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Cryptobranchus alleganiensis

Mud Devil
Allegheny Alligator
Devil Dog
Snot Otter
Ground Puppy

The Name - The name 'hellbender' probably comes from the animal's odd look. One theory claims the hellbender was named by settlers who thought "it was a creature from hell where it's bent on returning."

Appearance - The hellbender salamander is the largest salamander in the United States. They are blotchy brown to red-brown in coloration with a paler underbelly. They have been known to grow up to 29 inches long, though most will average about 12-15 inches. They have flat bodies with flat heads, small dorsal eyes and folded,slimy skin. They have four toes on front limbs and five on back limbs, and their tails are keeled to provide propulsion.

Habitat - Their habitat consist on shallow, fast-flowing, rocky streams. They are generally found in areas with large, intermittent, irregularly shaped rocks within swift water. 

Conservation - As early as 1957 researchers noted the hellbender’s range was rapidly shrinking as a result of modification of stream habitats. Among the threats to stream habitats are the accumulation of silt, agricultural and industrial pollution, warming waters, as well as the channelization and impoundment of streams and rivers.

Hellbenders breathe primarily through their skin and rely on cool, well-oxygenated, flowing water. The construction of dams stops swift water flow, resulting in warmer temperatures and lower oxygen levels. Although it is illegal in many states to sell hellbenders, the illegal pet trade may be contributing to the species decline.



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