Appearance: Growing up to 2 feet long and weighing more than 3 pounds, the eastern hellbender is among the world’s largest salamanders. Hellbenders have a variety of colors from gray to reddish brown with a lighter belly. They also have small gray-ish eyes and a flat body built for hunkering down on a streambed.
Range: Hellbenders are rare in the state of North Carolina but their range expands throughout some of the mountainous Eastern U.S. Hellbenders take residence under rocks and if their homes are disturbed, it is very difficult for them to establish a new territory.
Diet: Hellbenders eat a variety of small fish, crayfish, and aquatic insects. They are mostly nocturnal and rely on touch and smell to catch food, although it does see relatively well.
Date of Birth: 2005-2007
Meatloaf came to the Nature Center in 2008 after being unintentionally captured by a fisherman who had no idea what it was! He was an adult when he was caught, so Meatloaf’s age is an estimate.