In our tiny pond today there were red salamanders, by the score - a vision which prompted me to recall a smutty ditty we used to hum at school, about a salamander lookalike: I had a little axolotl, and I kept it IN a bottle. (The poem got worse from that point on, and bears no repeating.) But what a lovely word, axolotl - one of only four words that have found their way into the English language from - wait for it - the Aztec. (The others are weird and wildly unfamiliar: Nahuatl, teguexin and tule.) Axolotl is defined as
a batrachian reptile (Siredon pisciforme, family Proteidae) found in Mexican lakes, resembling a salamander in appearance but, like all the Proteidae,retaining through life the gills of its young state.
And why batrachian? Dictionary definitions are not supposed to include words more complex than the one being defined, and I venture to suspect that few will know what batrachian means. Well, your misery is over: it is from the Greek word for frog - and it signifies in this case that the axolotl is froglike and does not, like a salamander, have a tail.