It's official: Pa.'s state amphibian is the hellbender salamander

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A slimy, 2-foot-long salamander that needs clean streams to thrive is Pennsylvania’s new official amphibian, the culmination of a three-year student campaign.

Gov. Tom Wolf today signed legislation that granted the honor to the Eastern hellbender, a nocturnal animal whose colorful nicknames include snot otter, lasagna lizard and mud devil.

Members of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s student leadership council began the campaign to designate it as the state’s official amphibian, helped by Lycoming College’s Clean Water Institute.

It’s the largest salamander in North America.

Wolf says the most recent official designation of that type in the state occurred in 1974, when the firefly was named Pennsylvania’s official insect.

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