Hi, Mr. Nature here, with the biggest salamander in the Western Hemisphere–the hellbender.
All my life I’ve wanted to handle one of these. As a boy I spent many an hour turning over rocks in streams, trying to find a hellbender. But they don’t live in New Jersey. I guess I was hoping for a stray. The only salamanders I ever found were little ones; but the hellbender can grow up to two and a half feet long.
Hellbenders need fresh, clean, cold, swiftly-running water–which is getting harder and harder to come by. I know some of you don’t like cold-blooded slippery critters, but these salamanders are something special. Their only close relatives are the giant salamanders of China and Japan, which are several times the size of a hellbender. Now that would really be something to see!
Not all of God’s stuff is cute and cuddly; but it’s all way cool.