The Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife confirmed that the creature is a lesser siren, an aquatic salamander.
(Indiana Department of Natural Resources)
Indiana park officials stumbled upon a “peculiar” being as they went to work in a Posey County swamp last week. The two legs of an amphibian was captured and placed in a plastic bucket of water herpetologists could take a look.
The Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) posted a 12-second video of the strange-looking critter on Facebook, the collection of nearly 80,000 views in the span of a week. In the post, the Indiana DWF determined that the creature as a lesser siren an aquatic salamander.
“Lesser sirens are one of Indiana’s most unique salamanders, with their long, eel-like bodies, feathered gills, and only has two front legs (no back legs),” Indiana DNR explained. “They live in shallow, quiet waters like ditches, ponds and swamps.”
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Lesser sirens can grow up to 2 meters long, in comparison with larger hooters that are more than 3 metres. They are pretty harmless, mainly feeding on lobster, molluscs, worms, and other insects.
“They don’t bite,” Indiana DFW added.
By its shape and color, many people confuse lesser sirens with mudpuppies, who also live at the bottom of bodies of water. But the Indiana DNR pointed to an important distinction: “mudpuppies have four legs and sirens only on two legs, in the front.”
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“If their aquatic environment dries up, they can survive by retreating underwater crayfish burrows or burrowing down into the mud and forming a capsule-like protective cocoon around their body,” the organization explained. “After the wetland fills back up with water and be active.”
After the break, a few photos, the Indiana DNR released the lesser siren back in the wetland, where it was captured.
“Well, that is the neatest thing I’ve seen all day. I did not know that we have something like that in Indiana,” a Facebook user commented.
“That is the largest I’ve seen,” another added.