out of place creatures in your hometown?
Love animals? You’re sure to love these
charming animal-centric destinations throughout the state.