Alabama “mudpuppy” to receive federal protection | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The Black Warrior Waterdog (or Alabama Mudpuppy) is found only in Alabama and nowhere else in the world.

The large, aquatic, nocturnal salamander permanently retains a larval form and external gills throughout its life. It can grow to 9 1/2 inches in length.
And this unique creature needs protection.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has now listed the salamander as an endangered species, meaning it is in danger of extinction. The Black Warrior Riverkeeper is helping champion its protection.

Low and declining population numbers Due to loss and fragmentation of its habitat and poor water quality in the Black Warrior River Basin, mudpuppy populations are low and declining.

The salamander's highly permeable skin and external gills make it particularly sensitive to declines in water quality and oxygen concentration.

Alabama “mudpuppy” to receive federal protection | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

FWS lists several steps you can take to help save the Waterdog

Individuals can do a number of things to help protect this species, including:

  • Conserving water to allow more water to remain in streams.
  • Using pesticides responsibly (especially around streams and lakes) to prevent runoff.
  • Controlling soil erosion by planting trees and plants to avoid runoff of sediments into freshwater areas.
  • Help your family find ways to reduce the amount of chemicals that you pour down the drain in your home or use on your lawn or garden.
  • Support conservation efforts that protect these unique animals and the habitats they live in.
  • Learn more about how the destruction of habitat leads to loss of endangered and threatened species and our nation’s plant and animal diversity. Discuss with others what you have learned.
  • Support local and state initiatives for watershed and water quality protection and improvement.

Learn more about best management practices for keeping sediments out of streams.

The Black Warrior waterdog. Photo by Black Warrior Riverkeeper Advisory Council member Mark Bailey.