Rivers and Streams Animals

Class: Amphibia: Amphibians Diet: Crustaceans
Order: Urodela: Newts and Salamanders
Size: 30.5 - 74 cm (12 - 29 in)
Family: Cryptobranchidae: Giant Salamanders Conservation Status: Near threatened
Scientific Name: Cryptobranchus alleganiensis Habitat: rocky-bottomed streams
Range: East-central USA, west to Missouri

Size of HellbenderDespite the implications of its common name, this giant salamander is a harmless creature which feeds on crayfish, snails and worms. It has the flattened head characteristic of its family and loose flaps of skin along the lower sides of its body.  A nocturnal salamander, the hellbender hides under rocks in the water during the day. It depends on its senses of smell and touch, rather than on sight, to find its prey, since its eyes are set so far down the sides of its head that it cannot focus on an object with both eyes at once.  Hellbenders breed in autumn: the male makes a hollow beneath a rock or log on the stream bed, and the female lays strings of 200 to 500 eggs. As she lays the eggs, the male fertilizes them and then guards the nest until the eggs hatch 2 or 3 months later. 

Range of Hellbender
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