The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

Don’t stack the rocks! Ensuring a healthy environment for the hellbender salamander


“Allegheny Alligators” “snot otters” “devil dogs”

All of these vividly descriptive commonly used names are describing the same creature, the giant salamander of the Appalachian Mountains known as the hellbender (Crytobranchus alleganiensis).

All of the common names describe some aspect, either fact or fiction, about the hellbender. The hellbender is truly a giant; they can grow to over two feet long. Hellbenders, with their wrinkled, greenish brown and slimy skin, are not pretty to look at, and they are still trying to live down the myth that they possess a venomous bite and are wanton killers of game fish.

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