Two-toed Amphiuma

The Two-toed Amphiuma (Amphiuma means), is a snake-like salamander find primarily in southeastern Unites States. The range extends from southeastern Virginia to Florida, and west to Louisiana. The habitat is coastal plains where they can be found in acidic waters of swamps, bayous, and sometimes drainage ditch. This salamander is commonly, but incorrectly, called Congo Snake, Congo Eel or Blind Eel.

This salamander grows to about 36 inches long. It has four legs that end with two or three toes which are virtually useless. Its eyes also has lids. It is bluish-black in color. Unlike most salamanders, which are silent, the Amphiuma makes a clear whistle sound when disturbed.

Two-toed Amphiumas are nocturnal and inflict nasty bites when disturbed. They are often difficult to handle because of their slippery skins. They may leave water temporarily if weather is wet enough and they dig burrows in muddy bottoms or it may invade the burrows of other marine creatures. They feed on small fish, snails, and insect larvae.

Amphiumas breed from June to July in North Carolina and northern Florida. Females lay about 200 eggs in a damp cavity beneath debris and they remain coiled around them during incubation. Hatchlings are long with light-colored gills soon lost after hatching.