I tend to squee with glee every time a zoo sends out a blast about one of their new animals, especially if that animal has the word "otter" in its name (or "porcupine," or "giraffe" or, dear god please one day, "panda.") So I was very excited when the Bronx Zoo emailed us about their new "Snot Otters." Unfortunately, it appears these so-called Snot Otters are actually salamanders and don't look much like this guy, but who am I to show prejudice.
Indeed, these "Snot Otters" are actually Eastern hellbenders, and they're native to New York State. They're also quite large—Eastern hellbenders are the third longest salamander in the world, second only to Chinese and Japanese giant salamanders, and can grow to be nearly two feet long. Unfortunately, Snot Otters breathe by pulling oxygen through their skin, and polluted water does a number on these babies. Thanks to that, fungus, and habitat destruction, they've been classified as a species of Special Concern by the state.
The Bronx Zoo has been working with state officials and the Buffalo Zoo to save these guys, raising little baby hellbenders at the Bronx Zoo before releasing them back into the wild to boost the population. Now, you can see a handful hanging out at the Zoo's Reptile House, where visitors can learn about hellbenders and the conservation efforts undertaken to save them. But you'll have to look carefully for them—they like to hang out under rocks and blend in pretty well, so spotting one might be a slightly difficult task.