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Sep 04

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Mudpuppy Love

Squeaky salamanders that sound like dogs? Yes, they’re a thing—and they could be living at the bottom of a lake or river near you. Listen up:

(via Michigan DNR)

Unlike real puppies, these puppies don’t need a bath after they’ve been playing in the mud! (via Michigan DNR)

Say hello to the mudpuppy! Actually a splotchy-brown salamander with red feathery gills, this creature is the one of few salamanders that can actually make noise—and its noise is typically described as quite barkish.

The little aquatic squeaker can be found at the bottom of lakes, rivers, and ponds across eastern North America. It can grow to more than a foot and prowls about at night, sniffing out tasty snacks, like crayfish, worms, or insects.

Mudpuppy eggs and hatchlings are susceptible to predators. But adults are tougher to catch. That’s thanks to glands that secrete a slimy protective poison, and sense organs that alert them to passing ne’er-do-wells like large fish, turtles, water snakes and herons.

The mudpuppies’ habit of chomping down on the bait at the end of a fishing line makes humans their biggest predator. But sensitivity to habitat loss and pesticides have inspired the Michigan DNR to dub it a “Species of Greatest Conservation Need.”

So let’s give those puppies some more collective love, shall we?

Get Schooled:

The fine print:

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/creature-features/mudpuppy-love/