The Pennsylvania Senate is advancing legislation to make the Eastern hellbender the official state amphibian, as researchers say its population is shrinking because of pollution.
The bill passed, 47-2, and heads to the House.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the hellbender is an aquatic salamander that can grow up to two feet long, making them the largest North American amphibian. They are nocturnal and prefer shallow, clear and fast streams with rocks to live under.
I know the Great Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) very well, having frequently met up with him on the Loyalsock, and I can testify to his fully deserving the status of State Amphibian.