I have read and written about a deer, a pig and a cow seen swimming in the lake, and have actually watched a beaver swim north towards the outlet, but the following creature was a first for me:
On Sunday, July 25, 1937, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas M. Walker were fishing in Skaneateles Lake, about 500 feet offshore, near Mandana, when they saw, approaching their boat, something strange. At first, they thought it might be a sea serpent… or a large snake. But as it drew closer, they realized it was an exhausted woodchuck, headed straight for their boat in obvious hope of rescue.
Mr. Walker reached out with his fish net and hauled the creature onboard; it made no objection, and reclined quietly in the bottom of the boat, catching its breath, recuperating. But then, in the words of the reporter for the Auburn Citizen-Advertiser, “it suddenly manifested a disposition, still in the meshes of the landing net, for liberty pronto.”
While Mrs. Walker held the net over the stern of the boat, and the frantic woodchuck clawed and bit in an effort to escape, Mr. Walker manned the oars and pulled mightily for the shore, where witnesses had gathered, drawn by the sounds of the struggle. Upon landfall, the woodchuck fought his way clear of the net and bolted into the woods, leaving the Walkers to explain the ruckus to the bystanders, and then resume their quiet afternoon’s fishing.