Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



Greater siren

By MSA 2005 Map showing rivers, streams, swamps, ditches, lakes habitats in southeastern United States


Class Amphibia
Order: Caudata
Family: Sirenidae
Genus and species: Siren lacertina

At more than three feet in length, the greater siren is the largest of the sirens, amphibians with eel-like bodies and no hind limbs. Though sirens do have small forelimbs, these arms are small and weak and are not used for swimming or crawling.

Greater sirens spend the majority of their time buried in mud or sand and hunt at night.

Although sirens are carnivorous, they will occasionally eat vegetation. They primarily eat crayfish, insects, worms, snails, and small fish.

The reproduction habits of siren are unknown to scientists. What is known is that females lay single eggs on aquatic plants in late winter or early spring, and the larvae hatch about two months later.

Learn about another reptile or amphibian: