Snot-otters, mud-dogs, devil-dogs...a living fossil
The eastern hellbender salamander is one of the largest salamanders in the world, reaching a maximum length of approximately 30 inches (2.5 feet). It is an ancient aquatic salamander, and one of our most valuable indicators of water quality...a canary in the coal mine if you will. Populations are dwindling throughout its geographic range primarily as a result of human activity. Biologists are scrambling to understand ways to reduce or eliminate these threats that are moving this ecologically significant species toward extinction. Part of our mission here at Oxbow River Snorkeling is to help the hellbender through out-reach obtained from our snorkeling excursions. It is our hope that our clients will become invested in these conservation efforts as more of you experience life below the surface of our rivers and streams. We have included a lot of hellbender information below. Hellbenders are a federal and state species of concern and are legally protected from harm, harassment, or collection including both temporary and permanent collection.