Hellbender Cryptobranchus alleganiensis (Daudin, 1803)G3G4 (Globally vulnerable)  -  Endangered (MD)  -  S1 (Highly state rare)  -  Vulnerable  -  Garrett only    Synonyms: Eastern Hellbender, Snot Otter.
Kingdom Animalia   >   Phylum Chordata   >   Class Amphibia   >   Order Caudata   >   Family Cryptobranchidae   >   Genus Cryptobranchus   


The Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is the largest North American salamander, with adults typically up to 20 inches in length (record length 29.1 inches). This impressive animal is fully aquatic, with a flattened head and short appendages, suitable for hiding in crevices under rocks. Hellbenders live in well-oxygenated creeks or rivers with moderate to strong current and large, flat rocks to burrow under. They are primarily active at night (Maryland DNR site; Virginia Herpetological Society site). Hellbenders were historically found in the Susquehanna River, where it is now extirpated. Currently known in Maryland from a couple of rivers in Garrett County. Young Hellbenders apparently have difficulty escaping the voracious appetite of the introduced Brown Trout. The species is state-endangered in Maryland, and ranked as S1. It has a global conservation rank of G3 (moderate risk of extinction).

There are 16 records in the project database.

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An Eastern Hellbender in New York (10/16/2010). This impressive creature is rare, local, and declining in Maryland. Photo by USFWS Northeast . (MBP list)

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