Pardon me if I'm a little starstruck, but it's not that often that you get to meet a celebrity. I was overjoyed to learn that one of the most famous aquatic animals in the world lives right of the New York coast.

What's a "Famous" Animal?

There's a few famous species here in New York. Moose are not only one of the largest land animals in the world, but the television show Rocky and Bullwinkle elevated the giant beast to celebrity status. Great white sharks (perhaps the most famous animal of all time, thanks to Jaws) also grace New York with their presence in the Atlantic ocean as they hunt migrating seals. Luckily we can add another A-list creature to our resume.

Puffer Fish in New York State

"Do you think this northern puffer over indulged in Halloween candy this year? Nope – it’s actually using a natural defense mechanism to 'puff up' and appear larger than they truly are", began a recent Facebook post from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). Did you have any idea that puffer fish were New York residents? You can even fish for them!

SpongeBob SquarePants Official via YouTube
SpongeBob SquarePants Official via YouTube

Yes, the famous puffer fish (the northern puffer in this case), are one of our aquatic neighbors. Made famous by being the only fish that can turn itself into a balloon (as well as teach SpongeBob how to drive), are swimming right off our shores. Since they're not poisonous like their southern relatives, they're safe to eat, too.

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New York is full of fascinating and elusive animals. Check out the recent video of an elusive tree-dwelling predator here, and check out the amazing hiking therapy animals of the Hudson Valley below.

Meet the Hiking Therapy Animals of the Hudson Valley

Eleanor Pigby made a splash on social media around the Hudson Valley this week. Turns out she's part of a pretty special team. Get to know Eleanor and the rest of the Pets For Purpose Animal Therapy group of The Summit School in Nyack.

Photos: Massive Eagles Fight Over Fish on the Hudson