According to the Missouri Department of Conservation; the origin of the name “hellbender” is unclear. The name 'hellbender' probably comes from the animal’s odd look. Perhaps it was named by settlers who thought "it was a creature from hell where it’s bent on returning". Another rendition says the undulating skin of a hellbender reminded observers of 'horrible tortures of the infernal regions'. In reality, it’s a harmless aquatic salamander.
Vernacular names include "snot otter", "devil dog", "mud-devil", "grampus", "Allegheny alligator", “lasagna sides”, "mud dog” and "leverian water newt".
The Ozark hellbender is not a cute and cuddly creature, but Missouri and Arkansas should take pride in ensuring its long-term survival because they are found nowhere else on Earth. The Ozark Hellbender has been added to the Endangered Species List.
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