If you live in the country, then I don’t have to tell you what a waterdog or a mudpuppy is. But, if you don’t, then let me tell you– because they are really cool. And, like most of us who enjoy clean water, waterdogs and mudpuppies are on the list of friends I’m worried about.
A waterdog is the same thing as a mudpuppy, depending on whom you ask. It’s kind of like saying pop versus saying soda. They are rather large salamanders that live under rocks in streams and side pools or eddies. If you are ever playing in the creek, and turn over a rock, then you might be surprised to see one!
Mudpuppies are near mythical to human children. Some think they have special properties like turning your hand numb or being poisonous. Of course, they are actually harmless… but I daresay they do look scary.
You see, they are about half a foot long and they are fat and slimy. They have big frilly gills on the outside of their neck. Trust me, they look scary. But, wouldn’t you know it, they serve a special purpose in our ecology along with the rest of the salamanders. They are like the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to water quality.