If you had to rank the most interesting living creatures that can be found in Central Illinois, the mudpuppy would be near the top of the list.
Mudpuppies are salamanders, typically 10 to 12 inches long, with a flat head, stubby legs, and a wide tail. Oh, and if you try to catch one, it’ll exude a snotty substance that’s kind of gross (and kind of awesome).
Mudpuppies will be the star June 9 at a ParkLands Foundation event at Letcher Basin in Woodford County. Attendees will learn all about the Mackinaw River and the critters who call it home.
“The fact that you find the mudpuppy in the Mackinaw River, which is a key indicator species, is a great indicator that this is a good river,” said Jessica Chambers, president of the ParkLands Foundation. The organization protects land along the Mackinaw River for birds, fish, and mudpuppies.
Mudpuppies have really sensitive skin, Chambers said. So if the Mackinaw River had a lot of toxins or pollutants, they wouldn’t be able to survive there, she said.
The 130-mile Mackinaw is “one of the cleanest rivers in our state,” Chambers said.
The June 9 event (from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) is appropriate for all ages. Kids will be able to make a mudpuppy headband. Learn more on the event registration page.
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