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Lake Creature With 'Legs' Stumps Floridians; 'Freaked Out A Little Bit'

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OCOEE, Florida -- A fish-like creature with "legs" caught in a Central Florida lake over the weekend sparked a flood of controversy.

Shawna Mitchell said she was fishing on Starke Lake in Ocoee when she pulled something strange out of the water.

Mitchell's photos showed what appeared to be a fish with two front legs and no scales.

She said she was "freaked out a little bit" after pulling the creature to a pier.

Locals have suggested the strange creature was a mud puppy, eel, lung fish or Chinese walking fish.

However, an official has declared the "fish" to be a greater siren.

It's an amphibian that is a member of the salamander family. It is described as being very reclusive.

Mitchell said, "It was a great night of fishing that I won't forget any time soon," in an e-mail.

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

26 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

It is indeed a greater siren. They occur from Washington to Florida and are quite common and frequently get caught by anglers.
   comment# 1   - Blueplanet · London · Jul 29, 2008 @ 8:23am

Kids fishing in the lake behind our home just pulled one of these creatures in. They had left their pole baited and in the lake for two days. Today they pulled it in and this eel like creature with two legs was on it. It was dead. Thought it to be a mudfish but didn't match any pictures - till I found this sight. Now we know - very weird looking and the kids though it was cool
   comment# 2   - WENDY VONBURG · Deltona, Fl. · Feb 22, 2009 @ 12:08pm

wow!!!! that is frecky ewwwww lol where did you find it i am just amazed!!!!!
   comment# 3   - courtney colavito · duluth · Mar 8, 2009 @ 2:15pm

i have 3 of dem in my fish tank love it wud ov ad 4 legs but wen it died other creatures eat it haha nah der harmless cute aswell always smiling
   comment# 4   - macca · liverpool · Mar 14, 2009 @ 5:55am


Wow that's pretty gross, and I go swimming in that lake. =( Yuck! I live a few minutes away from that lake and I've never seen anything that weird there.
   comment# 6   - Christian Hurst · Ocoee, Florida · Apr 20, 2009 @ 7:45am

i have held one much bigger than that one, i was in florida and found it in the ditch. it had soft froggy skin, it was pure black, and was around five lbs. its only two front legs could barely touch the ground. We played with it for a long time, and it never bit us or tried to run. it just sat. it turned its head to look around, with its little black eyes. it had little nostrils too. i loved it and wished i would have kept it. it was like nothing else.
   comment# 7   - morgan shea · big lake, alaska · Mar 31, 2010 @ 11:11am

I have seen them washed up on shoreline on lake Erie Ontario.Dead and lots of them. Could not believe it when I see them in the waters here.
   comment# 8   - C. Langeveld · Waterford,On. Canada · Jul 31, 2010 @ 7:44am

These creatures were washing up on shore at Sherkston Shores in Lake Erie. What are they? are they dangerous? Absolutely freaky
   comment# 9   - cathy · hamilton, canada · Aug 30, 2010 @ 1:06pm

These creatures were washing up on shore at Sherkston Shores in Lake Erie. What are they? are they dangerous? 4 small legs, almost opaque in color with spots on the back. Absolutely freaky
   comment# 10   - cathy · hamilton, canada · Aug 30, 2010 @ 1:14pm

I caught a 3 foot long version of this same thing but I caught it in a net by my dock in saltwater.... in the gulf we have pic's if anyone wants to see it
   comment# 11   - Anna Demartini · dunedin florida · Sep 5, 2010 @ 8:10pm

its a giant tadpole
   comment# 12   - clair mantawil · dunedin florida · Oct 31, 2010 @ 10:01pm

Hope you put it back where it belonged.!! :-(
   comment# 13   - von · england · Jan 29, 2012 @ 9:41am

The Great Blue Heron just caught one in our canal to Little Lake Harris. She had a heck of a time getting it down but she finally got it down. She fought with this thing for at least 40 min. while we watched. It was at least 2 feet long. Longer than her beak.
   comment# 14   - alice · tavares florida usa · Feb 13, 2012 @ 7:01am

caught at about 10 at night caught up in fishing line.
   comment# 15   - robert john boro · bedford usa · Dec 15, 2012 @ 7:35pm

I cought one this morning coolest thing I ever pulled in. cought in private canal leading to the deadriver in the hairs cain of lakes.
   comment# 16   - Sandy casteel · Tavares,florida us · Apr 5, 2013 @ 5:12am

we just went fishing today and found a dead one as well very weird looking they have 2 rows of teeth on top and one row on the bottom
   comment# 17   - leishia · mauston wi · Apr 30, 2013 @ 7:40pm

I've seen tons of them, didn't know how to categorize them, newt, salamander, eel,( platypus). They bite hard, be careful.
   comment# 18   - Tom Conner · Brooksville Florida USA · May 1, 2013 @ 3:41pm

my father was fishing in the Chicago river and he caught this creature too. the way he described it made me think he was making it up but now that i see this one i believe him. unfortunately he let it go. how many of these have been identified?
   comment# 19   - Diana M · Chicago, USA · May 4, 2013 @ 2:33pm

i found a baby one in my backyard swamp , now in fish tank . i was thinking baby frog , but my son looked it up , found this
   comment# 20   - john poissant · valdosta GA. usa · Jun 4, 2013 @ 4:48pm

My kids catch these in the ditches and small canals with a net all the time. They are very cool looking.
   comment# 21   - Robin · Ft. Myers, Florida · Jan 27, 2014 @ 7:48pm

Caught 1 about 2 foot long digging out the ditch in front of my house
   comment# 22   - Chad · Hammond louisiana · Oct 31, 2014 @ 11:41am

My daughter found one on our cottage shoreline in Georgian bay today.
   comment# 23   - Dennis Brabant · Midland, Ontario Canada · Jul 15, 2015 @ 9:10pm

My husband found 2 of them in a lake he was cleaning and put them in a fish tank with my turtle but i made him take it out i dont want it to hurt my turtle
   comment# 24   - sherri · tampa fl · Aug 7, 2015 @ 9:48am

I found one of these today in my back yard in my lake whitle i was feeding fish one of them poked its head out of the water and then ate bread that i threw out and then swam away.
   comment# 25   - bri · hudson · Oct 10, 2015 @ 12:32pm

I have cought a few of these in my ditch lately.they keep themselves buried in the mud
   comment# 26   - Amy · Madisonville, louisiana · Mar 26, 2016 @ 8:02pm
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