Scientists find bizarre, snake-like creature in Florida panhandle

(WSVN) - If you happen to see something that looks like a cross between a salamander, a snake with gills, and a leopard, don’t worry: it’s just a newly-discovered Florida resident.

Scientists have announced the discovery of a new species of legless salamander called the Reticulated Siren in the Florida panhandle and Southern Alabama.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the Reticulated Siren is among the largest species of legless salamanders discovered in the United States in the last century.

Scientists reported the findings in the journal PLOS.

Researchers said the creature is completely aquatic and has a long eel-like body, two fore limbs, no eyelids, gills, a horny beak and a spotted pattern on its skin.

The creature was known locally as a leopard eel, but according to National Geographic, it was long believed to be a myth.

“However, given that the species is neither a leopard nor an eel, we selected Reticulated Siren as a more appropriate formal common name,” scientists say in the paper.

The siren has so far been found in three areas: Lake Jackson between Florida and Alabama, a swamp on Eglin Air Force Base in Okaloosa County and the Fish River in Baldwin County, Alabama.

Scientists are hoping to study the creature and learn more about it.

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