Endangered Species: Hellbender

A Christiansburg Elementary Project
Submitted by Jason
Christiansburg Elementary School, Christiansburg, U.S.A.


Photography courtesy of Virginia's Endangered Species

Why Study This Topic? What Was Already Known Search for Information Description of Plant or Animal Habitat Requirements
Adaptations Reasons for Endangerment Restoration Actions What Was Learned Conclusions from Research

Why Study This Topic?

  I decided to do this topic, because I like to learn about new animals. In my report, you will learn how a hellbender eats, its habitat, its predators, and its species. My report will be given to my teacher. Then I will get a grade, which will affect my language arts and science grade this six weeks. My report is for our Endangered Species project. All the reports done by students in my class will appear on our Endangered Species pages.

What Was Already Known

  I'd never heard of a hellbender, so I decided to research it.

Search for Information

  The first place I searched for information on the hellbender was a book called Virginia's Endangered Species. This book gave me enough information to cover a few topics, but I still needed more information. Next, I searched the World Wide Web on Alta Vista. I found two web pages, but they only listed the name hellbender. Last, I searched Compton's Media Encyclopedia, which showed only pictures of it.

Due to lack of information, I am not able to cover all needed topics.


Habitat Requirements

  The hellbender is distributed throughout the United States. Species are found in Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Hellbenders live in small and large streams. They usually live in rivers, because they require a large range of space. Hellbenders like fairly cool and clear water. Minimum widths of streams for hellbenders are 5 to 100 meters. They like to have flat rocks available. Some hellbenders have been known to use rocks as shelters.

Hellbenders have many habitat needs. One main need is water. Hellbenders need well oxygenated water. They can not stand pollution. Another need is food. Hellbenders need water that has the proper amount of food. They also need shelter from predators, such as rocks.


  Hellbenders have adapted over many years. For example, hellbenders have special coloration to camouflage themselves from predators. They also have strong and flat tails to escape quickly from fast and ferocious predators. Hellbenders have also adapted to being totally aquatic salamanders.

 Adult hellbenders look after their young until they are old enough to go out on their own. They lay their eggs in a safe place out of the rapids. When the baby hellbenders hatch, they cling to their parents for safety. Once they develop enough, they swim beside their mother. The father leaves after the female lays her eggs.

Reasons for Endangerment

  Helbenders are endangered mainly because of pollution. Since so much pollution is dumped and pumped into streams, many hellbenders are dying. Most of the waste that is dumped into rivers is acidic. The acids in the waste are not only harmful to hellbenders, but also to fish, salamanders, and other aquatic animals.

Restoration Actions

  There are few groups that help just hellbenders. But there are groups that help clean up rivers to help river animals. Some fish restoration groups that help fish also help other aquatic animals, such as the hellbender.

What Was Learned

  When I did this report, I learned not only about the hellbender, but also about research skills. I learned how to look up web pages better and faster. I also learned much information about the hellbender, such as how it lives in the rivers, how much space it needs, and how it nurtures its young.

Conclusions From Research

  Now that I have learned about the hellbender, I will be even more aware of our environmental needs. This report has also taught me more skills about doing reports, research skills, information about the hellbender, and about what damage pollution does to our earth.


  Terwilliger, Karen.1991. "Virginia's Endangered Species" Pages: 443-444

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Christiansburg Elementary
Last updated on March 12, 1997