Mexico City’s water monster, an Axoloti salamander (Ambystoma mexicanum), is about one foot long (30cm).
According to scientists at the Chapultepec Zoo, the monster is about to go extinct because its lake habitat is draining, the water quality is deteriorating and non-native fish species started eating its eggs and larva, and competing for its food.
The Muppet-looking critter is also known as the “Mexican walking fish” and holds a key part in Aztec legend and diet.
“If the axolotl disappears, it would not only be a great loss to biodiversity but to Mexican culture, and would reflect the degeneration of a once-great lake system,” says a biologist at the Autonomous University of Mexico, or UNAM.
The monster appears in American legend as well – Ogden Nash writes, “I’ve never met an axolotl, But Harvard has one in a bottle.” Pretty soon, the only ones we’ll see will be those in a bottle.