Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A large aquatic salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) of the eastern and central United States. Also called mudpuppy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Cryptobranchus alleganiensis, a giant salamander of North America that inhabits large, swiftly flowing streams with rocky bottoms.
  • n. A reckless, headstrong person.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A large North American aquatic salamander (Protonopsis horrida or Menopoma Alleghaniensis). It is very voracious and very tenacious of life. Also called alligator, and water dog.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A protracted and reckless debauch or drunken frolic. See bender, 4.
  • n. The menopome, Menopoma alleghaniensis (or Protonopsis horrida), a large aquatic salamander with gillslits and 4 short legs, common in the Ohio valley; one of several such creatures known as mud-puppies and water-dogs. See Menopoma.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. large salamander of North American rivers and streams

Etymologies

hell +‎ bender, possibly from hell-bent (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Reaching lengths of over two feet in length and weighing over 3 lbs., the hellbender is the largest amphibian species found in North America and the third largest salamander in the world, coming in behind the Chinese and the Japanese giant salamanders which are truly massive.

    David Mizejewski: Salamander Eating Habits

  • As the continent's largest frog species and second largest amphibian the hellbender is the largest, bullfrogs are powerful predators that will eat anything smaller than themselves that they can fit down their large mouths.

    David Mizejewski: Newt Kills Frog With Chemical Warfare

  • A newt -- aka a hellbender or mud puppy -- is a slimy amphibian with an uncanny ability to reinvent itself by regenerating limbs, eyes, jaws, a spinal cord, even its heart.

    Michael Sigman: The Newtiness of Newt

  • Salamanders, which thrive in moist environments that keep their skin wet, number 2 dozen species, from the pigmy salamander that is less than 2 inches at maturity to the hellbender, which is nearly 30 inches.

    The Field Guide to Wildlife Habitats of the Eastern United States

  • There are three types left on the planet-the Japanese and Chinese giant salamanders and a much smaller American giant salamander called the hellbender

    Conservation International - Feature Articles

  • Considering their impressive predatory feeding behavior, the hellbender's two foot length is large enough for me!

    David Mizejewski: Salamander Eating Habits

  • The videos below show two kinds of salamander, the terrestrial red-legged salamander (Plethodon shermani) and the aquatic hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), engaging in their respective feeding behaviors.

    David Mizejewski: Salamander Eating Habits

  • Lori Williams, a state wildlife biologist who works closely with Mr. Groves, is hoping to raise a hellbender in her basement that can easily be put on display at festivals, though she is concerned about the animals' reputation as escape artists.

    Green Movement's New Mascot: the Slimy Snot Otter

  • Last September, an Ohio man pleaded guilty to possessing an endangered species and was fined $1,500 after he was found with a two-foot-long hellbender that had been tagged by scientists in New York, says Jeff Collingwood, a state wildlife investigator in Ohio.

    Green Movement's New Mascot: the Slimy Snot Otter

  • The only other kind, the Eastern hellbender, is also harder to find than it was just a few decades ago; no one is sure how many are left.

    Green Movement's New Mascot: the Slimy Snot Otter

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