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The Hellbenders of North Carolina. Who are they and what do they mean for our survival?. What is a Hellbender?. Cryptobranchus alleganiensis are extremely large, completely aquatic salamanders native to the Eastern United States. The largest hellbender ever recorded was nearly 2 1/2 ft. long.

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The hellbenders of north carolina

The Hellbenders of North Carolina

Who are they and what do they mean for our survival?


What is a hellbender
What is a Hellbender?

  • Cryptobranchus alleganiensis are extremely large, completely aquatic salamanders native to the Eastern United States. The largest hellbender ever recorded was nearly 2 1/2 ft. long.


Considered a federal species at risk
Considered a Federal Species at Risk

  • There is concern about the future of the hellbender in North Carolina because of its sensitivity to damming of rivers and streams, deforestation contributing to silt in their habitat as well as agricultural and pesticide runoff…


Habitat
Habitat

  • Hellbenders require clean, fast flowing streams and rivers with large rocks to hide under in the daytime. At night they come out to forage for crayfish, fish, worms, tadpoles, and insects.


The hellbenders of north carolina

A hellbender won’t bother canoeist or other outdoor enthusiasts. If disturbed, it may snap at a potential captor, but it is not venomous.In fact they have no teeth but a hard boney mouth like a catfish.


Life cycle
Life Cycle enthusiasts. If disturbed, it may snap at a potential captor, but it is not venomous.

  • Hellbenders breed in September in the Smokies, the male constructs a nest cavity, usually beneath a large flat rock, and then entices a female into the nest where she lays 200-500 yellowish eggs in long strings. The male guards the nest during incubation.



The hellbenders of north carolina

Juvenile hellbenders are born with gills but when they are 4” – 5” inches in length and 18 months of age they loose their gills.


The hellbenders of north carolina
Juvenile hellbenders develop for two more years until they reach sexual maturity at approximately four years of age.


Adult hellbenders
Adult hellbenders… reach sexual maturity at approximately four years of age.

  • They reabsorb their feathery gills and breathe through the many folds of their loose skin.

  • They usually remain within a home range of 70 square yards.

  • Under ideal conditions have a maximum life expectancy of 30 to 35 years.


Hellbenders were once widely distributed throughout the appalachian mountains
Hellbenders were once widely distributed reach sexual maturity at approximately four years of age. throughout the Appalachian Mountains.


Today
Today reach sexual maturity at approximately four years of age.

  • Hellbender populations generally occur in small pockets of habitat and the most abundant are now restricted to mountainous areas with little human settlement.


Why hellbender

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding reach sexual maturity at approximately four years of age. C. alleganiensis is the origin of its common name, hellbender. The name is believed to be a reference to the animal’s bending movement being similar to what one must experience during the torments of Hell.

Why Hellbender?


The future
The Future reach sexual maturity at approximately four years of age.

  • With many hellbender populations in decline or questionable status, several institutions are making serious captive breeding attempts. So far there has been no success.

  • Hellbenders are long-lived and they are responding to environmental problems that humans, as a species, face as well.


Experts are divided
Experts are divided. reach sexual maturity at approximately four years of age.

  • One source says that if you catch a hellbender by accident, cut the line and release it.


The hellbenders of north carolina


Credits
Credits… without causing mortal damage to the hellbender, do so with a pair of pliers.

  • For further information refer to:

  • www.hellbenders.org

  • www.mdc.mo.gov

  • www.caudata.org here you can buy merchandise from them to help fund their research.