Anybody have any experience with these odd creatures? I'm buying land in New Mexico, which is really far from their native habitat, and I saw one in the pond. Never seen anything like it! Turns out they're used for fish bait here so I'm thinking one got away and made it's way into my tiny little pond in the high desert. It could be a tiger salamander or a mud puppy, but it was about a foot long, and definitely had the strange, wavy gills.
The pond they're in is at the bottom of the property, and is currently used to water livestock. There are several other former pond sites that could be fairly easily turned into ponds again. I plan on having several ponds as my property has a lot of catchment from neighboring properties that can be taken advantage of. I don't want the mud puppies spreading into my stocking pond, as I've read that they'll eat just about any other fish, earthworm, etc.
Besides it showing that the property is healthy enough to support this type of creature in the high desert, I'm not sure if they're a good thing, or a problem I need to turn into a solution.
Anybody in their native range out east have any uses, experience, or thoughts?