Where does the term “mud puppy” come from and What does mud puppy mean?

One wonders sometimes what sort of beverage our forebears may have been consuming when they bestowed names upon some of the odd-looking critters they found in America.

These salamanders, either the hellbender or the Necturus, no more resemble a puppy than they do a cat.

They have four legs, and the resemblance stops about there.

They look more like undersized alligators than like anything canine.

Undoubtedly the name was bestowed by an early traveler or settler, but it did not break into print much before seventy-five years ago.

Another, and more fitting, name for the hellbender was mud devil.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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