(CORYDON) – Two live examples of North America’s largest salamander, the Eastern hellbender, is now on public exhibit at O’Bannon Woods State Park.
The exhibit is in the park’s Hickory Hollow Nature Center.
The hellbender is an endangered species that, in Indiana, lives in the wild only in the Blue River in Harrison County. The native hellbender population has greatly decreased in many parts of its range due to loss of habitat and poor water quality, however, a cooperative effort with Purdue University, DNR Fish & Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and several zoos located in Indiana and other Midwestern states are leading population restoration efforts of the species.
“The two hellbenders are doing great, eating well and are a little more active than anticipated,” said interpretive naturalist Jarrett Manek of the two giant salamanders residing in the nature center. “Mornings are the best. They seem to have adjusted just fine.”
Nature center hours are Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The nature center is closed on Mondays. Admission to the nature center is free after paying the regular park gate entrance fee of $7 per in-state vehicle and $9 per out-of-state vehicle.
O’Bannon Woods State Park (stateparks.IN.gov/2976.htm) is at 7234 Old Forest Road SW, Corydon, 47112.