Show Your Love for Pennsylvania’s Unique Wildlife With the New Eastern Hellbender License Plate

Pennsylvania's new Eastern Hellbender License Plate. (Photo: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources)

By Patrick Berkery

October 3, 2023

The new plate will benefit the Wild Resource Conservation Fund, helping to highlight conservation and protect rare species across Pennsylvania.

Not only does Pennsylvania have a state amphibian, the eastern hellbender, but now there’s a license plate highlighting the slimy salamander not-so-affectionately known as the “snot otter,” “mud devil,” and “Allegheny alligator.”

The new eastern hellbender license plate was unveiled at the State Capitol in Harrisburg on Monday. The $15 plate, which you can order here, will benefit the Wild Resource Conservation Fund, helping to highlight conservation and protect rare species across Pennsylvania.

The eastern hellbender is the largest salamander in the United States with some reaching a weight of more than two pounds and extending to a length of more than two feet. It became Pennsylvania’s state amphibian in 2019, a designation that promotes the need to restore water quality and preserve a habitat for the amphibian, which is covered in a layer of mucus. 

Its sensitivity to pollution makes it an indicator species, which means that its presence can identify healthy bodies of water. However, its population has been in decline largely because of the lack of trees along waterways in the state, causing waters to warm and polluted runoff to build up.

The eastern hellbender is the third Wild Resources Conservation Fund plate and joins the river otter plate as the official plate for the fund.

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