My friend caught a strange looking animal and he's saying it is an axolotl. I keep telling him it's almost impossible, since they are almost extinct in their natural environment and he caught it in St-Larent River (Quebec, Canada)

Anyone have any idea what it is ? enter image description here enter image description here


2 Answers 2


Based on the size and location that appears to be a Common mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus). Common mudpuppy © Brian Gratwicke (CC BY)(Photo © Brian Gratwicke — CC BY)

The four toes visible on the front foot are also consistent with this identification.

This species is found throughout eastern North America and you can learn more about them from the Canadian herpetological society and iNaturalist.

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    $\begingroup$ @SamuelFyckes Note that just like the axolotl, it doesn't metamorphose to the adult stage - that's what makes them "strange looking" and similar. They're both salamanders that never "grow up". $\endgroup$
    – Luaan
    Commented Jan 21, 2020 at 9:40
  • $\begingroup$ I was thinking hellbender but I guess those don't live in Canada. $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2020 at 3:15
  • $\begingroup$ @prefectionist I'm definitely not an expert on amphibians, but a quick search suggests that the four-toed salamander is: 1) primarily terrestrial rather than aquatic, 2) much too small, and 3) looks nothing like the original photo. ——— If you have a better answer please post it — we need answers from experts, but that expertise must be demonstrated not just claimed. $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 22:16

Judging from the small limbs and overall size, it appears to be a large aquatic salamander, similar to Necturus maculosus, the mudpuppy. These have a pretty cosmopolitan distribution in North America, including into southern Canada. I can't tell from the photo if it has external gills.



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