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Eastern Hellbender

The eastern hellbender is a very large species of salamander inhabiting the eastern mountains ranges of North America. These salamanders are completely aquatic and can grow to 30 inches in length from head to tail. In the wild, hellbenders inhabit the bottoms of pollution-free, free-flowing rivers and streams. They are mainly found in the Susquehanna River drainage in southern New York and Pennsylvania. Also they can be found in large portions of the Missouri, Ohio, and Mississippi River drainages from western Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, extreme southern Indiana, most of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, northern Alabama and Georgia, western North Carolina and Virginia.
Hellbenders are nocturnal; they hide under large rocks, logs or other shelter during the day. So large flat rocks would be necessary for their zoo habitat.Also they need a somewhat large habitat; they are not usually found in small creeks and streams. They need a few feet of depth and a rocky bottom to live comfortably. Hellbenders live with many other animals. Fish, crayfish, turtles, snakes and insects are few examples, along with all the plant life and algae.
If I were creating a habitat for a zoo that would include my animal, I would try to make it house as many animals as possible. All the animals that I listed above would work well. Even a few animals that use the land at times, as well as the water, could be part of the exhibit. I would make the barrier a simple rock wall on the backside and have glass on the front so that people could see in the water as well as above it. There would be a stream of sorts all the way through the exhibit that ran parallel to the glass so that people could see all along the water. There would be land on the far side of the stream that went up to the rock wall. A good size for the enclosure would be about 30 or 40 feet of a stream which is about 5 to 10 feet wide, and a few feet of land that slopes up to the rock. The who…

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