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Mudpuppy: Mom Can We Keep it?

Mudpuppies are special salamanders that live under rocks in the Georgian Bay and other parts of Ontario. They are the only completely aquatic salamanders in Canada! 

How to Identify a Mudpuppy

Chances are, you won’t mix up a mudpuppy with any other kind of animal in the Biosphere! Mudpuppies are grey or brown with black spots and a grey belly. Their heads and tails are wide and flat and they have small dark eyes. Their most identifiable feature is their red external gills which look like big floppy ears. Mudpuppies are pretty big compared to other salamanders. Adult mudpuppies can grow between 20 – 50 cm long!


Mudpuppies live in streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and other large bodies of water. They prefer areas with lots of hiding places like rocks, logs, and debris. Mudpuppies are only active at night, when they walk along the lake or Bay bottom to search for foods including worms, crayfish, and insects. During the daytime, they hide under rocks and debris. Mudpuppies are only in shallow waters in the spring. During the summer and winter, they move to deeper waters. They can go as deep as 30 metres! Unless you stay up past your bedtime in the spring it’s unlikely you’ll see one. 

Life Cycle

The life cycle of a mudpuppy has three stages. First, the female mudpuppies lay up to 100 eggs in the spring. The female stays with her eggs until they hatch between 30 to 50 days later. When the eggs hatch they enter the larval stage and the mother will leave. In the larval stage, mudpuppies are a light grey colour with dark stripes and they begin growing legs. It takes up to 2 years for the mudpuppies to reach adult size, and 5 years to reach full maturity. Mudpuppies can live up to 30 years old!


Since mudpuppies spend their entire lives in the water, they face many threats that other aquatic species do. Mudpuppies have to endure impacts from water pollution and accidental catching from fishing. A lot more research needs to be done on mudpuppies. Very little is known about them.

Activity Time!

Try and answer these true or false questions!

True or False 

  1. Mudpuppies can grow up to 1 and a half feet long
  2. Mudpuppies have 6 toes on each foot
  3. Mudpuppies can live up to 30 years old
  4. Mudpuppies are endangered 


  1. True! Mudpuppies grow up to 1 and a half feet long 
  2. False! Mudpuppies have only 4 tiny toes on each foot. How cute!
  3. True! 
  4. False! Mudpuppies are not currently a species at risk.

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