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The Toledo Zoo, a member of the Ohio Hellbender Partnership (OHP), is rearing hellbenders for release into the wild of southeastern Ohio.
The eastern hellbender, Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, is a state-endangered species, with pollution and loss of habitat eliminating wild populations throughout much of their historic range. Today, some of Ohio’s streams have recovered and can again support hellbender populations. The Zoo helps by collecting eggs in these streams and rearing them at the Zoo, where survivability of the young is much higher than in the wild. Some of the young hellbenders are later released in the same areas in which they were collected, while others are used to repopulate streams that supported hellbenders in the past.
By participating in this project, the Toledo Zoo has become the largest contributor of head-started Ohio hellbenders, by currently housing 500+ individuals scheduled for release back into their native stream habitat.
By visiting the Toledo Zoo and supporting the Conservation Today program, you are helping conserve the natural world around the globe and in your own backyard.
Largest Salamander in North America
Diet: Small fish, crayfish and insects
Habitat: Rocky, fast moving clean streams
Behavior: Very territorial and somewhat nocternal
Cool Fact: The Hellbender breathes through folds of skin on its sides or ventral flanks.
Photo by Andrew Odum