Though they can grow as long at 29 inches, the soft, spongelike
body of the Eastern hellbender allows these shy creatures
to squeeze into tight spaces under rocks.
at a Glance
n Hellbenders can grow to 29 inches and weigh five pounds.
n A hellbender’s vertically flattened tail aids in swimming.
n Eastern hellbenders are related to the giant salamanders of
China and Japan, which grow to five-feet long.
n Hellbenders feed primarily at night on crayfish, but they will
also eat worms, aquatic insects, and an occasional small fish.
n Solitary creatures, hellbenders are rarely found together.
n Hellbenders breed in early September. Males guard the
100–500 eggs for about two months until they hatch.
n Hellbenders live under large rocks or boulders in cool, fast-flowing water.
SOURCES: DR. PETER PETOKAS, NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION