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Eastern Hellbenders

Posted on Sep 12, 2013

The main target of our trip to Pennsylvania on September 7 was the Eastern Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis). This prehistoric and aquatic giant salamander is endemic to the eastern U.S. and declining rapidly across its range. It requires a freshwater habitat that is cool, clean, fast-flowing, rocky, clear, and healthy. We found three of them – two young and one adult – in Allegheny National Forest. Here are a bunch of photos of all three.


Hellbender 1


Hellbender 3


Hellbender 4


Hellbender 5


Hellbender 6


Hellbender 8


Hellbender 10


Hellbender 11


Hellbender 12


Hellbender 13


Hellbender 14


Hellbender 16


Additionally here is some HD video of them in hand and in the water narrated by RTPI President and herpetologist Twan Leenders.



We know they are in various locations in the Allegheny watershed, but they may also be in New York state and we would like to find them! French Creek is one possible suitable spot. If you know or have any information on them in New York we would love to hear more about it as we will be searching for them throughout the fall season.


Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator

Photos and video © Scott Kruitbosch