lamp eel n
1899 Marshall Messenger (TX) [28 July 5]/3, He and Mr. Berry killed a water moccasin 4 feet, 10 1-2 inches long. The snake was caught in the act of swallowing a “lamp eel” 36 inches long. The eel had legs like a lizzard. 1901 W. Alabamian (Carrollton AL) [29 May 3]/4, Master Billy Hines . . thought he had hanged a monster fish. But on getting it out of the water . . it proved to be a lamp eel measuring three feet and one inch in length. 1920 Copeia 82.41 LA, While in Louisiana in the Spring of 1915, I collected two specimens of Amphiuma means, and as I kept one alive in a tub for a number of days, visiting neighbors afforded a considerable collection of local names. These were Lamp Eel, Lamphe Eel, Lamper Eel and Lamprey Eel. 1953 Schmidt N. Amer. Amphibians 27, Amphiuma means. . . Lamp or lamper eel. Ibid 28, Amphiuma means tridactylum. . . Lamp eel, lamper eel [Louisiana] . . three-toed amphiuma. 1967 LeCompteWord Atlas 217 seLA, A snake like creature with four tiny legs, usually found in ditches after a heavy rain. . . Lamp eel [4 of 21 infs]. 2011 in 2019 DARE File—Internet csLA, [Response to “what is it?” query with photo of an amphiuma:] When we were kids we would find them in ditch after a big rain. We called them lamp eels. 2015 Aiken Std. (SC) 6 June (Internet), My neighbor Jeff had called earlier to say he had caught a “lamp eel” in a trap he had set alongside our creek to catch fish. He said the animal had tiny little legs and some kind of head ornament, which turned out to be its external gills.
2 Prob = cottonmouth n. Cf congo snake n 1
1894 Montgomery Advt. (AL) [4 May]/1, The snake was a moccasin or lamp eel and it stuck its poisonous fangs into the poor little fellow’s middle finger, which swelled to immense proportions and caused his death.
1927 Kennedy Gritny 161 sLA [Black], “Soongy, you say you don’ eat shoe-pick?” “Who?” answered Soongy, with a superior air. “I jus’ as soon eat lamp-eel, as eat dat nasty slimy mud feesh. No ’ndeed, not me.” 1929 Nashville Tennessean (TN) 19 May 2/2, The lamprey comes up from the river early in the spring. . . In many sections of the country he is popularly supposed to be venomous, with a bite as deadly as a rattlesnake’s. . . The small boy calls him “lamp eel” and kills every one he finds, just on general priniciples. 1953 Plain Speaker (Hazleton PA) 28 Oct 17/2, The pike was 30 inches long and weighed 11½ pounds after being cleaned. Matz said he caught it with a spnning [sic] outfit, using a four pound test line and lamp eel for bait. 1968 DARE, (Qu. P3, Freshwater fish that are not good to eat) Inf TN24, Lamp eel. 1999 Reporter (Fond du Lac WI) 8 Oct sec A 5/5, [Letter:] The fishermen help build artificial reefs and spawning grounds, they plant game fish in reclaimed water and help set nets and weins [sic] for lamp eels and rough fish.
1949 Daily Reg. (Harrisburg IL) 14 Mar 1/1 LA, [“]Whatzit, a water dog?” I asked. . . [“]Nope, it’s a lamp eel,” I thought I heard Pat say to me. “A fellow from Louisiana was in and said it was one. He said they are poisonous.” The creature, about eight inches long, dark brown with yellowish spots, had a long, flat, slender tail and four handlike feet. 1949 Delta Democrat–Times (Greenville MS) 22 Dec /6, We regaled her with the incident of our catching a “lamp-eel,” while craw-fishing in Greenway Park, in 1910. . . Our memory of the critter is that it looked like a gar, had four feet, and was also called a “water-dog.” 1985 South Bend Tribune (IN) 21 Apr 69/1, “Salamander,” cried some. . . “Lamp eel,” claimed others, “And don’t touch the skin ’cause it’s poison.” “Everybody had a different identification,” says Robaska. “Some asked if it talked. But the concensus [sic] was that the creature was a ‘mud puppie’ or ‘water dog,’ kind of oversized as if it had been into too much vitamin A.”