Wednesday, September 12, 2007

hot critter: neuse river waterdog

This is a guest-post from Les, who has chosen the next animal to be knitted & felted: the Neuse River Waterdog. And watch for a star-nosed mole pattern this Friday!

Nectorus lewisi, or “Mudpuppy” as he known to his friends.

Lewisi has also been known to buy beer and get into “gentlemen’s” clubs with an ID which bears the name Neuse River Waterdog. Keep an eye out for this one, which is rarely seen by human eye. Lewisi is active at night and apparently spends summers buried deep in a leaf bed in the Tar and Neuse Rivers which run through Eastern North Carolina. This is the only place he’s found on earth.

In an independent effort to make it on the NPR show Soundclips, I caught up with Lewisi for a brief interview earlier this year and I recorded it. Here’s the transcript:

Les S: So, what’s with all the names, I mean Mudpuppy, Waterdog… which is it?

Nectorus Lewisi: Well, don’t make a bit difference to me which ya call me by, but some folks say I’m called dog cuz I sorta yelp when I’m picked up, but hell, you’d yelp too, I mean those dang kids u’ll squeeze the dick’ns outta ya… Sides I need to stay in the water, I’m a fully aquatic salamander… I likes it wet, ya know? Suck’n dissolved oxegen wit my external gills, dat’s my thing!

LS: Yeah… those things are wild they stick off your head like little fairy wings… the chicks gotta dig that..

NL: Listen pal, you’re walk’n on thin ice now, dees gills are a pain in my slimy ass. Tween these dang girly gills and dees short arms I was the butt of every Eastern Hellbender’s smartass jokes. And they’re sensitive to boot…

LS: You mean you’re sensitive about them…?

NL: Naw, I mean they’re dang sensitive… you know me and my old lady can only make it in the most pristine parts of the Neuse and Tar rivers… used not to be that way, but all ya’ll two-leggies gots to go and dump pesticides, untreated runoff, hog crap, and god knows what else in the only place I can call da homestead, we get no respect.

LS: Well, I wouldn’t say “no respect” word on the street is you’re up for possible designation as the North Carolina State amphibian.

NL: Yeah?... well, I’ll believe it when I see it.

LS: So, Lewisi, tell me your secret… how DO you keep that slender figure of yours? Lots of rock-slime suck’n and feeding on roe I presume.

NL: Hell naw! We’re carnivores… invertebrates, vertebrates, carrion… long as it’s meat I’ll eat it… [mmmm]…[yelp]… [snap]…. [scream]…

[sound recording goes to static]

And that’s when the little %@#* bit my little toe off. So if you’re reading this, Muddpuppy, know this… I just got my permit from the Wildlife Resource Commision in the mail gunn’n for you!

Ha ha, you know we'd never condone violence against threatened species on this blog! Thanks Les for showing us the muddy world of the Waterdog.

This is going to be a fun one to knit. I'm thinking those external gills may present me with an opportunity for my first foray into needle-felting. If you have any design suggestions... send them my way!

waterdog drawing by Les S.


  1. This should be interesting! Good luck with the gills.

  2. Loving the critter series. You are so creative with your knitting!


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