By: David Mizejewski
Just in time for Halloween, I introduce you to the hellbender.
No, it's not one of Satan's minions or a CGI monster. It's a type of salamander native to the streams and rivers of eastern North America. Despite its demonic-sounding name, this spectacular amphibian is completely harmless to people. Yet the species is rapidly declining due to human activity such as deforestation, erosion and chemical runoff into our streams--which is the real horror story.
Watch this video put out by the Forest Service and partners about one of North America's most fascinating and little-known wild animals.
Here's a close up of the ancient beauty of the hellbender, an animal perfectly adapted to and camouflaged in its environment.
Photo by Brian Gratwicke via Flickr Creative Commons.