|Meet the King of the Streams!|
July 7, 2010
Reporter: Patrick McMurtry
Videographer: Brad Rice
|EYEWITNESS ONLINE WEBCAST VIDEO|
C L I C K T O P L A Y
Jennifer Wykle, a biologist with The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, explains how they got they're name. "They're so ugly a lot of people just said they're from the depths of Hell, these Hellbenders. You can see it's got really small eyes. They vary in color, some are brown, some orange, some are like an olive color. Some will change color throughout the year."
This Hellbender is around 22 inches long. That means he's been crawling around this stream a long time. These amazing salamanders really thrive in West Virginia streams.
"They can live up past 25 years. I think in captivity the longest a Hellbender lived is 40 years. But they are a long lived species." says Wykle.
Long lived, but not really too adventurous. Or for that matter, curious. These Hellbenders love to stay close to home. They spend their entire life, 25 years, going no further than the end of this pole, and almost certainly no further than that tree.
"That looks like a good rock, nice and curved on the bottom." says Wykle.
Hellbenders don't venture out too far from their rocks because they don't have to.
"They don't move very far. If they like it where they are, and there's lots of crayfish to eat, then they're perfectly happy." says Wykle.
The Hellbender can be found in several states in the eastern part of the country. They are native to West Virginia and are most likely to be found in clean, fast moving streams.