This week we released a more than a dozen Eastern hellbenders into pristine habitat in central Ohio. Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz assisted with the release, alongside our staff and Wildlife Officer Austin Levering. The hellbenders are placed under large rocks where they are safe and can establish territories.
Eastern hellbenders are endangered in Ohio because of habitat loss and shrinking populations in few, isolated locations. This species is the largest amphibian in the state and are found in clean, swift flowing streams.
Hellbenders eat primarily crayfish and fish but have been known to occasionally eat insects, tadpoles, and even other hellbenders. With a large, gaping mouth, the hellbender can eat an animal that is almost as big as itself.
How can you help protect Ohio’s hellbender population? Buy a fishing license or a wildlife legacy stamp. With these monies, our agency can conduct more releases of these cool creatures as well as protect their habitats. ohiogamecheck.com