The Hellbender

Job 35:10-11
“But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?”

The hellbender is a very unfortunate name for a rather interesting species of giant salamander. It lives in eastern parts of North America, and its name is reputed to have come from settlers saying of its odd appearance, “It was a creature from hell where it’s bent on returning.” Growing up to two feet in length, it is a member of the family of giant water salamanders – Cryptobranchidae. We have already met a member of this family in a previous Creation Moment – the Chinese Giant Salamander. Hybridization between these geographically separated animals is not known, but there is such a strong cognitum between them, that creation biologists define the whole Cryptobranchidae family as a baramin.

Hellbenders are shy animals, and territorial. When they have found a spot that they like, such as sheltered under a rock, they rarely leave it, except for feeding. It is very difficult to tell the male apart from the female, except at breeding time, when the male digs a saucer shaped nest on the river bed, protected from the current. A female will lay up to 200 eggs, joined together in cords. The male then fertilizes these externally, in a manner similar to fish.

The animals feed mainly on crayfish and small fish. However, like its larger Chinese cousin, it exhibits cannibalism.

God has created so many interesting creatures. The shy and misnamed hellbender is one of His most unusual creations, but glorifies Him as much as any other.

Prayer: We praise You, our Lord and Creator, for all the creatures that You made, both great and small. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Hennigan, T. (2013), An Initial Estimate Toward Identifying and Numbering Amphibian Kinds within the Orders Caudata and Gymnophiona, Answers Research Journal 6 (2013), p. 20. Image: CC BY-SA 4.0 International.

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