Toronto Zoo | Adopt A Pond | SGuides

You've reached a page on the old Toronto Zoo website. Information found on this page may be out of date. Please visit our new website for the most up to date information

Toronto Zoo Home
Fighting Extinction Accessibility Host Your Event Press
the Zoo
Saving Wildlife
and Wild Spaces
Conservation Education
& Camps
Species Guides
AAP Home
Species Guides
Contact Us

  Ontario Turtle Tally
  FrogWatch Ontario
  Urban Turtle Initiative
  Turtle Island Conservation


Back to species selection


Necturus maculosus
  •  At 25-30 cm, this is Ontario's largest salamander.
  • The mudpuppy has a reddish-brown back, with black spots scattered over the body. Juveniles have brightly colored yellow stripes on their body that fade with age.
  • This salamander retains its external gills throughout its life. These red gills are feathery and are most obvious when fully opened.
  • This salamander is very slippery and is almost impossible to hold with bare hands.
  • The mudpuppy is always found in water and frequents the bottom of riverside marshes, weedy ponds, and lakes.
  • Because oxygen is absorbed from the water through external gills, the mudpuppy is restricted to permanent bodies of water. The lungs are poorly supplied with blood and have a minor role in respiration. They are used mostly for gulping air at the surface of warm, muddy water that is low in oxygen.
  • The mudpuppy hides in weeds or under rocks during the day and emerges at night to feed on crayfish, tadpoles, worms, fish, and aquatic insects.
  • Breeding occurs in the fall, but the eggs are not laid until April or May of the following year.