(WHTM) — An amphibian by definition is a cold-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that comprises frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. But did you know that 28 states have one that they call their own?
Pennsylvania is one of the 28 and the state amphibian is the Eastern Hellbender, which is also known as the hellbender salamander.
The eastern Hellbender became the state’s amphibian back in 2019. It is a designation that promotes the need to keep and restore water quality and preserve the habitat for the amphibian.
“Because of its recognizable name, impressive size, and fascinating appearance, the Eastern hellbender has become a wonderful ambassador for Pennsylvania’s rich diversity of native fish, reptiles, amphibians, and other aquatic species,” said Tim Schaeffer, PFBC Executive Director and Chairman of the Wild Resource Conservation Program.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy states that the hellbender is one of the most important aquatic species found in the state. This salamander is considered to be solitary and nocturnal and also requires specific habitat condtions to survive.
The hellbender loves streams and rivers that have good flow, it also loves to nest in rocky locations. The salamander has a flat head and body, which allows it to hide under the rocks. They need high-quality water to survive and reproduce. The conservancy can live up to 50 years, which makes it a great indicator of the long-term health of a stream or river.
Recently, it was announced that Pennsylvania’s newest license plate honors the state amphibian. The Hellbender plate costs $41 and $15 of that goes toward wild resource conservation.