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More Than 1,000 Hellbenders Hatch at Saint Louis Zoo in Fall 2021

Ten years ago, the Saint Louis Zoo celebrated the hatching of the world's first successful zoo-bred Ozark hellbenders at the Zoo. Today, our hellbender nursery has 1,333 recent hatchlings of endangered Ozark and eastern hellbender salamanders! From October through December this year, 750 second-generation Saint Louis Zoo-bred Ozark hellbenders hatched at the Charles H. Hoessle Herpetarium. In addition to this exciting progress, the Missouri Department of Conservation also brought Ozark and eastern hellbender eggs to us from Missouri river systems to safely hatch in our care, resulting in 583 of the 1,333 hatchlings. Located in a private space outside the Herpetarium are two large streams created specifically for breeding groups of Ozark hellbenders. The herpetology keepers scuba dive into these streams to collect the fertilized eggs and bring them into the Herpetarium for specialized care. The keepers also take this time to weigh and measure the adult hellbenders. In this video, go underwater with a keeper to collect hellbender eggs and see how the Zoo cares for them from egg to hatchling!