There are 3 kinds of Amphiuma, all from southeastern United States. They're all long, fat and slimy, acquiring names like "Conger Eel" and "Congo Snake" and lots of others. But they don't have fins. They DO have 4 legs, but they're utterly puny.
You know those guys with names like Pegleg Tom and One-eye Jack? Lost-a-limb Jim. One Kidney Sidney. I think I've just come up with a new car journey game. Anyway, if the Devil makes work for idle thumbs, he'd better pass by the Amphiuma and find himself some new fodder:
The Two-toed Amphiuma is the biggest at up to 116 cm (45 inches) long. Its legs are still under an inch long, though.
The One-toed Ampiuma is the smallest, at just 33 cm (12.9 inches) maximum, and usually quite a lot less. These are the least known of the lot and they were only discovered in 1950.
|Image: Todd W Pierson via Flickr|
Indeed, Amphiumas are pretty much entirely aquatic. They can swim and also dig into the soft mud, which can allow them to survive dry periods by having a nap in the moist earth below the drying surface.
After mating, they lay about 200 eggs in a cavity beneath logs or vegetation. Coiling around them, they brood their eggs for several months until they hatch. The babies swim off, tiny worms with tiny legs and ambitions of one day becoming big, fat snakes. With tiny legs.