This serene creature is a hellbender [Cryptobranchus alleganiensis] a species of enormous North American salamander. They have existed for an estimated 65 million years. Apparently they’re known by some as water dogs and snot otters, due to their peculiar bodies and protective mucus. Image by
simplyjake on Flickr
Also on the list of awesome critters I saw this past week was the BABY HELLBENDER!! None of my photos came out, so I’m glad I had the foresight to take a video, too! Lookit this cutie! The hatchery doesn’t currently breed hellbenders, but they were given 4 babies to take care of. This is one of them.
Hellbenders are normally solitary animals with a fixed home range.
Once a hellbender has established a den, it will rarely leave it except to hunt or to find a mate. The territories of two animals may overlap, but the two hellbenders are never found in the same place at the same time; should they meet by chance, they will challenge each other. A larger animal will chase a smaller one away, but two equally matched hellbenders will engage in a vicious fight (see bottom image). And should one hellbender kill the other, they are not above cannibalism.
Hellbenders have very tiny eyes and are primarily nocturnal, and thus have very poor eyesight. However, their sense of smell is remarkable. A researcher at the Smithsonian institute performed an experiment involving several hellbenders. A single drop of earthworm scent in 40 gallons of water brought all of the amphibians “running”; it’s pretty clear what sense they use for hunting!
Take a two-foot-long muscle with a skeleton and coat it in multiple layers of snot. Now squish the muscle down so it’s flat. Add four short legs, eighteen toes, a big, wide mouth and beady eyes. Forget about eyelids. Stretch some skin out along the slimy muscle and wrinkle it on the sides. This is how it will breath. Now stick that creature under a big rock in a fast river or stream and leave it alone. You’ve just made an adult eastern hellbender, the biggest salamander in North America.
Around the second week of August, 255 of these strange salamanders, which have been reared to young adults from eggs, will be set free in streams in Ohio with the hope of restoring their threatened populations. Members of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which is leading an eastern hellbender conservation project in Ohio, have done this twice with fewer animals, and hope to make it an annual event.
Eastern hellbenders once thrived in rivers and streams along the Appalachian Mountains from New York to Georgia and as far west as Missouri. But loss of habitat, dams and pollution have been diminishing their population in the past half century. The eastern hellbender has been included on a federal list of species of special concern since 1983. To prevent disappearance of this slimy snot otter, biologists have been tracking and studying the salamanders. In some places, like in Ohio, Missouri and New York, they have been reared and released back into the wild.
A few months ago, my workplace decided to give us Google Chrome to use as a browser. Normally, we can’t browse the internet. Most outside web sites are blocked because of the sensitive information we handle. Also, because they hate to see us having fun.
Because of Google Chrome, now we can use the Google image search to look at pictures of stuff. They’ve tried to block that as well, but so far, they have been unsuccessful. Mainly, I just look at pictures of fluffy kitties all day because it cheers me up in between calls and chats. My coworkers and I will send each other random images to make us laugh.
Today, my coworker sent me an e-mail with no subject with only this image:
“WHAT IS THIS?” I asked.
“I don’t know” my coworker replied. “I was searching for something else and this was one of the images”
Upon closer examination:
We saw a leg.
So, I performed a reverse image search and discovered that this is actually some dude holding a Hellbender Salamander.
If you need a creative name for your dick, I highly suggest “Hellbender”.
C: Was modeling a hellbender salamander for a friends app game. It just happened to be watertight so I figured I would try printing it.
The larger one was my first try, but the legs where too small so I they snapped off when I was clipping the supports off.
The second one the legs are a bit bigger but I printed it upside down so it’s back is a bit rough. I am hoping to print the next one with larger legs and a wider mouth so it’s easier to pull the supports out.