Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 25

CReaTuRe FeaTuRe

Creature Feature

Raising Hell (benders)
The threatened, "hideously ugly" salamanders become much easier to look at in the
context of the deep perils to their existence.
by Nancy Henderson
Brian Gratwicke

To many observers, the twofoot-long, flat-headed salamander with the fleshy
skin folds that resemble layered noodles-hence the
nickname "Old Lasagna
Sides"-is not the most appealing critter in the Blue
Ridge. "Most folks see 'em
and say, 'My gosh, they're
hideously ugly," says J.D.
Kleopfer, a herpetologist at
the Virginia Dept. of Game
and Inland Fisheries, who is
trying to save hellbenders
from extinction. "But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The more you look
at 'em and the more you get
to know 'em, the more at-

tractive they become."
In southern Appalachia,
hellbenders date back about
170 million years. Often
unflatteringly called "devil
dog," "snot otter" or "mud
puppy," and found only in
cool, clear streams in the
mountains and foothills of
the eastern U.S., their closest relatives are the giant
salamanders of China and
Japan. "So that in itself,"
Kleopfer says, "makes them
a unique living fossil."
Like many aquatic species,
hellbenders have suffered a
decline due to man-made
More
May/June 2016 25



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016

Contents
Happiest Towns in the Blue Ridge Region
Summer Photoessay
Great Unusual Sleep Spots in the Mountains
North Georgia Dining
Special Section: The Southern Highlands Attractions 2016 Grand Tour
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Contributor Bios
Mill Creek Stories
Great Buys
The Hike
Festivals & Events
Creature Feature
Country Roads
Mountain Report
Singing in the Garden
Guest Column: John Manchester
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Contents
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Letters/Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Contributor Bios
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Mill Creek Stories
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Great Buys
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Country Roads
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Happiest Towns in the Blue Ridge Region
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Summer Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Great Unusual Sleep Spots in the Mountains
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Special Section: The Southern Highlands Attractions 2016 Grand Tour
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA2
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA4
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA5
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA6
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA7
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA8
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA9
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA10
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA11
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA12
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA13
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA14
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA15
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA16
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA17
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA18
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA19
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA20
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA21
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA22
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA23
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - SHA24
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - North Georgia Dining
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Singing in the Garden
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Guest Column: John Manchester
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2016 - Cover4
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