Don't Judge a Hellbender by its Name

May 1, 2017

Snot otters, old lasagna sides — Eastern hellbenders go by many different names. And despite the name, hellbenders are actually harmless. But they are threatened, which is why we're working to release healthy adults into the wild.

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher©WCS

Check out a video of them swimming, floating, and sliding around in the World of Reptiles.

Read more about these curious creatures on The Washington Post: "they have been around far longer than humans. They are "living fossils" — some of the last surviving members of an ancient lineage. The ancestors of Hellbenders and their cousins, the giant salamanders of China and Japan, evolved when dinosaurs still roamed Earth. The lineage has persisted almost unchanged for some 65 million years."

Visit them in person at the World of Reptiles and come up with your own nickname.

We need your help

Your tax-deductible gift supports cutting-edge exhibits, first-class animal care, and in-depth research to help threatened wildlife survive and thrive.

Check out our interactive map!

Maximize your next trip to the zoo. Check out on your smartphone to view real-time info and our interactive map.

Need some direction? Access real-time info and our interactive map.

I’m in the park

Visit the in-park app experience

Need some direction? Get park maps, real-time info, and more with our new app.

I'm in the park