REAL LIFE MONSTER NOW AMPHIBIAN REP FOR STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
So one thing is for sure. I’ll never think of Pennsylvania the same way again. First off, just look at that picture. I’ve never seen anything like that. But perhaps I’ve lived too sheltered a life. At first, I thought that must be some kind of fake joke. Pennsylvania? The early Quaker territory and now random rustbelt expanse? Nah, I’ll always think of that all real nightmare whenever I drive thru the state. But besides, whoever heard of states all having an official state amphibian? The lineup must be truly disturbing. So again, just look at that thing. It’s an Eastern Hellbender. Part of me wants to wake up, nice and safe again, in a world where that’s a spicy cocktail.
EASTERN HELLBENDER HAS OTHER NAMES, BUT HELLBENDER CATCHES TRUE FLAVOR OF LITTLE MONSTER
So anyway this Eastern Hellbender obviously has some other names. You can’t get to that size and look like that without people giving you names everywhere. So people also call it the Snot Otter, the Allegheny Lizard and the Lasagna Lizard. Lizard I get. But snot and otter and lasagna? Not so much. This thing is nothing like Garfield the cat. Well, unless it was Garfield the cat as imagined by John Carpenter. But the Eastern Hellbender is no small fry when it comes to amphibians. Look at it! It can get to be over 2 feet long! But like most creatures with permeable skin, the Eastern Hellbender’s numbers are in decline.
OVER TWO FEET LONG, THIS GUY LIVES FROM GEORGIA TO NEW YORK, DON’T TREAD ON IT
So how does an amphibian get to be the official state amphibian of Pennsylvania? Well, evidently, it was a bumpy ride thru the state legislature. Evidently, there as another amphibian they considered, Wehrle’s salamander. That is a critter someone named after the now deceased R.W. Wehrle, who was from Indiana, Pennsylvania. Huh, that sounds confusing. But it’s true. Anyways, some more Hellbender facts. So in case you were concerned, it is indeed the largest amphibian in all of North America. But this is of some concern, even to me. The Eastern Hellbender’s habitat ranges thru the Appalachian Mountains, all the way from the southern end of New York down to Northern Georgia.