Topics » Science & Technology   Aug. 7, 2013

Ancient, Slippery, Enormous 'Snot Otters': Looking for Hellbender Salamanders

Catch and Release

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Hellbender SalamandersSnot Otters and Devil DogsIn Search of SalamandersSalamander SnacksHeavy LiftingCapturedCatch and ReleaseDrawing Blood Hellbender Bath TimeThe Big OneChecking for Chytrid FungusTaggedThreatened and Endangered

Catch and Release

Kim Terrell from the Smithsonian's National Zoo holds a hellbender salamander. The hellbender has to be released under the same rock where it was found. Late summer is the start of breeding season for the salamanders and males, like this one, will start building nests soon. Hellbenders live a long time -- up to 30 years in the wild -- and take years to reach sexual maturity. Removing even one breeding adult from its habitat can damage the population's ability to reproduce.


For more on this story, check out our blog post.

Photo Essay

Photo Essay