That Critter Don’t Get Out Much.

Veronica poses with a healthy-looking hellbender.

Veronica catches her first hellbender in the wild!

Imagine if you caught a fish in the river, threw it back, and then caught the exact same fish in the exact same spot a year later. Incredible, right? Well that’s how we felt today when we discovered the same hellbender salamander at the same rock we found it under during our last survey! Hellbenders are known to be pretty faithful to their rocks – once they find a good home, they like to stay there. After all, it can be tough to find a safe spot in a stream with strong currents, snapping turtles, hungry mink, and baited fishing hooks. As we saw in our last post, sometimes life in the stream can get pretty ugly.

Turns out the hellbenders aren’t the only thing that’s slippery in this stream…

A hermit lifestyle seems to be working well for this hellbender. It had all fingers and toes accounted for and was looking quite healthy. Tomorrow we’re heading back to a stream where we once found a footless hellbender. We’ll see if that population of hellbenders is as healthy as the animals that we found today.

And we should probably remember that salamanders aren’t the only ones that need to watch out for themselves…


  1. Bill Morgan says:

    In the mid-1940’s there were hellbenders in the creek of XXXXXX, Ohio. A great place then and still now. So glad to see research being done on salamanders!

    • Kimberly Terrell says:

      Thanks, Bill. We always love to get feedback from fellow hellbender aficionados. I bleeped out the location you provided because, believe it or not, I’ve had poachers coming to the site and requesting location info.

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