WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE

The mudpuppy is a large salamander. It can be as long as 490 mm, but most adult mudpuppies are around 200 to 300 mm long. On top they are brown or gray with dark spots. Their bellies are light gray. Adult mudpuppies keep their gills all their life. They have 3 pairs of gills that look like red feathers attached to the sides of the head. They also have a fin on their tail like the young of other salamanders.

Look-alikes: A young tiger salamander can look like a mudpuppy. The young tiger salamander will have a rounder head and 5 toes on its hind feet. Mudpuppies have only 4 toes on all their feet.


NAME

This animal gets its name because people once thought it could bark like a dog. It doesn't bark, but can make a squeek or grunt if it is picked up.


WHERE IT LIVES

Mudpuppies live only in water. They never come out onto land. They can be found in lakes, ponds and rivers. Mudpuppies like rocky bottoms more than muddy bottoms. They live in eastern central North America. They are found only in southeastern Manitoba.

Where it lives in Manitoba.


HABITS

In the daytime, mudpuppies hide under rocks or sticks in the water. They are more active at night. They walk along the bottom of lakes or rivers hunting for food. Even in winter they stay active and continue to look for food. People ice-fishing have caught mudpuppies!

Mudpuppies don't travel far from where they were born. They can live their whole life in a 1 km stretch of river.


FOOD WEB

Mudpuppies eat all kinds of small animals that live in the water. They will eat small fish, crayfish, insects and snails.

Large fish, like northern pike and small mouthed bass will eat mudpuppies. So will wading birds like the great blue heron or diving ducks like common mergansers. Snapping turtles will eat them, too.


LIFE CYCLE

Mudpuppies mate in the fall, but the females don't lay their eggs until the next spring. In April or May they lay about 100 eggs. They stick them to rocks or sticks in the water. It takes about 30 to 50 days for the eggs to hatch.

Mudpuppy eggs

The female stays with her eggs until they hatch. Then she leaves the babies. A young mudpuppy grows its legs when it is about 1 month old. Young mudpuppies have light and dark stripes.

It may take more than 2 years for a mudpuppy to grow to adult size and loose its stripes.


NUMBERS

No one knows how many mudpuppies might live in one lake or river.


SPECIAL THINGS

The mudpuppy is Manitoba's biggest salamander.

A mudpuppy never "grows up". It keeps its gills to breathe with and its tail fin all its life and never leaves the water.


USE BY PEOPLE

Some people use mudpuppies as bait to catch fish.