Brazos Bend State Park
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Gator Hatch

Lesser Siren

Siren intermedia

Lesser Siren

Description - Body length 7 - 27 inches (18 - 68.6 cm). The Siren looks much like an Eel. It is identifiable by its 2 small legs located just behind the large external gills. The back is colored dark brown to black often with darker spots. The under side is dark with light spots. Eyes are very small. On the young a red stripe across the snout and along the side of the head can be seen. Sirens are often mistaken for snakes in the water.

Habitat - They prefer warm shallow water with large amounts of vegetation, such as forest ponds, irrigation canals, rice fields and swamps.

Breeding - Breeding occurs in late winter. Female lays up to 200 eggs in early spring in submerged vegetation. Larvae are about 1/2 inch long when the hatch, but do not reach sexual maturity for about 2 years.

Range in Texas - The Lesser Siren can be found in the eastern third of the State as far south as Corpus Christi.

Notes - Strictly nocturnal it burrows in the pond floor during the day. At night it feeds on crawfish, worms or mollusks. In times of drought it burrows into the mud and secretes a mucus like substance over its body. This mucus dries to provide a sort of "cocoon" over its body to prevent it from drying out. The siren can survive several months like this until the next rain comes.

Updated: Aug 12, 2011