Cryptobranchus alleganiensis


The Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) is an unusual-looking giant aquatic salamander that reaches over 2-feet in length. They occur in clean streams and rivers of the eastern United States. In Pennsylvania, they occur within portions of the Ohio, Allegheny and Susquehanna River watersheds. Hellbender habitat consists of streambeds with large cover rocks and an abundant crayfish population (their main food). They are a long-lived species (20 years or more) and are susceptible to water quality degradation and habitat alterations. The Allegheny Alligator, another name for the species, conjures up thoughts of an aggressive aquatic reptile. In reality, they are a docile amphibian, but on very rare occasions may bite pesky herpetologists when handled.

Lycoming Co., PA Jay Drasher's hellbender bite, Lawrence Co., PA

For additional information on hellbenders, refer to the Hellbender Homepage

For information about hellbenders in Pennsylvania, refer to this article