Here are five cool facts about the Ozark hellbender:
1- These strictly aquatic salamanders are found only in Arkansas and Missouri.
2 - Ozarks can grow up to two feet long and their flattened bodies make it easier for them to maneuver in fast-flowing waters.
3 - Speaking of water - they breathe entirely through their skin, which is why cool, clear water is so important to them.
4 - They can live a really long time - Ozarks can live for up to 30 years in the wild!
5 - The slightest changes in habitat can be detrimental to Ozark hellbenders. Because they depend on a constant level of dissolved oxygen, runoff, sedimentation and mining have caused the population to decline.
The Ozark hellbender, along with the eastern hellbender, has also been listed in Appendix III of CITES because international trade has been a growing concern, as they become more rare and, consequently, more valuable.
If you’re looking for more information about the species or the listing, you can find it here.